VMWorld for a newbie: What do I want to get out of it?

VMWorld 2015This year I was lucky enough to get the go ahead for VMWorld 2015 and as this will be my first VMWorld, and I am quite excited about it. I have been reading a lot of blogs (old and new) with regards to what to expect while I am there. Something tells me that no matter how much prepping I do, it still won’t be enough.

There are a few things that I do hope to get out of the visit though (aside from endless marketing emails from vendors):

  1. Instructor lead hands on labs: One piece of advice that I have seen posted around a couple of times is to skip the labs if possible as you can do them after the fact on VMWare’s site. I suppose that is true, however this year there are instructor led labs (I’m not sure if this is new or not). I know that I have personally have a much better time learning a new product when being shown it in a classroom environment vs. just reading a manual. Further to that, the students really add to the experiences. If you get a room that turns the lesson into a conversation, then you can take away so much more than just reading paper.
  2. Networking – the people kind: Networking with folks seems to be one of the biggest attractions to the show. Given the size of the event, it tends to be one of the shows where you’ll have the widest selection of folks to chat with. I’m no social butterfly, but when given a chance to talk to fellow IT folks I take it. Some of this will involve the parties (of which there are quite a few – make sure to ask vendors about them), but also take the opportunity to talk with folks at meals, or even presenters after presentations (be considerate of their time though). Be sure to chat with the vendors evangelists as well – these folks tend to be much less of the sales type folks and much more of the ‘hey watch this cool thing’ type folks.
  3. A better understanding of what I am doing right and wrong: As with any organization, if you don’t see what others are doing from time to time you end up with tunnel vision. Being able to see how technologies are being used will not only allow me to see if we are using our investments to their fullest potential, but it may also spark some ideas on how we can get even more value out of purchases. Similarly, talking with vendors in the Solutions Exchange won’t be a bad idea – even if I have no intention of buying their product, just know that it exists and how it works is worthwhile. If in six months I need to solve a problem and I can think back that vendor X had something similar that might work, well then I am already half way there.

Overall I’m chomping at the bit to get there; I’ll be sure to bring a comfy pair of shoes, a good note book, and a battery charger for my phone.

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