Now that I’ve been back for a week and had some time to recover I thought I’d write a little about the whirlwind that was my VMworld.
The first thing was the travel, the flight from Auckland to San Francisco was 12 hours and there were another few hours either end of the trip so it ended up being around 21 hours from leaving home until I arrived at my hotel. The best part of the travel is that I spent much of the time with some buddies from the ANZ region, even before I got to VMworld the community feel started. Arriving on the Saturday was good, plenty of time to get settled before the main event. Unlike last year where I didn’t get checked into the hotel until after the VMunderground party, so I was carrying all my bags at the party.
The biggest mistake I made this year was with the hotel, it was expensive for no reason and in a poor location. For next year I plan to find a hotel that is either north of Market Street or within one block of the Moscone centre. My hotel was neither of these so I had a four block walk to the conference past a large number of homeless people. This was OK during daylight but a little unnerving at night.
Being on the inside of the vBrownBag TechTalks I got access to the Hang Space during setup on the Saturday afternoon , an early introduction to the place I spent most of the rest of the week. This is where the TechTalks took place, along with the awesome “Not Supported” sessions. Also around the stage space were the blogger tables, so this was the place to meet the people who contribute to the community. There was always something happening and someone to talk to around this area and many hours passed without me realising it. The TechTalks and Not Supported talks will filter out onto the vBrownBag iTunes feed over the coming weeks, lots of great content.
The other thread to the week was meeting up at parties. I started with vBeers on the Saturday then VMunderground on Sunday. Monday was the vExpert meet up followed by the SolarWinds vMixer, but I got side tracked by Greg Shulz and ended up at vFlipCup which I didn’t expect to get to. It was a fun event and a lot of interesting people to talk to. Tuesday is the vendor party night, I started with an HP briefing followed by the customer appreciation dinner, then it was off to the huge Veeam party. My final party was on Wednesday, it was the Office of the CTO party, this was as awesome this year as it was last year. A personal highlight was shaking hands with Mike Nelson who is the inventor of VMotion among many other things like FT and the new HA agent. I didn’t got to the main VMworld party and decided not to trek out to the unparty, instead getting to bed before midnight for the first time.
For me a critical feature of the parties I went to was that I wanted to be able to talk to people, both ones I knew and new people with an interest in VMware. All of the parties I went to had dozens of interesting people and I had to force myself to keep moving to new people. Meeting people in is the most important part of VMworld for me, especially the ones I have tweeted and emailed with over the year. Having met people in person the electronic communication over the following year is much more personal. The thing is that I met and talked to more people in one week than I usually meet in months of normal life, so remembering who is hard and by the end of the week I didn’t have the energy to meet another person. It took me three days after I got home to be able to get enough rest to be able to make any decisions beyond what to have for lunch.
I should wrap up with thanks to my vBrownBag crew, my closest buddies for the conference even though I met two of them in person for the first time on the Saturday. Cody did a post about the Sunday, when we assembled the vBrownBag swag bag of awesomeness. It was one of those surreal, “are we really doing this?” times and we kept looking at each other and bursting into giggles that we were pulling it together.
VMworld was an awesome event, I wish I didn’t have to wait another year to do it again. Maybe we can get some real community happenings at vForum in Sydney this year.
© 2012, Alastair. All rights reserved.