HP shrank its base, so you grew experience
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Beatle to bang keys at HP's Discover show

SirPaul Once only including the HP Technology Forum & Expo, the big-dog conference that HP mounts each June just got a legendary headliner. Sir Paul McCartney, one of the two living Beatles, is "scheduled to appear" at the "closing ceremonies" of what's being called the HP Discover Americas conference in Las Vegas.

The 2010 meeting that was HPTF touted a big name for its finale this year in Roger Daltrey of The Who. But Daltrey's 40-year-old catalog of music didn't make the same splash as The Beatles' hitting the Apple iTunes store this Tuesday. We didn't know Sir Paul was performing at corporation events like HP Discover these days. There's always the "scheduled to appear" disclaimer upon a spartan HP web page for the event, but there are contracts involved here, since HP's involved. There's also a partnership between McCartney and HP.

BeatlesiTunes We also didn't know the conference's title had been changed, but it appears that HP is doing more consolidating than just its datacenters. What was once three conferences -- storage, enterprise systems, and the Software Universe -- just a few years ago has become one mega-event, now moved into the home of the Software Universe, the Venetian-Pallazzo Casino & Resort with its indoor canals and resplendent ceilings painted to appear like skylight at dusk. The Mandalay Bay home of the HPTF was high-end for a Vegas venue, but far to the end of the Strip. The Venetian was the venue where HP laid out the dinner for press a few years back, dead in the center of the Strip. HP customers who wanted to attend the migration-tilted, non-3000 events once had to spread themselves across a mile of the Strip to see both software and HP's enterprise offerings. Everything's gotten bigger, and as Paul could sing on June 10, "getting better all the time."

But the names of the user groups who have built content and brought customers to HP's show in the past are missing from a no-frills press release about HP Discover Americas, an oversight that might indicate, as John Lennon would answer, the groups' profile "can't get more worse." We can't assume that's true, though, and Connect would be the first to say HP Discover wouldn't exist without the hard work of its many volunteers and presenters. HP says it's producing the Discover Americas show. It's doing this "in cooperation with participating independent user groups."

For now we can attribute this "what's my name?" absence to HP's ardor over a much bigger name at an event headlined by the music industry legend -- a fellow whose concert receipts far outstripped the average cost of even the biggest 3000 migration during 2010. The artist's shows earned $31.6 million over just the first half of the year.

McCartney is playing next month at New York's Apollo Theatre "saluting Sirius XM," part of promoting his Band on the Run channel on the satellite service. You can only get your shot at one of the 1,500 seats at the Apollo if you're a Sirius XM subscriber. It's an extravagent example of branding a band with technology and remaking the concept of a live concert experience.

At HP Discover, HP will take some credit for Sir Paul's business ascent. The tickets for his appearance are likely to be easier to come by than the ones at the Apollo -- although there's that $1,300 conference pass to add into the IT budget. HP is sure to show off the content and fellow headliners long before you'll need to pass on the justification letter to top management.

HP is using the combined event to promote its Instant-On Enterprise strategy for large customers. How large? For Discover Americas, HP will show how McCartney Productions Ltd. (MPL) are in a partnership "under which HP technology and services will ultimately reinvent how the artist and his fans interact."

There's a lot to reinvent, in looking at a customer the size of MPL. It owns 25 allied companies as well as some of McCartney's songs, plus those of Buddy Holly, Broadway legends Jerry Herman, Frank Loesser, Meredith Willson and Harold Arlen. Sir Paul's mega-firm, represented at HP's mega-show, now owns the rights to Lennon-McCartney's "Love Me Do", "P.S. I Love You", "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why."

That last lineup makes us pretty sure of the range of Sir Paul's Beatles playlist for June 10. HP Discover Americas starts June 6.