We are officially 100 hours into our Road Trip 2 .conf and already its been a crazy adventure.  So much has happened in such a short amount of time that it would be impossible to mention it all here.  Instead I am going to give my top 10 moments of the trip so far.  There are way more impactful moments out there, but I have limited time to write this so here is my take at an official top 10.  This was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be.

10) The “Bronze Bathroom” actually worked!

As you probably already know, we build out this bronze bathroom use-case based off Splunk’s Dubai Airport story.  The intention for this is simple.  There are 3 grown men using one RV bathroom for 14 days… cleanliness is paramount.  By Splunking the bathroom, we can have a better idea as to when to clean the bathroom.  In addition however, we also built an alert in Splunk to tell us when someone didn’t wash their hands.  I had thought that the threat of being called out for not washing one’s hands would be enough to ensure 100% compliance… but I was wrong.  On Wednesday morning, the three of us woke to an email alerting us that someone didn’t wash their hands at 3:30am.  Who did it?  We don’t know for sure but it sparked a lively debate and a lot of finger pointing.  It also inspired us looking at using computer vision to make sure in the future we know who the culprit is.

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9) Scooting around the parking lot in Nashville

This is an easy one.  We brought scooters with us as a way of getting around when the RV is parked.  It was a beautiful day in Nashville and we were in an open parking lot.  Nothing like the wind blowing your beard as you make lazy circles.  Shout out to Cory for getting me hooked on scooters.

8) Chatting with Jeff Champagne in NYC

As I mentioned in the podcast on Monday, I have been trying to get Jeff to join us for a podcast for a while now.  His knowledge of Splunk is utterly incredible and he is just an overall great guy to chat with.  I honestly learn 10 new things every time I talk to the guy and this time was no different.  Additionally we got some really cool inside information into an Easter Egg in a Splunkbase app.  Stay tuned for a video of us finding it 😊

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7) The #RoadTrip2conf send off at the Dell EMC offices in Hopkinton, MA

What better way to start the most epic road trip ever than with an interview with Dell EMC President and CTO John Roese.  He is such a charismatic leader and visionary and listening to his take on emerging technology is pretty awesome.  To add to that, we had cookies with our logo on them, a bunch of people come tour the RV and a ribbon cutting.  Are we the rock stars of Big Data?  I think so!  Shout out to Nicole Sweeney and Natalie Reil for all their help in making this possible!


6) Teaching Kyle and Cory about Wawa

If you are from or have visited the Mid-Atlantic area you have probably heard someone go on and on and on about how great Wawa is.  Something like “It’s not a gas station, it’s a way of life” or “Their bread is the best, trust me you will love it”.  Well I am not ashamed to say that I fall into that category of a Wawa-file.  Well, on Wednesday, the stars aligned while we were driving south of D.C.  We were hungry, the parking lot was huge (Did I mention the RV is massive) and I was able to convince them to try out what they labeled “gas station food”.  So why is this #6, let alone in the top 10?  THEY LOVED IT!  Add 2 more believers to the Wawa list.  PS, they still need to try the pretzels.

5) Blowing out a tire on I-81 in Tennessee

So this moment was not exciting or fun nor was it during the official Road Trip.  This happened on Saturday while Cory and I were driving from Alabama to Hopkinton, MA.  While along I-81N (Mile Market 47.6) we heard a massive BOOM and immediately we both knew a tire had blown.  Pulling over to the side, we looked at each other and could not help but take it in stride.  It was a crappy situation but what could you do about it.  Little did we know that the blow out was so massive that it blew off the cowling and did something to the electrical box that controls the brakes.  After that we were pretty worried.  It was a Saturday afternoon and we were 1,000 miles from our starting point.  Without knowing the true extent of the damage, we were worried that the trip would be cancelled before it even officially began.  A mechanic came out and brought a new tire and changed it for us.  I wont go into the details but needless to say that after 3 ½ hours being stuck on the side of the road we were back on the highway.  Funny thing is that we got a couple texts from people who say us stopped in Splunk and wondered what had happen… The power of Splunk.Image from iOS (6).jpg


I do want to take this time to give a shout out to Cory’s dad for providing his RV to us and helping us through the great tire blowout of 2019.  Thanks!

4) Sleeping in a hotel last night in Nashville

Bed > Couch and shower had warm water… enough said.

3) Chatting with Juliana Vida in VA

Despite coming from the Navy (Go Army!), Juliana was so awesome! She showed up to the RV for our podcast recording wearing a long fake beard that put all of ours to shame.  She was energetic, passionate and knowledgeable.  Juliana is the Chief Technical Advisor, Public Sector for Splunk.  Her podcast covered some great topics around modernization in public sector and how has been one of the driving forces to enable IT modernization.   She is passionate about workforce culture, women in tech and Veteran’s.  I highly encourage all of you to check this podcast out.

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2) Breakfast with the Beards with Chris Burnham in Nashville

3 minutes before going live with Breakfast with the Beards, this sick Tesla comes rolling up… Chris Burnham, who works for Splunk, joined us to share how he not only Splunk’d his Tesla but practically his entire house.  Things like having alerts to let him know when his kid’s bike is out in the lawn to using machine learning to change the pattern of house lights and actions when he is traveling.  One of the major themes of this Road Trip is to inspire people and organizations into the art of the possible with Splunk and Data Analytics and Chris nailed it.  I have a list of at least 5 new things I want to Splunk when I get back to Boston.

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1) Hanging out with the Red River team in Reston, VA

We knew from the beginning that our D.C leg of the trip was going to be the most challenging.  Our partners at Red River have such a great vision for AI and how Splunk is helping Federal customers accomplish their mission that we could not record just one podcast.  After driving for 9 hours on the first day of the Road Trip and getting 3 hours of sleep, the thought of 3 interviews and a Breakfast with the Beards was… well rough.  We showed up to the Red River office and were greeted with our awesome partners cheering us on.  They even had breakfast ready for us which was greatly appreciated.  For the next 4 hours, we had so many people come by and chat with us and tour our RV.  Their motivation was contagious and we had a blast.  Kevin Steeprow and Ramon Taylor were amazing guests and provided great insights into the use cases and technology powering their customers journey to AI.  I highly encourage you to check out their podcasts

My favorite part of the day however was the Breakfast with the Beards.  We made a game time decision to record outside of the RV.  I know I am being a tad generous with the attendance but think of a college game day live event and that’s how it felt.  The conversation was awesome and it was cool recording in front of an audience.  Thanks again Red River for all of your support in helping make this trip happen, our stop was awesome and can’t wait to see you in Vegas.  Also… shout out to Kim Carter and Sydney Herren for your support!


Honorable mentions: Cory jamming out to some sick banjo music driving through the Smokey Mountains, Pizza Rolls in Charlotte, Getting the 4G network to work with the IOT devices.

That is my top 10 so far.  I will create a new one when we get to Vegas and we’ll see what gets added to the list and what stays.   If you have been following us, you might have a few favorite moments too.  Let us know what they are!  Get social with @BigDataBeard and @BigDataBrett

Remember to check out our dashboards at https://splunk.bigdatabeard.com:8000

Until next time, your bearded friend