The #vCommunity

90% is pretty impressive.

Let’s start by providing the official definition of community including the keywords listed below that define the true value of the #vCommunity (2017 blog post\former blog and the list of names has probably tripled in the year since).

  • Unified
  • Common
  • Group
  • Interests
  • Linked
  • Joint Ownership
  • Values

When combined these words summarize the kindness, generosity, friendships I’ve been able to build over the past 2 years. It honestly feels like I’ve known some of these individuals for 10+ years. What a blast it’s been!

Prior to VMworld, I had never heard of EPIC2. While in Vegas, I never got around to finding out for myself what it meant. The definition is comprised of 5 words:

  • Execution
  • Passion
  • Integrity
  • Customers
  • Community

Regardless of where you work, each organization should have a list of core values. In most cases, they all have something in common (one of the characteristics is the word Community). While the entire VMworld experience never ceases to me and I’ve been blessed to attend the last 2 years in Vegas, it’s the spirit of the people that inspires me to improve professionally and personally. This includes fellow attendees, VMware employees, speakers, vendors and the kind folks that answer any question you may have with a smile.

Now back to the #vCommunity and it doesn’t apply just to VMworld but includes other groups, organizations and people from all over the world. In some cases, I have met these individuals in person, we’re simply connected via social media or I have stumbled across a blog post online detailing their personal and\or professional experiences.

For example, I have never met Colin Westwater but his most recent blog post got my attention. While his enthusiasm for securing a new job with Cigna was nice to hear, it was his appreciation and love for the community that dominated the post and rightfully so. All he needed was a chance and was it was provided to him, the rest is history but more importantly he gave back in the same manner in which he received.

Next up and fellow #Hackathon participant is Wouter Kursten. I had never met him prior to VMworld but remained in contact with him leading up to it like many via Twitter. Coming from the Netherlands, he took the time to bring along with him #Stroopwafels to share with everyone. I had the feeling he was a nice guy but his most recent post only confirmed my thoughts. Again, another example of giving back to the vCommunity.

So you’ve never been to VMworld and it’s 5 days away but still don’t have your conference pass in hand, what do you do? You enter a contest like my good friend Tony Gonzalez did and hope for the best. Drumroll……..#WelcomeToThePartyPal. The good people at GIGABYTEServer were kind enough to reward Tony with a free VMworld pass and our fellow community member Tony Reeves opened his doors and allowed Mr. Gonzalez to share his hotel room on short notice. #KindnessMatters and it never fails. Another example of it occurred when Brad Tompkins on short notice via DM was kind enough to transfer my MyVMUG party ticket to Mr. Gonzalez. To hear more about his first VMworld experience, please click here.  Wait until you see his moment under the bright lights. As they say in Hollywood, it’s Lights! Camera! Action!

Side note and while most don’t know this and it just goes to show you it’s a small world after all, I visited family in Salinas, CA after VMworld and never would have imagined Tim Davis (now known as @vtimd) has family in the area which includes his uncle, who was the fire chief for Salinas. Tony Gonzalez also has ties to Salinas and plans to visit the area in October but asked me to snap a few photos of his old stomping grounds while I was in town.

Decision, decisions, decisions….Let’s assume your better half is in town as well. Sure, there are plenty of attractions to see and things to do and in some cases are organized by Spousetivities (which I highly recommend) but sooner or later the options run out. This was a legitimate concern of mine while my wife was in town but thanks to Crystal and Scott Lowe, my concerns vanished because they were both kind enough to allow my wife to join them for dinner. I eventually had the opportunity to meet them later in the week and we spent sometime together and I enjoyed every minute of it. If you’re interested in learning more about Spousetivities, Heather Hickey provided a fantastic summary and it be found here. Credit also goes to Rubrik, Veeam, Datrium, ActualTech Media and MyVMUG for providing the sponsorship needed for the events.

So you’re interested in becoming a Tech Field Delegate but not sure where to start? What better resource than to ask someone that’s attended an event. In my case, I reached out to Ken Nalbone and after he described his experience via DM and through Nick Janetakis’ blog post, I didn’t think twice to register online and I was accepted to attend the VMworld session which I briefly wrote about here. A lot of the credit goes to Stephen Foskett, Tom Hollingsworth, Ben Gage, Rich Stroffolino and anyone else I may have overlooked from Tech Field Day and Gestalt for allowing me an opportunity to join the Monday presentations that included StorageCraft and NetApp. The event was well organized from beginning to end which included registration, communication, agenda, etc. Basically, they covered everything quite well. What does this all mean? They didn’t have to do it but they provided someone like myself from the vCommunity a chance to interact with others while learning from some of the best in the industry. Thank You!

Like Tony Gonzalez, Britton Johnson (yes, Heath Johnson‘s brother) arrived in Vegas on short notice but was given an opportunity he could not pass up. Let’s just say he’s a natural and I give him a ton of credit for stepping up to the challenge as #NSXRovingReporter! Kudos to Katie Holms, Amy Lewis and their staff for granting him this unique experience.

I’d also like to acknowledge Johan van Amersfoort (kick ass logo, jacket and hat), Niels Hagort (sick shirt as well), Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman for taking the time meet with fellow attendees while signing their respective books.

Interested in becoming more involved in the #vCommunity? No Problem! The good people at Zerto including Nick Scuola helped support the #vTrailMap project which included contributions from the Level Up Project, Yadin Porter de Leon and many more. Do yourself a favor and download a copy here and then take a moment to thank everyone involved. Again, they did this for you!

Props go out to Eric NielsenTommy Berry, Kripa Sitaraman, Jenni Gonzalez , Elsa Mayer, Corey Romero and Val Carvalho for continuing to support the vExpert program. I never would have imagined being a part of such a wonderful group of people but it gave me hope and my goal is to give back as often as possible. Your kindness and professionalism is appreciated. Eric – it was a pleasure talking to you during the #vExpert party at the Pinball Museum.

I finally had the chance to meet and also spend some time chatting with some wonderful people and they include John Mark Troyer, Kat Nelson Troyer, Amy White,  Nick Norte, John White, Angelo Luciani, Elaine Morris, Rawlinson Rivera (if you have a spare Lakers ticket, I’m only a phone call away but MJ is still the greatest ever!), Mohit Aron (thanks for taking the time to chat w\ me while I thanked you for supporting the DC VMUG), John Nicholson, Pete Flecha (yes, I’m still pushing the lawnmower each weekend), Matt Callaway (and his soon to be bride), Cody De Arkland, Kyle Ruddy (and his beard), Nigel Hickey, David Stamen, Jad El-Zein, Aaron Buley (you’re an inspiration brother! #BuleyStrong) the wonderful staff at MyVMUG, Pat Gelsinger, Ray O’Farrell and Chris Wolf (for joining the VMUG leaders for lunch), Adam Fisher, Graham Barker, Joe Hughes, Amanda Blevins, Eric Wright Andrew Miller, Kenneth Hui, Mike Wilson, Clint Wyckoff and last but not least my fellow VMUG leader Claire O’Dwyer who traveled all the way from Australia to attend her first VMworld.

I realize there are plenty of examples of giving back and I wish I could acknowledge each and every one of you but you know who you are and I thank you for it. The moral of the story is be happy, give back and you’ll be rewarded for your contributions and dedication to the #vCommunity. Lead by example and others will follow.

As you can see in the featured image, numbers never lie. 90% chose networking over anything else. This is the power of the #vCommunity and it continues to shine bright!

Thank you all for your friendship and I hope to see you again in the near future. Finally and I hope it never gets old, I want to give special thanks to those that introduced me to the #vCommunity back in July of 2017 and they include Jorge Torres, William Lam, Prabhu BarahtiAriel Sanchez Mora, Azarya Shaulov, Chris Williams and Jonathan Frappier. You welcomed me with open arms and I will forever be grateful for it. My hope and I won’t stop until it happens, is to one day join you so I can learn from the best wherever that may be!

“For fate has a way of charting its own course, but before one surrenders to the hands of destiny, one might consider the power of the human spirit and the force that lies in one’s own free will” Lost: The Final Chapter

PSA: October is #Blogtober !





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