I thought I would feedback a review of my recent trip to VMworld with a certain Sweet and Sour affair, come on lets face it every IT event/conference has at least some Sour or bad moments so don’t go saying i’m a grump or a whinger I will keep the pointers short and to the point;
I’ll start with the Sweet…
The venue and event management this year was second to none compared to my other Five previous VMworld US/Europe events, the venue although rather confusing at the start really did have a good amount of space to roam, great coffee facilities, great breakfast facilities with there being always something at least to scoff.
Event wise the logistics of getting 6000 geeks and also additional partners, booth babes and egos into such a small part of a town must be immense, the free Metro travel ticket really was a very good idea and that was way much better than just giving me a coach to squeeze on and off of each day.
Food in the venue was in my view tolerable for such a large event, its hard to cater for such a broad range of fussy eaters (yes @vmackem i mean you :)….Although one exception to this were two kind german visitors to the event who kindly sat down in @vmackem and myself’s chair while we were digging in to the buffet..needless to say we didn’t quite fancy eating with someone as rude to do that in the first place and not at least offer to bugger off!
This is quite obviously huge in todays world of Twitter, facebook and any other medium thats reachable to 16-65 year olds! John Troyer really did lay on a fantastic amount of facility in the Bloggers lounge and every time I went round there he was doing an interview on his VMworld TV booth, shame we didn’t get to really catch up in full.
Suggestion to John on this one would be to maybe provide the interviews in downloadable format for Mobile devices?
People People and more People
Networking is a key benefit of VMworld and it was great to meet some people with real world experiences, problems and strategic views on what is happening within the world of Infrastructure. It was great to meet also some of the VMware team and other key vendor moguls face to face, I rarely get this opportunity so thanks.
Meet the CTO (vExperts only)
This was a great gesture by Steve Herrod to the vExperts, I can imagine after an absolute shocker of a day for someone of such statue and level to be able to do this for an hour or so it was a great touch. Not being able to completely comment on how busy and hectic a CTO must get at these events I can imagine it was hard to slip in. I think a lot of the technical hands on vExperts (and imposters) got more value out of this however I really did appreciate being with both Steve and other vExperts so I can’t thank both Steve and John Troyer enough.
Now the sours, yes I know but it is hard for me to at least give some positive critism to feedback, I have been to Five VMworlds in the past so I’ve seen a lot of change, in 2006 Vmware was not on the Stock market, Virtualisation strategy was a mere fly in the Ointment that is IT infrastructure compared to today and they had far less product set to base content on.
Marketing marketing oh and more marketing
This is quite a critical one and one that I am sure most people I walked about with or sat in sessions with would agree with. It’s difficult to cater for everyone at such an event but to me giving an introduction of a product for 25% of the session before actually starting to hear the real presentation I went to attend was a bit annoying.
Lack of real world response
Maybe I am too bleeding edge when it comes to looking at newer technologies such as vCD, Horizon and others however I found that anyone questions on vCD really was able to give me the answers I wanted and I felt I was getting more or less a generic set of answers. I go to VMworld to obtain pertinent information that I can align to my business, additionally my organisation spend large amounts of money and has given VMworld Five days out of my busy work schedule to obtain this information, if I cannot go back to my org and give them information then unfortunately its a losing battle to be able to attend future events.
I got very little value from this part of the show, vendor stands seemed very generic and the marketing engine seemed to be in full force. Large amounts of presenters seemed to either be tape recorders or drop outs from QVC presenter school, I think I must have seen about a handful of vendors using people to present with absolutely zero consideration or knowledge of what they were presenting on. This works for an online video or product overview but not face to face I’m afraid however good looking they may well have been!
So another year another VMworld and now I have the even harder bit of collating all this information and putting into an aligned organisational strategic roadmap….