Planning Ahead To Maximize The Value Of Attending VMworld

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The difference between attending as magnificent an event as VMworld with, versus without, a plan of attack is a night versus day experience. I’ve had the good fortune of attending this event as both a speaker and an attendee, and I look back with fondness on the interactions and experience. However, both those visits were in person.  

As I prepared to attend VMworld virtually for the first time, I wondered if my plan of attack would change? Turned out, not so much. However, I did have the revelation that others may benefit from hearing thoughts on how to plan for attending.

Be In The Present State Of Mind To Maximize The Interaction!

If you browse the VMworld website, you will quickly get excited about the amazing lineup of speakers who are equally excited to share their stories. Esteemed luminaries such as Satya Nadella, Microsoft Chairman and CEO, and Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud CEO, have scheduled fireside chats with Raghu Raghuram, VMware CEO, to discuss industry trends shaping the future.

Or perhaps you’d like to hear a personal session from the inspirational Michael J. Fox. Either way, look through the VMworld agenda and read the session abstracts, identify areas of interest and prepare to be “mentally present” while attending to make sure you can maximize the value of your interaction. In other words, don’t imagine you will be able to multi-task!

attend vmworld virtual conference

On The Day

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be “mentally present” versus not just “physically there” – i.e.,block off respective slots so as not to have other meetings booked. Benefit from the additional clarity that focusing fully on the sessions you are attending will provide. In fact, consider taking time off from work, even if only a partial day.  

Once there, don’t be afraid to ask questions during the actual session. Be bold yet professional. Prepare to learn from the speaker as a return for your time investment.

Baseline Trends – Evaluating The Hype Cycle

Have you attended a webinar or talk within the last year where someone used the word “trend” or “prediction?” If so, how has that trend changed over time? Did it plateau, or did it continue further along the growth and hype cycle? How will you know if you don’t baseline and compare? Being able to do this can be critical in terms of helping drive future business decisions.

For example, a key trend across the industry is the rise of B2B enterprise marketplaces as a mechanism for users to quickly purchase ecosystem solutions for their compute platforms. Our own Chief Strategy Officer from Catchpoint, Steve Campbell, will be speaking with VMware’s Shagun Tewari and a few other partner representatives on this VMworld panel discussion on this topic. Steve will also go over our participation as a key design partner in VMware Marketplace’s commerce launch – you don’t want to miss this!

Register: The Rise of B2B Marketplaces and the Role of VMware Marketplace

As another example, take the acceleration of digital transformation initiatives resulting from the sudden work-from-home shift. There’s no doubt that the hyper-distributed, ever-expanding edge has acted as a comet head for other tails to stream behind - compute, 5G, and observability boundary expansion, to name but a few. In this session that Catchpoint previously held with VMware Tanzu Observability, we discussed the distinction between core availability versus reachability. While doing this, we were challenged to take the known boundary of observability and expand it to more than just an IT domain.  

I’m fascinated to see how this idea plays out in relationship to the continued expansion of 5G and the edge. As a matter of fact, there is an entire track dedicated to the edge at VMworld this year! Take the time to see what trends you are interested in overlap with, and/or are fueled by, all that’s happening at the edge.

Two sessions that I’ll be attending within this track are:

  • A Case for Deploying an Elastic CDN Solution on VMware Telco Cloud Platform [EDG2081]
  • Are You Compromising Performance and Capabilities at the Edge? [EDG2700]

Find A New Trend Or Area Of Interest

Now that you’ve baselined and followed up on previous knowledge areas, release all biases and find a new area or topic to explore! Consider the idea of exploring new topics within the same realm, e.g., a new tech stack component in the IT realm.  

At the same time, consider the idea of exploring a realm completely new to you. If you’ve traditionally attended VMworld to remain current with IT trends, consider looking at non-IT, business-related trends.

The reason to look at this part of the plan for attending is to foster better collaboration and communication upon your return. In the 2021 Site Reliability Engineering (‘SRE’) Report, there is an entire section on bridging the IT-to-business communication gap. The idea is to nudge us out of our comfort zone and bring new perspective to the table.

Two sessions that caught my eye:

  • All-In Poker Lessons: Heads Up with David Williams [ENT3470]
  • Achieving Happiness: The Quest for Something New [IC1484]

Learn From What Was Shared; Share What You Learn

You’ll most assuredly want to share the exciting news about the launch of VMware Marketplace transactability – the buying and selling of capabilities. But what else would be shareworthy? What would others, potentially who did not have the opportunity to attend, be interested in hearing about? And also worth considering, how would you adjust your plan with the lens of post-event knowledge sharing in mind?

One of the primary goals of VMworld is to teach. This is a great opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge in a little time. The staff are trained professionals and are prepared to answer your questions. Be prepared to exploit this event for all its worth.  

With this in mind, here are a few tips to help along your planning.  Be sure to:

  1. Register for this free event (previously there was a fee attached).
  1. Add this session to your schedule: The Rise of B2B Marketplaces and the Role of VMware Marketplace (VI1460).
  1. Imagine your experience and then build it with the session scheduler.
  1. Consider upgrading from the free pass to the Tech+ pass.
  1. Have fun and enjoy the experience!
Published on
Sep 30, 2021
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Director of Product Marketing