Welcome to #Blogtober

Happy #Blogtober, everyone! In this #Blogtober post, I want to give a brief description of exactly what #Blogtober is and drop in some details on how I intend to use it. I hope to include an overview of ideas (so I don’t forget and so that you can hold me accountable) that I’ll post over the month. Big should out to Matt Heldstab who encouraged me to participate. For more info directly from the source head over to blogtober.net.


What is #blogtober?

#Blogtober is a commitment for rookie and accomplished bloggers alike. The goal of #blogtober is pretty simple – create five blog posts in the month of October. In announcing the program, Matt lists the following three reasons –

  • #Blogtober gives new bloggers visibility in the community and issues a challenge to be held accountable to
  • We’re in conference season – There are many different conferences in the industry (VMworld, MS Ignite, etc.) that can provide blog topics
  • vExpert 2017 – Blogging can help earn vExpert status by sharing your knowledge with the community


To me, #blogtober is a more consumable version of #vdm30in30 which takes place in November. #vdm30in30’s goals are very much the same, but the requirements are loftier – 30 posts in the 30 days in November.  I want to participate, but I just don’t have that much content… yet!


How do I plan to use #blogtober?

That’s where #blogtober comes in. To me, this program will give me an easier, more consumable challenge. Five posts over the course of a month allows me to get into the mindset of blogging while also allowing me time to research how to start thinking like a blogger. I want to post technical content. I get so much useful information from others in our community. I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of what I post will end up being about soft-skills or other observations. We’ll see what happens…


What topics are you going to cover, James?

I had a list of ideas that I wrote down specifically so as to not forget them. I’m pretty sure I threw it away. Great job, self!

What I remember:

  • Home Lab Setup – A description of my initial home lab setup followed by config changes and difficulties making said changes. Likely to be two separate posts.
  • DevOps – A discussion on  company culture and Deming’s 14 Points of Management. I may drop DevOps out of this. I’m not an authority on it and it feels buzzword-y. Open to suggestions.
  • VMUG – A discussion about how VMUG has influenced my career.
  • Project Work – A retrospective of a to-be-completed project (pending approval).
  • Maybe more if I can keep going?

Also, I’m open to ideas! If you think something is worth  expanding on, please let me know.


Want to get involved?

It’s October 3rd and there’s still plenty of month left! At the time of this writing, there’s approximately 65 people who are participating in the program! If you want to challenge yourself and/or get more involved in the community, this is a great starting place.

Step 1 – Head over to www.blogtober.net and comment on the blog post.
Step 2 – Write some neat stuff and post it on your blog (acquire a blog, if necessary… then blog about it!)
Step 3 – Throw the post out to the Twitterverse with the #blogtober hashtag

It’s really that simple.

Here’s to hoping that I can stick with five more posts for the month of #Blogtober (remember, this post doesn’t count!).

Recovering from VMworld

For my first blog post, I want to go over how I’ve recovered from VMworld this past week. That sentence may be a little strange for most considering I didn’t actually get to attend this year. Once the event started and Twitter exploded, I felt pretty down on myself for not going. I’ve been working to go for the last three, but haven’t managed to actually make it yet. I WILL be there next year (I hope)!

VMworld for me was lived entirely vicariously. I spent much of it glued to my computer screen reviewing the play-by-play that the Twitterverse was providing. Even though I wasn’t there, I felt energy and excitement through my computer screen.

Yet, what I found interesting is the driving force for my excitement. I fully anticipated being amped about new product announcements, news from Dell, and eventually streaming the sessions I missed by being two thousand or so miles away. Instead, I found myself buried in an almost-overwhelming sense of community. Tons and tons of Tweets from attendees about what they were doing, who they were doing it with, and likely looping in someone that should tag along. Even better was that those at the front of the company are completely supportive of the community and the need for it to grow. It was an incredibly refreshing realization – even more so when I recognized that I can play an important (albeit minute) part in that community if I so choose.

In that vein, there are two videos that I saw over the course of last week which really drove home community, the support behind it, and the ability to participate in it. The first was an interview with Brad Tompkins (@VMUG_CEO) on theCUBE (@theCUBE). I’ve watched it several times now and continue to gain inspiration from the passion with which Brad talks about VMUG. He talks about growing VMUG at a local level by engaging with energized leaders and local volunteers, how people see this energy, and how this attracts growth of the community naturally. Later in the video, co-host John Troyer (@jtroyer) explains, “You really become better at your job when you’re part of the community.” He later follows up with, “Crazy, amazing things happen when you get involved with VMUG.” Check out the entire video here. It’s well worth the time.

With a clear mind that I needed to start doing more, I reviewed a quick video tweeted by #vBrownBag (@vBrownBag) about community involvement. The session, led by Tim Davis (@ALDTD), is a quick, sub-10 minute video that talks about different ways to contribute. I learned that there’s a list of the Top 100 vExperts for me to look at (which then gives me a bunch of blogs to read)! Overall, Tim makes it sound much less daunting to being an engaged member in the community. Check out the whole video here.

I’m not sure I can say that I’ve actually recovered in the week following VMworld. I’m still feeling the after-effects of the event, but not in a negative way. I didn’t have to catch up on emails. I didn’t miss a bunch of meetings. Instead, I’m stuck with a bit of a nagging feeling that I need to give back. I’m stuck with the inspiration of seeing hundreds upon thousands of people being energetic and excited.

It’s time to become a part of something, learn, and do great things!