VMworld 2018 – Recap: Community

Last year was my first year as VMworld. As a result, I had been afraid of diving too deep into community and missing sessions. This year was much better! I spent nearly my entire time talking with other people about their take on a variety of different announcements, technologies, vendors, etc.

My goals around community were to meet some of the faces that I follow on Twitter and catch up with friends. I was able to check many off the list and am pleased to have had quite a few great conversations. Get engaged with as many of these people as possible. Even if it’s just a follow on Twitter! Here’s some of the people I ran into:

@steveathanas and I hung out a few times. It was frustrating for me that it took flying across the country to get together. I need to be better at that. I’m super excited for him as he transitions over the next few months to be the new VMUG President. I’m so proud of his efforts and accomplishments. Of course, there’s always the handful of jabs at each other. Great times to be had for all (most?).

@grob4ever is always a pleasant face to be seen. Hanging with the VMUG President is always a fun experience even if Steve’s attitude has a significant impact on how Ben treats me. It’s all in good fun and I love hanging around. Lots to learn from this guy!

@codydearkland was one of my major “must-meet” people after he offered to help me get started with vRealize Orchestrator on Twitter (note that I never followed up on that…) in reply to the troubles I’d had. Awesome dude and (not surprisingly) a great snuggle. Tweet related.

Speaking of… @kmruddy is a highly sought-after prize at this point. Particularly @kyleruddybeard. I had the opportunity to catch up with him as I observed my first VMworld Hackathon and thoroughly enjoyed my time chatting. It’s always great to catch up with Kyle as he’s a wealth of knowledge and was just an absolute beast for VMworld Sessions this year. Ton of effort put in by Kyle.

@vbriangraf is just a phenomenal human being. I was able to chat with him for a little while as he ran between sessions. It’s always great to catch up with Brian and I am super gracious that he was willing to spend some time with me at VMworld despite his super busy schedule. Brian’s encouragement and belief in my personal journey have helped push me forward on more than one occasion. He’s just a genuine human and I treasure any time I can spend with him.

@vm_jmcminn is always a great dude to run into. He’s passionate about VMUG and always willing to share his experiences. Heard some of his thoughts at a VMUG event pre-VMworld and continued to spend time with him for #v0dgeball2018.

I was introduced to @zdub2010 by Jason and continued to hang out with him for #v0dgeball2018, the VMUG Member Party, and a nice dinner afterward. Zach was fun to talk to and, like me, is a habitual line-stepper. Some great conversations and laughs.

@mmagbee was another member of our #v0dgeball2018 squad and joined Zach, Jason, and I for dinner. He had interesting things to say about DR which was made more interesting with my lack of exposure to his vendor of choice. He’s also a line-stepper.

Rounding out the dinner was @vm_beach. It was great to hear his perspective on recently joining the Mothership and how the transition went. I saw a lot more of Eric in passing, but didn’t have much more opportunity to chat with him.

Monday night was the night of the Hackathon. Last year, I opted to venture out as it was my first time in Vegas, but this year I went to the Hackathon and ran into some cool people.

During the Hackathon, I had a chance to chat with @brianbunke about all sorts of things. Nothing in particular, but it was nice to sit with another spectator and shoot the breeze while all sorts of other exciting things went on around us.

Last VMworld, I met @importcarguy when he was “just getting started in the community.” It seems like Tony is everywhere now! It was great to catch up for a few minutes and hear where a single year has taken him. He’s certainly getting a ton out of the #vCommunity and I’m super excited to hear all he’s giving back.

I met @vcixnv at a vExpert meet-up in Boston not too long ago. I saw him at the Hackathon while chatting with Tony for a bit. It was good to see Britton again, but I wish I’d taken more time to chat with him. He and Tony were both super busy with @vgigacast stuff, but I wish I’d flagged him down more than once.

I also met @tbgree00 and got the inside scoop on his new job before the rest of the Twitterverse learned. Exciting to hear and excited for Thom to go. Ruddy was impressed by the things that Thom had to say to me after first impressions. I was equally impressed at how quickly Thom picked up on the shenanigans. Great to see someone I’ve been following for a while.

I started following @k00laidIT a while ago – probably because of his Veeam content. He was yet another person that I ran into at the Hackathon. I saw him on and off at many of the places I went. He was awesome to banter with and a great conversation. Hoping to catch up with him again in the future.

Similarly, I think I started following @jhoughes for the same stuff – either that or because he’s a fellow VMUG Leader. Joe shared some time with me and a handful of other Leaders at the VMUG Content Summit. He went out of his way to tell me that he supported some of the thoughts that I had shared while we were there. At the time he shared it, it was really helpful to hear as I’d been pretty down on myself about the whole ordeal. It was a nice pick-me-up and I hope we can run into each other and talk shop again.

On many different occasions, I ran into @RyanMcbride81. I’m pretty sure we met at VMworld last year. We ran into each other at the VMUG Content Summit, Member Party, and in the Solutions Exchange. It wasn’t until the after-VMworld dinner that I had much of an opportunity to hang out and chat.

At that dinner, I had the chance to catch up with @RichardKenyan and hear a bit more of his story. We ran into each other at the VMUG Leader Summit last year. I’m not sure that I saw much of him at VMworld 2017 (or if he was there). He’s a passionate VMUG Leader and filled me in on a key session about vSphere 6.7 Update 1 that I missed.

On Twitter, I saw that @letsv4real finished preparing and passed his last VCAP-NV to earn VCIX6-NV. I ran into him only after seeing his accomplishment. I’ve followed him for a little while and even if we only met in passing, it was neat to put another face to a Twitter handle.

I feel like everyone I follow interacts with @al_rasheed so it was nice to catch up with him for a few moments at the vExpert Party while we stuffed our faces with delicious food. Our interactions were limited, but it’s a Twitter handle to cross off the list.

On the way over to the vExpert Party, I started chatting with @bonzovt about preparing to take my first-ever VCAP exam. Adam shared with me his experiences in taking the exam and DM’d me a link that helped him pass the Design exam. I reviewed that before taking the exam and had MUCH more confidence when the time came (I was still super nervous).

I saw @vdanbarr all over the place – Hackathon, vExpert Party, VMUG Member Party (I think?), vExpert HoL tour… it was fun to catch up with him multiple different times and share in banter. Great face to see again.

I got to catch up with the long-lost Boston VMUG member @j_kolkes in the Hands-On Labs area. He shared with me how it’s been since transitioning to the Mothership and I told him I missed seeing him in Boston. Hopefully, we’ll have a guest-appearance in the future!

Several times over at VMworld, I told people that @arielsanchezmor is a national treasure. The man needs no introduction. I caught up with him for a few moments and he, as always, shared an interest in my personal journey to level-up. I can’t thank him enough for his efforts.

I even happened by @PGelsinger a few times! Pat was kind enough to join us at the vExpert Party where I ran into him as he was coming into the Pinball Hall of Fame. I was able to chat with him for a few moments before everyone else knew he was there. A day later and I happened to rub shoulders with him again at the VMUG Leader Lunch when he sat down next to me. We didn’t exactly have in-depth conversation, but it was pretty cool to exchange pleasantries with him more than once. I still with I’d have snagged a photo with him, though.

There were so many more people that I ran into! I want to share my interactions with all of them with you so that you can find new friends in the community. It’s… it’s just not in the cards for me to keep going right now. Quick shout-out to the handful that I remember but forgot to write about: @runrenchicago, @CTOAdvisor, @DemitasseNZ, @jcefidel, @othertimdavis, @homelaber, @vCommunityGuy, @VMUG_CEO, @cswolf, @wmichel, @VM_FrankM, and @vGonzilla to name a few.

Thank you all for making a memorable VMworld!

One thought on “VMworld 2018 – Recap: Community

  1. Nice post James!
    I’m happy you went “all in” the community this year!
    As I use to say, VMworld is all about community.
    Thanks for the shout-out!
    Looking forward to see you soon!

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