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A post by Joylyn Tanner, Senior Communications Manager for Cloud Connect.

My mother was born in Chicago, and as a result, I have an overwhelming sense of pride for the city, Da Bears, deep dish pizza and Wrigley Field.  This affinity for the Windy City inspired me and my colleagues to cull together our top-picks on where to eat and what to see when you’re in town for Cloud Connect. With over 7,000 restaurants to choose from, more than 500 parks and a menagerie of bars, theaters, comedy clubs, etc., we’ve created an infographic that can help you navigate the goods with some short commentary below from yours truly.

Where to Eat:

Chicago is the birthplace of the beloved deep dish pizza, as well as fast food behemoth, McDonald’s and chewing gum giant, Wrigley’s.  With these notorious knocks under its belt, Chicago is sure to tantalize your taste buds during your stay.  It’s tough to narrow down, but our first staff pick for the best pie in the city is Lou Malnati’s, followed closely by Giordano’s and Pizano’s.

Italian bites run rampant in Chi-town, a couple of our faves are Rosebud on Rush and RPM Italiano.  And if it’s just a good dog you’re in search of, be sure to hit Hot Doug’s.  It’s cash only and don’t go at prime lunch time because the lengthy line will overwhelm.

If more of a scene is your thing, Howells & Hood is nestled at the base of the Tribune Building and features an unparalleled drink selection (largest draft beer selection in all of Chicago!), tasty menu and remarkable views to cap your evening.  Reservations strongly encouraged – you can’t go wrong with this choice!

If you can’t pull yourself away from the conference grounds, Hyatt Regency McCormick offers a couple dining options: Shor for a contemporary American meal, Forno if a plate of pasta hits the spot, or the lobby bar M/X for small bites and a cocktail.

Things to See:

Did you know that the first Ferris wheel made its debut in Chicago in 1893? Now Navy Pier is home to the 15-story Ferris wheel and a must-see when in Chicago.  During the week of Cloud Connect, Chicago’s Chocolate Festival is at Navy Pier and open to the public, while for those in search of some Halloween funk can check out The Fear Haunted House, also happening at the Pier. The insider’s tip here though is the stained glass exhibit that can’t be missed!

Lincoln Park Zoo is free and who doesn’t love free?!  With fall upon us and Halloween in the air, the Zoo has an events calendar you should check out prior to your visit to make sure you’re maximizing on fun, which may or may not include a Spooky Zoo Spectacular.

If you prefer setting sail, you can’t go wrong with the Architectural Boat Tours.  While on board, you’ll navigate along the Chicago River, be awed by 50+ buildings unique architecture, and learn the ins and outs of how the city grew from a small back-country outpost into one of the world’s most important crossroads.  While on the topic of Chicago history, may we recommend a Mob Tour, where you can escape into the city’s underworld of gangsters and criminals?  Problem is, tours only run Saturday and Sunday, so if you’re in early or sticking around after the event – secure your spot now to learn about all the old gangster hot spots.

What to Do:

If you need some greenery in your life, parks abound.  Stop by the local Bird Sanctuary off McCormick or visit Memorial, Grant or Millennium Park, which plays host to the famous “Bean.”

If a drink and a laugh is more up your alley, Second City Comedy Club will put you in stitches with their improv. Shows run nightly at 8:00 pm during the week of Cloud Connect.  Social Twenty-Five is located in the trendy River North neighborhood – just a few miles from McCormick – and has become a favorite hot spot with live music entertainment and a swanky two-level bar.  You could also belly up to the bar at Chicago classic, Pippin’s Tavern, a quintessential Irish pub located on Rush Street.

Don’t be afraid to take on public transit to get you where you want to go.  All you need to know to plan your route can be found on Chicago’s Transit’s website.

And finally, it was to my delight when Cloud Connect decided to expand to Chicago last year and return in 2013 to such a fun-loving city.  I’m looking forward to the event and being back in my mom’s hometown.   Hopefully, this can help you chart your course while in Chicago and if we missed something you’d like to share, please feel free to comment – we are all ears.

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As Vice President of Marketing for UBM Tech Events, each day holds new and meaty challenges. Responsible for a team of seasoned event marketers, and focused on promoting more than ten global technology event brands in the networking, computing, telecom, and business services categories – we stay challenged and energized year-around.

Our cross-functional teams pride themselves on creating high-quality event experiences that offer our guests the opportunity to learn, network, collaborate and connect with the latest thinking and solutions in their fields. Our goal, and the goal for many of our event guests, is to help them (and the companies they represent) remain progressive and professionally competitive.

Cloud Connect is one of our fastest growing brands in the US and India, serving technologists responsible for implementing cloud solutions that keep their companies competitive and stay agile. The cloud computing industry has evolved quickly over the last few years, proving to be a strategically important category for companies of all sizes. Our own research in partnership with the Everest Group has shown that the value of cloud computing extends beyond simple cost-savings – allowing technologists to bridge legacy IT solutions to new more nimble ones that better meet the needs of the lines-of-business they support and enable quicker time-to-market.

A few years ago cloud computing was so new many companies and experts were only beginning to understand its potential as a category that could change the rules for businesses. And thanks to numerous mainstream applications of the Cloud, even the most business-focused and tech-limited professionals understand its value and importance in enabling the agility companies need to meet the needs of their customers. Cloud Washing? Perhaps, but all of this attention has also enabled the acceleration of this valuable category to grow into a proven value-based solution for the enterprise.

Today, mainstream cloud practitioners are moving beyond considering what’s possible and into an era where they must pioneer new solutions to real challenges in their own companies. Many of the experts in the cloud computing space understand that cloud computing, and other new technologies, don’t transform companies overnight. They must accommodate the sometimes slow evolution to new technology while continuing to support aging infrastructures that companies have previously spent millions of dollars on as capital expense.

All of the points I’ve written here explain why I enjoy working with the Cloud Connect team to build this world-class event. We focus on facilitating the latest real-world solutions and new ideas that cloud technology practitioners need to get their jobs done successfully. We do that by bringing together the best hands-on thought leaders in the cloud space with the latest technology providers, and even the industry analysts and venture capitalists to help ensure our delegates are truly getting the guidance and insights they need to be successful. I’m very proud of the unique offering we provide to our Cloud Connect guests, and at the unique differentiation we are able to provide in the market.

I hope to see you at one of our Cloud Connect events soon!

Follow Nerissa on Twitter @nsardi

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Hello Cloud Connect – Let’s Talk PR

When I don’t have my head in the clouds atop mountains high with a backpack on or my skis pointed downhill, you’ll find me buckling down at my desk trying to stay abreast of the latest and greatest in news and coverage around cloud computing.  My goal is to know the happenings of the cloud computing market and work to ensure that the folks who are covering the recent trends – all those coveted press, analysts and industry bloggers – are onsite to capture the magic of networking, collaboration, knowledge-sharing and buzz around first-time announcements that unfold at a live event.

As the PR Manager for Cloud Connect, I enjoy promoting the event successes, our stellar keynote lineups, the conference program that’s ever-evolving to capture the innovations and trends of the cloud (check out some adoption trends featured in Forbes), and working closely with exhibitors and speakers to help them maximize their exposure and involvement leading up to and at an event.  I’m always interested in new insights and product or service announcements that can help build buzz with our eager media who are clamoring to cover what’s hot like Big Data (InformationWeek’sBig Data Vendors to Watch in 2013), Mobile Cloud (IDC’s12 month forecast), Private Cloud (CRN), Security (eWeek’s account of Gartner’s recent report) and more.  I’m eager to hear your story and what you’re excited about and how we can work together to promote your news at Cloud Connect.

So please, don’t hesitate to be in touch – I’d love to know what you have up your sleeves to promote your presence in Silicon Valley. I’m Joylyn Tanner (find me on Twitter @jtannerama) and as I support PR across live events at UBM Tech, I look forward to engaging with exhibitors and speakers and helping them get the most out of their participation.

Hope to see you in April and together, we can make a splash!


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Hello world! My name is Whitney Watts and I am the Sales Marketing Specialist for UBM Tech Business Technology Events, including Cloud Connect. I manage exhibitor communications including outbound emails, event collateral, and internal resource collaboration. I liaison between our Content, Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Creative teams and ensure the success of all of our exhibitor internal and external communications.  I am currently working on updating pieces of collateral for the Sales team as well as promoting our Enterprise Cloud Adoption Survey results.

I enjoy working on Cloud Connect because cloud computing and security are such a hot topics and there is a natural fire and energy surrounding these issues. I like that our audience of exhibitors continue to be diverse — from startups to seasoned companies. We get to market to many cloud segments – it keeps us quite busy and engaged. I’m excited to see what 2013 brings for cloud computing in general.

In keeping with Kristi’s theme, here are a few fun facts about myself:

  • My favorite hobby is music – playing guitar and singing, discovering new music (I love Spotify!), and attending small venue shows around SF.
  • I love the holiday season because it’s a great excuse to “treat yourself” (baked goods and warm beverages!) as well as a lovely time to treat other (giving gifts and gratitude).
  • Technology is #1! I love staying up-to-date on all things tech. You can find me on the interwebs retweeting funny Onion
    articles and more @whitwatts

And so the countdown begins! Cheers to 2013 – see you all in Silicon Valley!

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So glad to see you here on the Cloud Connect blog. I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Ally Thorndike, and I am a Marketing Director a UBM Tech and part of the Cloud Connect events marketing team. I am excited about working on Cloud Connect because, as Mary Meeker defined her year-end Internet Trends report, the Cloud is playing such a huge part in the “re-imagination of everything” and a critical role in the “Asset-Light Generation.”

Today, we kicked off with a meeting to brainstorm ways to make the Cloud Connect customer journey really outstanding. We came up with some great ideas for making our customers feel welcome, comfortable, and cared for at our flagship event this April. If you have ideas for ways we could improve your experience at Cloud Connect, please share them with us here in the comments or connect with me on Twitter @allythorndike.

I look forward to meeting you in April at Cloud Connect Silicon Valley.



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