Spiceworks Is Having Fun in the Cloud With Its Help Desk Software
NEWS ANALYSIS: Spiceworks kicks off its first cloud application at the SpiceWorld conference in Texas, where fun is part of the mix.AUSTIN, Texas—The concept of fun isn't usually what comes to mind when you think about help desk software. But then again, it is if you are talking about Spiceworks, and you are in Austin, where the unofficial motto is "Keep Austin Weird." Perhaps that explains why the most prominent object in the exhibition hall at the Austin Convention Center, where the SpiceWorld conference took place Sept. 23 and 24, was a giant orange Tyrannosaurus rex. Perhaps that also explains the prevalence of light sabers, superhero costumes complete with capes and adult beverages (lots of them) at the show. But, of course, all of this could just as easily be explained by Spiceworks and the now legendary Spiceworks Community. Unlike other IT product companies, Spiceworks, which is based here, focuses on fun. Perhaps this makes sense for a software company that gives its products away for free. After all, losing sales is the least of its problems. But at SpiceWorld, "Fun" is spelled with a capital "F." Attendees wear costumes like what you see at SF and comic book conventions. There is more swag than a mere mortal can easily carry. There are parties on top of parties every night of the conference. And the big bucks to pay for all of this comes from some other big names in the business. The sponsor list is full of names like Microsoft and HP. All of this for free software? I pondered this when I first arrived at SpiceWorld and was waylaid by CEO Scott Abel, who wanted to make sure that I found my way to the first evening's soiree of bratwurst and craft beer, held in a place called "Bangers," which sells, well, sausages and beer. My transportation? A rickshaw. This is not your normal IT event.
But that just served to make clear that Spiceworks is not your normal IT products company. I didn't appreciate just how far from normal Spiceworks is until later, as I passed a food truck handing out free maple-bacon doughnuts. The exhibits at SpiceWorld, if they had a theme beyond general weirdness and the Zombie Apocalypse, usually involved bacon. There were bacon-scented T-shirts, bacon burgers for lunch and bacon in pretty much every list posted for about anything.