Between work and planning my next Southwest Ontario Veeam User Group (SWOVUG) meeting, blogging has been tough lately. The good news is I have about a dozen notes of varying detail on things that I need to do / blog about. So expect a slew of content soon.
In the meantime, I had a great chat yesterday about getting a sponsor lined up for my next SWOVUG meeting. Nothing is set in stone, but I am aiming for mid-August, pre-VMWorld. Once we confirm the date and location, I’ll be sure to post more details, but it is shaping to be a great event. The tricky thing about sponsorship for a user group is ensuring they (the sponsors) are relevant to the subject matter. In this case, I’ve found a Veeam Elite Alliance Partner who is excited to help out a community event. I’m looking forward to what they’ll bring to the event … more details to follow soon.
In other news, I was completely shocked to find out that I was voted Best New Blog over at the Top vBlog 2016 list. If you aren’t familiar with the list, it is a community-driven poll, led by Eric Siebert. Kudos to Eric for taking the time and initiative to put this together.
You may find conflicting opinions on the list, including that it is just a popularity contest. For what it’s worth, I am thrilled to be included on it in any form. In my eyes, it’s not rank that’s important, it’s knowing that folks actually visit my blog and find it useful. What surprised me is that I didn’t bother with any sort of promoting of my blog for votes.
Lastly, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately. It’s been a crazy year for me: I attended my first VMWorld last year, which was a real game-changer for me. I’ve always loved community-driven events, but I never felt like I was part of the community. VMWorld changed that. Yes there are sessions, and you can learn a ton. But, the peers (many who are now what I would consider friends) that I met encouraged me to step up my game. Since then:
- I started SWOVUG
- I was named a VMware vExpert earlier this year
- I co-presented at my first VMUG
- I’ve been invited on a couple of podcasts (and ‘audio-bombed’ one)
- I was humbled & honoured with being selected as a Veeam Vanguard 
- Invited to present at a VMUG Online event
- And now named Top New vBlog
It’s been a great year that has involved stepping outside of my comfort zone, making new acquaintances, building stronger relationships with existing peers, and international travel.
So, what’s my point? All this stemmed from stepping outside my comfort zone and getting involved with the community. I have said it many times: the more you put in, the more you get out. I do this because I love helping people, and with that short list above in mind, it has been far more rewarding that I could have ever imagined.
 The Veeam Vanguard program is truly an exception program. The value that comes from it, for both Veeam and the Vanguards, is unbelievable … that could be (and may be) a whole other post at some point