NetApp CEO George Kurian opened his company's annual NetApp Insight conference with a brief moment of silence to remember the victims of Sunday night's Las Vegas massacre before discussing how changes in data consumption are driving the business world's digital transformation.
The Monday activities of the NetApp Insight 2017 conference, being held this week in Las Vegas, were cancelled after 59 people were killed and over 500 injured by a single gunman who Sunday night fired an automatic weapon from his room at the Mandalay Bay at concert goers across the street.
The Mandalay Bay is the site of the Insight conference and most of the conference attendees are staying there.
Kurian opened his remarks with a call for a moment of silence, and then followed it by noting the "extraordinary circumstances" overhanging the conference, with the death of 59 people "who will never know another Sunday evening."
He said the NetApp executive team met on Monday with local authorities and hotel executives to discuss its options, which included canceling the event altogether. But in the end they decided that continuing the conference was the right choice.
"There are no easy right or wrong ways. … There is so much good that can come from this event that we decided to go forward," he said. "And God knows we can use all the good we can get. We are not going to let one senseless act impact us."
Kurian said changing the world of data is the theme of NetApp Insight 2017, which reflects how major economic and demographic shifts are impacting how customers collect and use data.
"It's a big, audacious theme," he said. "But we believe that's where our customers are heading."
To help make his point, Kurian turned the stage over to Kenneth Cukier, data editor for The Economist magazine, who said that data has gone from being important to becoming the world's most valuable resource.
The value of that data increases as its volume increases because it provides a wider base on which to gain insights, Cukier said.