Is it just me or have the presentations at technology conferences lately distinctly lacked individuals that know anything about technology. The most common justification seems to be that the presenters are often managers, not technologists. While managing a technology department isn't the same as configuring routers and servers, surely to manage the technology domain you should have some idea what it is.
Take finance as a comparison. Typically the CFO can balance his chequebook and may even know what SAP is. In fact financial controllers are notorious for being tight fisted obstacles when trying to get capex approved and so they should be. They should be frugal and resist opening the purse strings. They should know what questions to ask to ensure that the correct due diligence has taken place before a purchase order is approved.
This isn't to say that all technology managers are completely clueless. Some indeed have a well established background in technology groups either in a management capacity or sometimes even at an engineering level. Take the Gen-I (being a large technology company) CIO Peter Finch who has a well established background working in Telecom which constitutes a large party of the technology industry in New Zealand.
This also isn't to say that all technology oriented conferences are completely void of technical information but they seem to be driven by vendor (e.g. Microsoft TechEd) or by hackers in dark rooms (e.g. Kiwicon) who for some reason scare the masses despite their preparedness to share useful information with anyone who wants to come along.
So lets look at what is often touted as the "genuine article for New Zealands CIO's" - The CIO Summit. Where are the representatives from the technology industry on the agenda? Where are those from Gen-i, IBM, HP and Microsoft? Where are the small independent technology firms that are going to bring us the next Google or Trademe? Instead we have CIO's from freight services and fisheries? Not to discredit the individuals but I find it hard to believe that Ezibuy is on the bleeding edge of technology and can accurately predict where the market will go. There is a panel made up of CIO's discussing how their role should relate to the business - where is the context given by other parts of the business? The panel is chaired by Damian Swaffield, a former CIO who's linkedin page shows he has never actually held a CIO role and his (suspiciously) short terms in technology management have made sure he never gets his hands dirty.
Surely if the technology industry is to evolve into something that does enable businesses as it claims, there needs to be some effort to provide vendor independent forums that allow those that do know to inform those that should.