What’s it Like to Sponsor NANOG?

March 15, 2024

Interviews

What’s it Like to Sponsor NANOG?

Q + A with Sponsor IPv4.Global's Lee Howard

by Elizabeth Drolet

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Imagine you're attending a premier technology conference with a long-standing reputation for hosting the most cutting-edge talks with the most influential Internet leaders.

The event is filled with close to a thousand individuals in your target demographics working in network engineering, operations, and architecture worldwide. The mission is simple: to educate, empower, and inspire. The impact is life-changing.

As you move around the room, excitement is palpable as technologists, young and old + from all walks of education, network with new friends and reconnect with old. Then, something catches your eye: almost everyone is wearing a branded t- shirt, or using a special event hotel key card, or standing next to a sign with your logo.

This is the magic of sponsorship at a NANOG event.

IPv4.Global by Hilco Streambank has been sponsoring NANOG consecutively since 2015. We caught up with Senior V.P. Lee Howard to learn more about his experience.

Why has IPv4.Global Sponsored NANOG Meetings for Almost a Decade?

We realized pretty early on that this was a worthwhile investment. It was partly because of the joint NANOG/ARIN meetings. We were impressed with the attendee list and would say, 'There are a lot of potential clients here.' Even if we never do business with them, we want to be one of the first companies this community thinks of. We started out sponsoring Beer N' Gear. It was a place where attendees could walk past our booth, grab some swag, and chat about the market dynamics, pricing, and mechanisms to make things happen.

Those conversations are very beneficial; understanding our client's needs and building relationships is a lot of fun. Prices have also changed over the years, and it's been helpful for us to continue having the opportunity to talk to our community directly. We see so many of the same people from meeting to meeting, and staying in touch is very helpful.

Have any Specific Success Stories Come from your Experience with NANOG?

When I was considering working for IPv4.Global, I went to several people within the NANOG community and asked, 'Hey, I'm considering working for a broker. What would you think about these folks in particular?' I received excellent advice, which made me say, 'I'm going to do this. I'm going to make this career change.'

ipv4

How Does NANOG Align with IPv4.Global's Values?

We specifically talk about wanting to be transparent in bringing more information to the community. We publish the price for every transaction we do on our online marketplace. There are some private transactions where our customers say we don't want that information to be public, but we publish as much information as we can.

That's one of the things that I really like about the roots of NANOG — full transparency. For example, when speakers present, I always appreciate the ones who say, 'I had this problem, and here's how I solved it.' Because other people may have similar problems, I especially love the ones that are not just, 'Here is my solution,’ but, ‘here's what I went through in solving it.'

What Has Been Your Team's Experience Attending NANOG Events?

Not only is it a favorite conference that we do, but we also use it as a training conference. When I have new hires, I try to teach them all I can about the technology, subnetting, and the processes and procedures at the registries. Still, they don't really understand how our customers are thinking about it until they go to a NANOG meeting.

I tell them, 'Once you've spent a week in this community and get to know who our customers are, then you will truly understand your job.'

What Message Would You Give to Potential NANOG Sponsors?

The NANOG team has always been accommodating and supportive. A couple of years ago, I was on a panel discussion, and the panel unfortunately happened at the same time as the setup for Beer ‘N Gear. And so I couldn't be there in time to set up. When the panel was over, I panicked, took off the mic, and ran to the Beer ‘N Gear room. That was when I saw Shawn (Winstead) and Michelle (Lee) already setting up my booth, putting up the tablecloth, and setting up the swag.

The team is fantastic and goes above and beyond. And the NANOG community looks at the sponsors and says, 'These are organizations that are putting their money where their mouth is. They're demonstrating their support, and I want to support them.'

What Makes Sponsoring a NANOG Meeting Different?

The community. One of the things about NANOG is that everybody will talk to you. Nobody is too good to at least say, 'Hi, how are you?' We don't have the snobbery and we don't have the attention starvation that you find at some events.

I also feel like (and this goes back to those early days when I was on the mailing list and had no idea what anybody was talking about) participating at NANOG is making it. That was always the big time. And maybe there's still a little bit of awe from when I was a baby engineer. It feels amazing to be part of this community of really, really smart engineers and great people!

Is There Anything Else You'd Like to Add?

Shawn Winstead (NANOG business development specialist) emailed us before the San Diego meeting and said, 'You have the opportunity to be the Host Sponsor. Would you be interested?' And we had never thought about that before. And we talked about it internally and decided this is the right year to do this. And it felt so good to walk into the hotel lobby and look at the huge "Welcome to NANOG 89 Banner" at the entrance and see our logo + name on that banner. I swelled with pride when I saw that. It was wonderful to show that level of commitment to the community and the organization. It was just an incredible feeling that I would highly recommend to anyone!

Learn More

Learn more about sponsoring a NANOG event here or contact Shawn Winstead at [email protected].

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Elizabeth Drolet

Elizabeth Drolet is NANOG's Multimedia Story Producer

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