From VMworld Veteran to EMC World Newbie

Hello Rimmergram Readers.

A short bio to get you started: My name is Liselotte Foverskov and I’m a System administrator at Danish Ship Finance in Copenhagen, Denmark. I’m a VMUG Leader in Denmark, vExpert, PernixPro, Psychotherapist and social introvert. I’ve attended 8 VMworlds starting in 2006 in Los Angeles.

I just got back from a great experience at EMC World. Let me start by congratulating EMC for a very successful event. I can’t imagine how much energy and hard work is used in getting everything running so smoothly.

I’m happy I get to share my experience with all of you. Thank you so much for letting me write on your blog, Jane.

EMC World this year was held at The Venetian, Las Vegas (same venue as VMworld 2008 and 2011). If you haven’t been there, this place is HUGE. The walk from my hotel room to the General session was 1 km and that’s in the same hotel. They have a mini Venice complete with St. Marks Square. I don’t think I have ever walked this much in my entire life. My Samsung Galaxy s5 has a Pedometer, and it shows I have walked 51 km in 4 days.  I’m ready to do a Marathon! What makes that even stranger is I had days I didn’t even go outside for a breath of fresh air.

The look and feel of the conference is pretty similar to VMworld. EMC World is a smaller conference (*wink wink*) with around 13,000 attendees; compared to VMworld which had more than 22,000 attendees in San Francisco last year.

There are Breakout sessions, General Sessions, Super Sessions, Solutions Arcade, Hands on Labs (vLabs) as we know it from VMworld.

Breakout Sessions

I liked that EMC World had fixed time slots for breakout sessions. That made it easier to plan your day. Sometimes at VMworld it is hard to reach your next session or priorities sessions as they start at different times.

Hands on Labs

At VMworld the HoL area is really big and very popular. Usually there is a line to get into the HoL area. EMC World has vLabs  – but they are not as popular as at VMworld. I can’t complain as it was to my benefit. I didn’t wait more than 1 minute to get started on my vLabs.  I wonder why EMC World attendees don’t benefit more from this great offer, to have hands on experience with new products?

I dedicated Wednesday to do a lot of Labs and unfortunately vLabs had some networking issues. I had to restart my labs several times – take a break and come back.

The Community

As a VMUG Leader it was pretty interesting to be the new girl. I did feel very welcome at EMC World and I got to meet up with people I know from Twitter together with new and old friends.

I realized I take a lot of things for granted when I attend VMworld. It might not come as a surprise that what we have in VMUG is unique. We are so very lucky to have a VMUG headquarters to support the VMUG Leaders in reaching new members, arranging lunches, meet ups and receptions during the conference. VMUG Leaders together with members make a lot of noise on Twitter during VMworld. There is always something happening.

EMC Denmark was very kind to invite all Danes to join them for a beer at a bar every night which was a really nice gesture, and gave the opportunity to network with Danish EMC peers.

I hope when you are a newbie at VMworld that you know where to find your local VMUG and where to go to find the international VMUG. We always have a booth at the Solutions Exchange and usually get a shout out during the keynote.

After being the new girl, I’m going to make an even greater effort at welcoming new people to the VMUG   party. The whole experience of conferences like these is so much better when you are amongst friends. We (the whole community) have a great responsibility not to be closed off.  Everybody is welcome to join in and socialize. Really. We want you to show up!

( vHappy VMUG Leader selfie from VMworld 2013: Craig Waters, Liselotte Foverskov, Angelo Luciano and Jane Rimmer)

Solutions Arcade

The vendor area seemed smaller and quieter than VMworld. It is of course focused on EMC products and EMC booths took a lot of room at the Solutions Arcade. I’m not sure I liked that. One of my favourite things at VMworld is walking around talking to vendors and all the smaller startups.

The Party

Wednesday evening we had a ‘Customer Appreciation Party’ from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The band of the evening was Imagine Dragons. They did a great performance and everybody was singing along. We should’ve had more than 2 hours to party. This is an opportunity to celebrate a great event!

VMworld 2013 in San Francisco was at least 4 hours and featured Imagine Dragons and Train. That was without a doubt the best VMworld party E.V.E.R!

UKVMUG and VMUGDK

I feel very lucky to know Jane and the rest of the UK Leaders very well. We started planning our conferences in the beginning of 2014. This year we’re trying to do something new, we’ve planned our conferences two days apart and hoping this will make it easier to attract all the international speakers.

Let me tell you this – I’m a professional stalker. This is not to scare you off or anything (Mental picture: Jack Nicholson in The Shining!) but getting speakers is not just always an e-mail away.

<JR: I had to add this pic Liselotte!>

At EMC World I attended Area 52 keynote on Monday featuring the ever passionate Chad Sakac together with vSpecialist Jonas Rosland. I was early to get one of the front row seats. When the keynote ended I threw myself up in front of the stage – but Chad was nowhere to be found. I hung around the area like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber Concert.

I was in luck because 5-10 minutes later Chad came out and I jumped in front of him to say hi. I was lucky he recognized me from our 2013 Nordic VMUG conference. This guy is always super friendly and loves the VMUG community – and we love him! Chad really wants to speak at both conferences and I’m hoping his schedule will allow his visit in November 2014. Fingers crossed. Jane and I will keep you posted.

(Picture of Chad Sakac, Liselotte Foverskov and Jonas Rosland)

This was my personal experience of attending EMC World for the first time. How was your first EMC World or VMworld?

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VMworld – Defy Convention – in a Convention Centre!

I find this year’s ‘theme’ slightly paradoxical; we’ll be stuck in a convention centre for 4 days defying convention – yay right!

But, seriously, I’m looking forward to this 10th VMworld maybe more than any other prior event.  I was lucky enough to attend the very first VMworld 2004 in San Diego and be part of the global VMware marketing team that organised it.  I didn’t attend VMworld 2005 in Las Vegas, but since then have been at every US and EMEA VMworld, other than Copenhagen in 2011.  The content, the sponsors, the parties, they’ve all grown and morphed into an incredible yearly ‘pilgrimage’.

There’s been many blog posts about recommended sessions, advice for first-time attendees and which parties to attend, all of which are great reads.  For me, this year is about going as a VMUG Leader and SoMe attendee.  In all previous attendances I’ve been with a client and always worked the Solutions Exchange.  I will be in the Solutions Exchange this year at certain times on the VMUG booth (#1721), encouraging attendees to join the VMUG community and to meet with many existing members.

I’m looking forward to the vBrownbag TechTalks, hanging in the community area in the Hang Space and also to the vExpert daily podcast hosted by Michael Letschin.  It’ll be great to chat face-to-face with many of the tweeps I converse with in Twittersphere and the Hang Space will be the place to catch up with them all.

A track that is close to my heart is the Women of Purpose agenda.  Three dedicated VMware employees – JJ DiGeronimo, Sonal Patel and Kristin Heisner – host the main event, which is a two hour session on Monday 26th at the Marriott, where they bring together a number of female executives from some of VMware’s customers.  The agenda is always engaging and informative, so I’m very much looking forward to this part of my itinerary.

Other ‘women of purpose’ I’m looking forward to seeing again at VMworld are my good friends Susan Gudenkauf, Liselotte Foverskov and Lauren Malhoit, as well as Amy Lewis, Gina Minks and meeting Kasia Lorenc for the first time.

The community awesomeness will start for me on Saturday 24th when Susan and I will continue our VMworld ‘bubbles’ tradition and then head over to vBeers Tweetup at the Chieftan organised by the wonderful Simon Seagrave.

So I’ll be defying convention by continuing to immerse myself in the VMware community, looking forward to seeing many of you in a few weeks!

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What is the Value of Brand “You”?

(This post first appeared on vdestination.com on 7th June)

As technology users, implementers, evangelists, etc. we are bombarded with brands from vendors in our sector and, as consumers, we are continuously targeted by brands tempting us to buy their products.  But have you ever considered yourself as a brand? Recently there has been a swathe of community folks being snapped up by vendors. This is reminiscent of the late 2000’s when EMC scooped up a number of high profile people to join their vSpecialist team (now disbanded though). The likes of Scott Lowe and Simon Seagrave, who were then both independent bloggers and author in Scott’s case, got hired by EMC.  Both had (and still do!) a very high profile within the community and that, I am sure, helped them get their new roles.  The value of your brand can really help you in your chosen career. Or even change your career direction.

I was privileged to recently be invited to a webinar hosted by JJ DiGeronimo, Global Director, Cloud and SDDC at VMware.  Although JJ’s mentoring is aimed at women, the messages she delivered are pertinent to all of us looking to specialize, and be recognized for that specialism.  She spoke about how to use social media to advance your career and gave guidance, from her own experience, on how to deploy social media platforms to raise your profile in your chosen area of specialism.  JJ identified cloud as an area she wished to get involved in and after researching the area, she started to write and post about cloud.  At that time if you searched cloud on LinkedIn she came out on the first page out of nearly 1 million results! She had previously applied for a role and was not successful but subsequently was head hunted by VMware for her current role due to her activity in social media around cloud! Given my focus of marketing in virtualization, I was then tempted to search Virtualzation Marketing on LinkedIn and was REALLY pleased to be listed number 2 out of nearly 79,000 results! If you’re interested the replay of her webinar is here.

And it’s not just about Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc., what about raising your profile by submitting a speaking slot at your local VMUG?  If you’re not a member of a local VMUG, shame on you!  You can sign up here, it’s free to join and it’s free to attend your local meetings.  As a co-leader of the London VMUG here in the UK, I’ve seen some of our members really grow professionally by starting out speaking in front of their peer group, finding their feet as a speaker and, in some cases, getting head hunted either by other organizations or by vendors.

You can also attend unconferences, such as CloudCamp – here you have the opportunity to engage in lightening talks and participate in attendee panels; it’s a really unique format and one that I personally learn a lot from when I get the chance to attend.

Clearly, it’s not just about your career, many of us choose to blog, be involved with VMUGs or whatever because we’re passionate about it.  Look at the number of community peeps designated vExperts this year, over 580 (the blog states 581, but I think with a few late entries, it’s up to 583 🙂 ), all these people contribute to the cloud and virtualization community over and above their ‘day job’.  While some feel the higher number devalues the accolade, I feel as the community grows the number of people giving more back will increase, thus the number of vExperts will increase.  But, as with any relationship, don’t expect to get anything out if you don’t put anything in – the power of the VMware community, in my opinion, is that so many people do give back so much just due to their passion, period.

So next time you post on Twitter, or blog about your findings in your VMware implementation, just remember who might be watching or reading, they could be your next employer.  That is the value of Brand You!

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AdaptingIT Podcast – Women in Tech

 

When Lauren Malhoit asked me to provide input into a new podcast idea she had around women in tech, I thought it was a great idea.  After a few discussions with her and Mike Laverick, Lauren launched her podcast at the beginning of this year.  During one of our chats, we were discussing what the podcast should be called.  We bandied many names around, some sensible, some not so sensible.  I can’t even recall now who suggested Women with Dongles (probably me, am good at bringing the level of the conversation down to gutter level LOL), but obviously that one wasn’t going to fly 🙂  However, I said to Lauren if she interviewed me, that should be the name of my podcast.

Well, I’m proud to say Lauren DID interview me, and the podcast was published yesterday and I’m delighted that she has named the podcast “Women with Dongles”.  There is absolutely no relevance in our discussions to dongles, but the title just makes me giggle. We chat about how I got into IT, specifically virtualization, VMUG leadership, the community and much more. I hope you enjoy our discussions and I hope that this podcast will be interesting to both guys and gals, but more importantly inspire more women to get into technology.  It’s an awesome sector and one that can bring a huge amount of job satisfaction and, in my experience, can develop long-term friendships.

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AdaptingIT – Women with Podcasts

As I ‘predicted’ in my last post, an exciting new podcast has just launched, compliments of Lauren Malhoit (@malhoit).  Her podcast vision is:

“My hope is to bring you some great information on all subjects surrounding Information Technology from some of the best women in the business.  Some of the episodes will be very technical while others will focus on some of the careers surrounding technology such as media marketing, tech marketing, management, and PR.  Please enjoy!”

Lauren’s first podcast with Susan Gudenkauf (@susangude) has just been published and is definitely worth a listen to understand how she has achieved success in the complete face of adversity. Lauren also shares some great tips for memorising key details for passing technical exams!

The podcast is available here or on iTunes

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