Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's the People, Stupid

It's my second VMworld, and it couldn't be more different from my first appearance in 2012.

The first time around, I built a schedule of technical sessions and stuck to it. Ok, maybe I missed one because I didn't realize that travel time between building was deceptively... deceptive. But I really just stuck to the sessions. Sure, I hit up the big party Wednesday (to watch Jon Bon Jovi do whatever it is that he does nowadays). But I was naive to the real draw of this event.

It's the people, stupid.

Stroll around the Solutions Exchange and chat with the SEs and engineers who actually helped develop the solutions. You'll run into all kinds of true technology experts in random places (for example, I ran into Stephen Foskett, Tom Hollingsworth, and Chris Wahl (in that order, mind you) after the #vBrownBag opening acts wrapped up in City View). And wouldn't you know it? Everyone loves to make time to chat a bit, in spite of being terribly busy themselves. Plus I got to spend the afternoon catching up with Adi Lutvich, my occasional co-worker and a hell of a virtualization, storage, and networking engineer who will be cajoled into tweeting and blogging before the week is over.

After just one afternoon, I'm convinced that, while the conference sessions are clearly incredible opportunities to learn and develop your professional skills, it's the social networking events, put on by members of the community, that are the main attraction. (Yes, that was a lot of commas.)

I'm off to #VMunderground now to continue my streak of meeting and chatting with people that I've only interacted with on Twitter. See you there?