VMworld 2018 – Personal Milestone Achieved

tl:dr – i did something that I’m really proud of and wanted to share my story so far… going back a little further than necessary.

I write this post on a plane to Las Vegas for VMworld. It’s been such a wild ride so far. My career, that is… the flight is perfectly fine!

I’ve been in the IT world for six years now. That makes it six years since I saw my first vMotion and didn’t understand what was happening. Six years since my former-mentor explained it and watched the reaction on my stupid face.

I immediately fell in love with VMware’s technology because it was cool. It had nothing to do with consolidation in the datacenter, ease of management, or anything else. Quite simply, VMware was the first company to blow my mind out of the water after I had leapt into the deep-end that is IT.

Last year I attended my first VMworld but had tried to self-fund myself for three years prior. I found the cost of the conference prohibitive on the salary of a rookie IT professional. That fact alone is how I became involved in VMUG. I worked for companies that couldn’t afford or wouldn’t send me to training/conferences. I turned to VMUG and it accelerated my career.

Last year, I didn’t know what to expect at VMworld. Honestly, I was scared. My engagement with VMUG made me feel as if I had to attend all the things and learn everything all at once. I know now that this was all in my head, but it was certainly challenging to wrestle while at the conference. As usual, the #vCommunity supported me, gave me energy, and renewed my vigor.

Only six months before VMworld last year, I began a new job at a VMware partner. When we announced the partnership internally, I immediately reached out to those involved because I wanted to know more. I wanted to support the team and offer any knowledge I had and learn from people significantly smarter than I am about the vision for our partnership.

My co-worker Billy and I were close with the development team and had many conversations with them. Eventually, we were asked to participate in a webinar where we talked about our experiences working with Security teams throughout our careers. Nothing Product, just our stories. My experiences were much more limited than Billy’s, but we feed off each other well. We get more and more passionate as each of us share parts of our vision. I later learned that the webinar had spawned a white paper which was super exciting.

A few months later Billy and I worked together on an internal hackathon project that focused on our partnership (among other things!). The final demo of the project was well-received and generated some buzz about what we could really do. I began to get more passionate and adamant about sharing the vision that Billy and I had created.

I was approached not long before VMworld by our Marketing team. I began to provide feedback about product messaging and the things in it that resonated with me. Together, we changed the verbiage and altered the message.

I can’t begin to describe how exciting that was for me. I’m just an IT professional. I manage things that can’t be touched. I’m just passionate about what I do and (apparently) sell a good vision. It truly meant a ton to be given an opportunity to help move my company forward. It’s certainly an opportunity I’ve never had before.

Not long after this, I was again approached by Marketing with a request – to recreate the hackathon video for external communications! I was both shocked and excited. Billy wasn’t able to assist me this time. I was effectively given free reign for the video by the Marketing team.

This opportunity is, in my opinion, once in a lifetime. There’s no Marketing in the video. There’s no sales-y influence. It was done entirely by me – a member of the #vCommunity. And I mean entirely! A single line said during the video was added at a coworkers request. All editing and audio recording were done by me. There were changes, of course. But they were changes in the execution of the video, not what was said or shown. It was an awesome learning experience.

Again, I can’t begin to express how amazing it is to have been given the opportunity to help influence a product offering and help my company close deals. Like I said earlier, it’s been a wild ride!

Personal Achievement Unlocked:

The most-awesome part of this adventure is a personal milestone: having something that I created shown at VMworld to all of my peers! No, I don’t have a session that I’m presenting. But my company believes in me and my vision enough to use my video in our booth. I haven’t seen or know what’s going on in the booth yet, but it’s going to be a very special moment for me when I get to swing by and see my name on the title.

The video doesn’t have my Twitter in it, but if you happen to read this and have seen the video, please reach out and let me know what you think! Constructive criticism is welcome.

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