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VMworld2014 Bound!

VMworld 2014 is upon us, and I’m sitting in an airport at 6AM.  It’s funny how excited one can get by a simple conference, but its always not so simple.  I think I look forward to this more than I look forward to vacation – and after a conference, a vacation is what you really need.  So many people have told me to enjoy my time off, which I will – but it’s hardly going to be a break!

There’s a ton of good information out there about how to plan your week, I don’t think I could possibly do it justice compared to what else is out there, but a very quick summary as I wait for a flight:

* Make sure you go through your Schedule Builder (https://www.vmworld.com/schedulebuilder-login.jspa) and find the sessions  you want to see.  But also be clear in understanding that they’re recorded, and you can view them after.  So plan to take in the ones that you’ll see a “Rock Star” at, or where you want to raise your hand and ask something.  Give special weighting to ones that are more round table or discussion based.

* Take in some Hands On Labs.  But the same overall suggestion applies – a lot of these can be taken online thanks to Project Nee (https://labs.vmware.com/nee/).  So take ones where you interact.  Talk to the instructors.  See how the guy next to you wants to use that product.  Find out what hassles they’ve seen, etc.

* Get on the Twitters.  Most of the community is there, even me sometimes.  To be fair, I’m only most active on Twitter during conferences, as it’s really the only good way to keep up and current.  Even if you don’t otherwise use it, you’ll find it an invaluable tool during your trip.  Find me at @AvramWoroch, if you like.

* NETWORK!  If you take in a conference with headphones on and your head down, you’re doing it wrong.  The whole point is to meet people.  I’m always shocked at the people who are actually interested in having me talk to them, even if I think I’m a lowly peon and they’re a rock star.  Remember, we’re all geeks and dorks and such, and we all like the same things.  A counter to this networking though is limit your LOCAL contacts where you can politely.  If you’re from Edmonton, and a number of Edmonton vendors, resellers, etc, have invited you out – weigh the pros and cons of that meeting out vs something else.  Remember, they’re local to you back home, and the 20,000+ people at VMworld you see once a year.  There’s only 5 days, maximize your time.  If you do want to meet with those locals, my suggestion is to politely ask for a meeting after the event – this is when you’re likely to have digested everything you saw and new announcements and want to ask questions anyway.

* Take in the events, there are MANY.  Check http://www.vmworld.com/community/gatherings/ and that likely doesn’t even cover them all.  There’s a good chance they’ll be packed, there will be a lineup, and you’ll be doing more standing – on top of the walking and standing you’ve already done.  Take in what you can, but pace yourself.  Find a buddy with some experience to be your mentor if needed…

* BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES!  Especially if you’re not in a hotel near the event, which are the price of small cars.  You’ll be doing a ton of walking.  Make sure you’re up to it.

* Get some good rest.  I’m usually up at 6AM, having breakfast at 7AM, meetings by 8AM, VMworld through the day, evenings are parties/dinner/get-togethers and impromptu meet-ups.  It’s not unusual to get only 5-6 hours of sleep a night.  Prep in advance, don’t go in with a sleep deficit.  Also, plan to do NOTHING on your first day or two home.

* Hit the Vendor Floor / Solutions Pavilion.  This is the VMware supermarket.  Everyone that has a product for this ecosystem is here.  Look, browse, ask questions.  Ask a TON of questions.  Pay attention to what other people are talking about – they’re likely to trip your mind and remind you about something to ask about.  If you’re looking for swag, this is where it comes from.  Be selective, you have to take it all home, and it’s not all worth it.  But there’s a lot of folks back home who can’t make it who at the very least SEEM appreciative when they get something.  So think about the people who didn’t get a chance to come down.  If you do see a product you’re interested in, definitely ask about it.  Unlike a meeting back home, this venue likely has a dozen of their best SME’ (Subject Matter Experts) around to give you a really deep dive if you want it.  Take advantage of it.  But if you don’t have time, definitely book a meeting back home.  If you’ve ever wondered “Man, I’d like to talk to someone from X, but I don’t know who to call…” – this is the time.  They’ll tell you.

* Enjoy the community!  This is more than just the networking from above.  Find your local VMUG team, find the VMUG booth, and get involved.  We’re a community OF the people, FOR the people, and the more people, the more fun.  Seek us out, we’d love to help you out and share about what we know and do – that’s why we started as VMUG leaders, vExperts, or whatever our roles might be.  You don’t have to be someone special to help out the community – you just have to do something.

That’s about it that I can think of.  Take care of your feet, and your liver.  Get some rest.  Have a blast.  Reach out to me if you want to say hi while it’s on!


Categories: VMworld2014
  1. August 24, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    Enjoy! I know a few of our guys are going to be there.

  2. August 25, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    Oh, there shall be enjoyment! Robbie’s here, and I’ve run into Amar and Mathieu as well….

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