Hi Cancun – for the last time!

“Buenos tardes!” said the hospitable Yucatán native. And then, smilingly, ushered us toward a particular line for passport control – which took a full 90 minutes for us to get to the front of!

“Buenos noches!”, we answered, while muttering other phrases under our breath I shouldn’t repeat here. But it got worse: out of a full 30+ passport control windows only six (6!) were working! And it was clear the border control staff wasn’t in any way speeding up its work given this avia-logisitical collapse. But then, it turned out, upon our asking if this was indeed a one-off collapse, that this happens all the time: several flights arrive around the same time all the time. So, like, they’re fully aware of the problem, but do nothing about it! I mean, they should be happy for all the dollars all these (many!) tourists arriving in Mexico every day will be spending, but they treat them with contempt! At one point I thought there could be some kind of revolt and lynchings; indeed a fight did break out in the next line to us (I think with tourists from Canada): someone got punched in the face for jumping the line!

Actually, we love(d) Cancun: since 2011 we’ve put on a full 12 (!) business events here – including the one I’m about to tell you about! Good infrastructure, safe, ocean, beaches, sun, tequila, and venues able to handle 500+ guests for large conferences (like our Security Analyst Summit (SAS), which, incidentally, took place here a full three times, in 2012, 2015 and 2018). And what else do we ask of a destination for our bashes? For all our guests to NEVER have to wait in lines at the airport for hours after a long flight. But this clearly is unattainable. Therefore, accordingly, this is the LAST event of ours in Cancun. Buenos huegos. No, better…: Buenos &!#*%!!

The basic ingredients for the format were present, as per: first work hard – then play hard! But the world is changing, audiences are changing too, and then there are all the geopolitical cataclysms that come in waves – which we sometimes even try to surf ). Accordingly, we made a few changes to the basic format.

This was our partner conference for both the Americas – including Central ) (Canada, U.S.A., Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil… – in all 12 countries). But it wasn’t just our main partners in attendance; we also invited our top clients. And why not? For we hide nothing: let them see how we work with the sales channel. Anyway, in all we had more than a hundred guests.

It’s customary for a business event such as this to be of the BBB format – Boring Business Blah, blah, blah. But we weren’t going to settle for that! So we decided to mix in some tech too – to kinda combine the partner conference with a mini-SAS. In order for partners to really get to know the ins and outs of our tech, the things it’s up against, trends, risks, possibilities, plans; and then to gradually cross over into business dialog.

Now, I didn’t doubt that this new format would work; what I didn’t expect was that it would work so well. Everyone really liked it, and wants more of it next time!
Newbies generally liked finding out about the broad spectrum of variety of our products. Some of them presumed – as many others do – that we’re still merely home anti-virus. Nope. Those days are long gone. Now we’ve got fingers in that many different pies even our long-standing partners were surprised by some of them. It turns out we’re developing new stuff faster than they can learn about it to be able to sell it! This highlights an internal issue we need to address: one of Marketing, and we need to address it ASAP…

Briefly, some of that ‘new stuff’:

1) MSP (cybersecurity outsourcing). This was the ‘hit of the week’ // but it’s been around now 15+ years! This seems to be the hit of the week for us: clients’ interest has changed its focus to quality.

2) Industrial cybersecurity: SCADA security; secure OS. I’ve written plenty about this before; I won’t go over it here.

4) Carefully studying our customers and clients, it’s crystal clear that they’re badly – sadly – lacking in knowledge. To remedy that – we provide all sorts of educational programs and trainings, be they for children (tricky) or directors (more straightforward, basically like a game of Monopoly).

5) Private reports – technical analysis of various cyber-awfulnesses for companies on a subscription basis.

Now, the less attentive may have missed the fact that there was no (3) in the above list. Nothing to worry about – such errors in a text these days are commonplace. But if you were onto that omission real quick – well, there might just be a K-vacancy with your name on it!

But I digress. Back to the Cancunference ->

Alas, I arrived too late to catch Costin’s presentation. I regret missing it especially because of those interesting slides!
But there were plenty of other interesting presentations:

Another new feature to the format: everyone in headphones, since there were other presentations on neighboring stages so the audience can pick and choose. I’m sure this is fine for the listeners, but it was a very unusual for me not being able to hear myself…

Meanwhile, outside, up went the drone of our long-time photographer of choice, RR, for some aerial Cancunning:

All righty. Business – done; now for the play…

Mexican cuisine – check; Mexican musicians in sombreros – check; tequila – check; creepy crawlies ‘canapés’ – check! ->

And on the final evening – Cirque du Soleil, out in a super swish venue in the jungle to perform Joya. Formidable!

Cirque du Soleil was simply amazing. The costumes, the sets, the live music… and the story was great fun too: an old man passes on his magical knowledge (in a book) to his granddaughter, and then strange things start happening when the magic in the book is applied carelessly:

Assorted animals appear on stage, a dinosaur comes to life; even a pirate ship is wheeled out into the hall…

Alas, taking photos with a camera was forbidden; but taking photos with a smartphone – knock yourself out. Just like in Tibet recently! Still don’t quite see the logic, be it in Lhasa, Cancun or Timbuktu!

Btw – due to said camera ban, the quality of these here pics, taken on a phone, isn’t so good. Another btw: it seemed some scenes weren’t very professional. Still, overall – fantastic show. Highly recommended!

Some of the stunts were masterly:

Half of the troupe were Russian or Chinese circus performers!

Many scenes take place right next to the audience – giving the proceedings a very intimate, in-your-face (literally) feel!

Dinner was almost as magical as the show. I’m not normally one for Instagramming what I’m about to eat, but I made an exception here. This is why! ->

Such a shame Cirque du Soleil doesn’t come to Moscow. Oh well, we’ll just have to catch it in other places around the world – but not in Cancun, remember? )

And that was that. Home time the following morning. Out everyone flew, against a backdrop of a super sunrise:

Me and my travel-companion-and-photo-maestro, DZ, decided to stay for the weekend. And we got plenty of tourism in too: Yucatan Cenote and pyramids. And we took more than 700 photos. Must get them sifted and sorted soon for proper posting on this blog; for now – a few preview taster-teasers:

But more on all that later…

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