Once a year I am confronting myself with the question. Shall I go to this year’s VMworld? Following the discussion on Twitter and at Customer’s site a lot of people tend to say the good old words every culture of the mankind has been hearing:
“(#VMworld) is not the same any more…..When I was young, real knowledge and content was presented… . I was at #VMworld in the old days before it was cool….”
I think they are wrong and I will try to argument why this is my opinion.
During the beginning of the year I asked myself if they were right or not. What were the reason for those statements. After those technical (broken macbook) and non-technical (lack of dodgeball skills) disasters I was faced with during last years VMworld I needed to reevaluate for myself if my personal invest into going to VMworld is worth the money.
People knowing me better (and understanding what I am actually doing) know that I am very excited going to #VMworld. With the following post I try to give you some reasons why I love it & why VMworld is a great event and foundation to develop yourself a little further (it’s all about personal development, isn’t it?!)
If it’s your first time visiting VMware’s US event I think you will be able to extract some useful information to gain a maximum benefit out of it.
//Since most of the arguments still apply this post is an updated/extended version of the 2016 ‘Why VMworld‘ article I created last year.
Who was I in 2011 when I have been at my first VMworld in Las Vegas?! I was a certified instructor and student within the Information System field spending 6 months abroad in Atlanta. I was so f****** (I guess that means freaking) excited about visiting Las Vegas / VMworld and I was not anyway prepared about the things I should do there.
… I was young, knowledge-thirsty, good-looking (not) and I filled my complete schedule with breakout-sessions, breakout-sessions, breakout-sessions. I thought visiting a form of a lecture is what’s bringing me the benefit. It certainly is, but only up to a certain point.
In the IT-field it’s all about people. The first person I met there (I was never good in breaking the ice) was Derek Seaman. Waiting for the Live-Labs to be finally deployed we had a great discussion about the infrastructure field (and arguing with the lady working on VMware chargeback’s UI). I really hope to see him again this year since I benefitted a lot from his blogs/twitter-advices) during my projects and trainings.
In 2016 I stumbled multiple times while getting some fresh air into Luc Dekens, who is like most of you know one of the most active and helpful PowerCLI-guru in our community. Such an event is a nice opportunity to have a tech-talk about specific topics in-between the breakout sessions. I remember that I was only able to follow the technical details for about 14 seconds, but that was my bad ;-).
I forgot that I wanted to give you good reasons that might convince your boss/company to sponsor the event for you. Here we go:
- Meeting/Connecting/Drinking/Eating or in business-talk: Connecting with people who love the datacenter field is such a great selling point of yourself. If you are passionate about something and you give something to others (blogs, tweets, vBeers or a simple thank you) there will come the day that you will get something back from them. If you are not good in breaking the ice (I know what I am talking about), always remember: ‘what happens in Vegas….’. Use VMworld to find new friends.
- The Solutions Exchange is a great chance to get in-touch with the overall ecosystem in our software-defined datacenter. Seek for a discussion with the people at the booth. I know, sometimes they cannot give you the level of information you want to have, therefore try to figure out which product might interest you and schedule an appointment with a specific person to discuss your needs and ideas.
- Many of the breakout-sessions are really really good. Remember: many Gin Tonic’s are good as well, but if you get too many …. you might know what I mean. Select your breakout session wisely. Remember that with a VMworld ticket you can access all breakout sessions later on (even though most of the session will get public-accessible after a longer-term). Do not miss the chance to talk to the presenter after the session. This year a lot of my focus will be within the #EUC field. Workspace One?! Here I come.
- Meet the experts: VMworld will have a very high density of Experts. Try to make appointments to talk about certain problems, wishes, design/product-questions you have.
- Connect with people in advance. Go on twitter, figure out what’s going on in Vegas. Organize or join those public meetings & events. Figure out what the vendors/community-members are sponsoring in the evening. The VMworld party is NOT the only event in the evening. Make sure that you register early for those late-night events.
- Come back in your daily job with new ideas. I discovered that multiple times. Many of us know a lot of things, but over the years or during specific problem-solving tasks you end up in a very specific situation based on initial assumptions. Assumptions that might have been changed by newer technologies, methodologies, smart peoples words, etc. Getting together with thousands of other smart people will definitely give you a better chance to open the box of your mind.
- Find business and job opportunities: Not a solid argument to convince your boss, but the opportunities within the SDDC and cloud era are big. New opportunities will come up outside and inside your company. To be able to recognize the opportunities you need to have a feeling for the market and environment. I realized during last VMworlds that this is the perfect location to develop such a feeling.
I could extent this list easily, but for now this should be good ;-). I am really looking forward to visit this event and so should you.
Why do people think VMworld isn’t that good anymore? I think this is related to the fact that the community is so good. If you are a very deep within the VMware sphere, you know how to get deep-dive information. People like Cormac Hogan, Duncan Epping, Steve Flanders, Brian Graf, William Lam, Luc Dekens (and many many many more) are giving us technical product insights for free over their blogs. If you follow, read and understand all of it, it is tough to discover much new content during such conferences. But that’s how it always is in life, isn’t it? If you can do everything on your own you don’t need anyone else. But is that they way you want to spent your professional life? Is that the maximum out of your potential?
There are so many other aspects, methodologies, technologies you can use to bring your career to the next level. And I know that going to #VMworld this year will definitely bring me one step closer to become a better expert. Virtualization is commodity? Maybe: But VMware on AWS, Cloud Management solutions and the whole EUC products are offering more than enough potential disruptions for the future.
In the end it was easy for me to decide if I should go again to #VMworld. I watched the video I created last year and was totally in a mood to get back to Las Vegas.
p.s. maybe one day I will tell you the story how this comdivision picture was photobombed by Pat Gelsinger (CEO VMware) after the Las Vegas vExpert reception.