The Journey to #ExvExpertIn 2013, I applied for the title, but was rejected. And rightly so; I had done nothing more than write a few boring blog posts and RT someone else's tweets. Not exactly what you'd call a "contribution to the virtualization community." But that rejection set off a hell of a series of events. Some serious networking ensued. I found a voice for my blog, and started writing posts that I actually liked reading. Sometimes, you liked them, too.
In 2014, I applied for the title again, and was accepted into the program. And the year I spent as a vExpert was exciting, and punctuated with numerous opportunities to learn about upcoming products and solutions. More networking, more social media activity. It was a great year, to be certain.
But something occurred to me at VMworld last year. I was navigating the circus that is the Solutions Exchange, doing my best to avoid eye contact with the over-caffeinated booth staff. Swag hunters with their bags, collecting all manner of tchotchkes and punching their raffle cards for a chance to win an iPad Air. Walking billboards throwing dice for a chance to win a Tesla. Mention "I'm a vExpert" and the amount of swag you walk away with doubles. But aside from coffee presses that no one needs and yet another fleece with your Twitter handle embroidered on the breast, what's the point?
"Early access to new products," you say.
"An invite to the VCDX / vExpert party at VMworld," you say.
"That little vE badge for VMTN," you say.
Independence MattersI'm an independent consultant, but I was losing sight of that independence when I aligned myself so closely with one particular vendor. Most clients I work with don't know what the vExpert program is, so they certainly aren't impressed by that credential. In fact, the only people who are impressed... are vExperts. The same is true for #CiscoChampions; I let that one go, too.
Membership in a group of like-minded practitioners is certainly rewarding, and fun. I'm not suggesting otherwise. I'm just calling out this program, and the others like it, for cultivating an ever-growing community of clones.