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VMworld 2017 Tips

by on under blog
4 minute read

VMworld US 2017 will be only my third. I’ve spent my first two years trying to maximize what I could get out of VMworld, and I only scratched the surface.

If you’ll be joining me in Vegas, here’s my advice. From the eyes of a relative newbie, of course.


General tips

There are lots of other blogs talking about the logistics, so I’ll spare you. (Highly recommend cotton/polyester blend socks and undershirts, though.)

In my opinion, the most important thing you can do at VMworld is to connect with people. I say this as an introvert, my friends. Ask questions. Learn. Talk about your passions, so others know. And, you all may not be on Twitter, but figure out how to connect with your new buds to ask questions later in the year, as you think of them.

I work for a customer. I go to conferences 2-3 times a year, and virtually never travel for work otherwise. USE THIS TIME WISELY!

You can do other cool stuff too; this post will have some events I’ll be most interested in. But your priority shouldn’t be filling your schedule with sessions, or trying as many Hands-On Labs as possible. Sessions are recorded, and the HOL website is a thing.

Making new contacts is the main course. Supplement with side dishes after you know how much space is left on your plate.

The VMware {code} hackathon

You, your small team, and four hours to build something badass…or fail at everything except making people laugh during your presentation at the end. The choice is yours.

The hackathon at VMworld 2016 was my favorite event, full stop. The good news: It seems that feedback was well received! Alan Renouf, William Lam, and the VMware {code} team are hard at work as we speak making this year’s event bigger and better.

The magic happens Monday night. This year, there will be four expert-led, warm-up sessions at 18:30, with the main event running from 20:00 to midnight. You should enroll in the Schedule Builder(!), and then join or create a team on the spreadsheet.

More details: VMworld Hackathon Is Back.

Ask the Experts

Yo. These sessions are legit. I walked in with the most basic questions about vCenter migrations last year, and Adam Eckerle is sitting right across the table, patiently hearing me out and offering next steps to investigate.

I really like that this is offered. Nobody is an expert across the seven million different VMware products. Unless you are going to VMworld with exactly zero questions about anything (…why?), figure out how to hit up the VMware experts when you can.


It wouldn’t be a blog post if I didn’t get real weird on you at least once.

GeekWhisperers #128 had Aaron Delp talking about engineering your time at conferences. It’s really interesting; you should give it a listen and at least consider his suggestions. The main takeaway:

You’re in charge of the Hallway Track.

Make a list of people you’d like to meet, reach out before the conference, and ask if they’ll have time to meet. It’s that simple, haha. Some won’t have time, and that’s cool. If you don’t have a list of people you want to connect with, figure out what you’re most interested in, and identify events where like-minded people will be. (*cough*, *cough*, hackathon)

We’re in technology because we love to learn. New people know things you don’t. Expand your network!

The vBrownBag/VMTN presentations

Let me make this sound as much like a daytime TV court show as possible:

Real people. Real problems. Real solutions.

My schedule will probably have more vBrownBag/VMTN Community Tech Talks than traditional VMworld sessions. I’m very happy with the decision to include the VMTN talks on the content catalog and schedule builder this year, for they will finally get the attention they deserve.

Really though. Community Tech Talks. <–.

I’m a little biased, though, because…

I’m presenting on Vester

Come heckle me on Wednesday the 30th at 11:45 am!

Vester: vSphere Config Management with PowerCLI

But actually don’t heckle me, just Justin Sider ;)

So, see you there?

I’ll be there. You’re reading my blog. I don’t bite, promise.

Register for VMworld US 2017

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