As some of you may recall, there was a little bit of a hub bub recently regarding ‘Making VMUG Great Again’; the crux of the issue came down to getting users more involved, particularly on the presenting side. You can read my thoughts on it here, along with some comments that folks left.
Shortly after publishing that post I was contacted by an organizer for the upcoming VMUG Virtual Event and was invited to present a short community session. Well, it was time to put my money where my mouth was, so I accepted (along with the fact that I saw I was listed on the schedule). Side Note: Feel free to join me Tuesday, May 17th at 4:00 CT for my session: Make Your Backups Work For You.
One of the points I highlighted in my above-linked VMUG post was that I have a hard time finding a topic that I think would be useful for peers. With some guidance from VMUG, I was able to choose a topic based on data availability. I settled on this subject because it is something that (hopefully) is present in every organization. Even though I don’t work in a large enterprise environment, I was still able to find something that would be relevant to organizations of all sizes.
This point also ties into something else that occurred recently. The other day I posted this cheat sheet on VLANs and vSphere. I initially wrote it up on a bit of a whim, and truthfully, largely for self-reference. Rather than trying to find my notes the next time I run into this, I thought ‘hey, why don’t I just post it – it might be helpful to others to at some point’.
So where am I going with this? In my mind, this is a fairly entry-level task for what my ‘assumed’ target audience is. Well, the post has blown up (relative to my site). In a 24 hour period, that one post has received more traffic than my site does in a few weeks. I’m still seeing lots of retweets on Twitter days later, and as of this writing, traffic is still growing day by day.
Yes, it makes me feel good, but more so it re-affirms a mantra I have been developing lately: people are always starting out. This doesn’t necessarily mean new to IT, but even just new to a technology, or responsibility. That VLAN post may not be useful to %95 of IT Pros out there, but for the %5 who haven’t done this before or don’t do it often, it is incredibly useful, apparently. There will always be substantial interest in deep-dive sessions. However, there are still plenty of folks who would love primers on any number of technologies or features.
So how does this time back to VMUG? Simple: you don’t need to have advanced knowledge to present something. But if you know something well enough to explain it, even if it seems ‘entry level’ to you, there is a good chance that others will learn something new. So, look at your daily tasks, figure out what ‘common tasks’ you don’t do often, and write about it or talk about. If they aren’t common to you, then they likely aren’t common for others. There is a good chance that there will be peers that will be eager to listen and learn.
I am by no means a seasoned presenter, but I am always willing to share my experiences. If you have ever considered presenting at a local user group but weren’t sure how to start, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’ll help however I can.