Here I am on board the flight heading to the pinnacle event in the IT world, VMworld 2014. Yes, that’s a big claim, but when 23,000+ of our closest friends converge on Moscone, it becomes an event to be reckoned with. Then again, I am biased.
This year I wanted to set out some personal goals for myself. I have not written these down prior to the conference in years past, but instead, I’ve usually just gone with some general idea of what I wanted to get out of the show. And as expected, each year I’ve come back feeling like I probably missed out on some great opportunities to learn or network. Make no mistake – I have always left with massive new knowledge and experience to take back to help both my company and my own understanding of virtualization and cloud technologies. But this year, I intend to make this even more purposeful by having very specific goals, SMART goals with which to keep me on track to maximize my experience. After all, the conference is several days of absolutely obscene amounts of exposure to technology, training, labs, people, events, vendors, giveaways, swag, parties, meetups, tweets, blogs, etc. There is a massive amount to take in in such a short period of time. How does one navigate through it all?! By having goals – what specific objectives do I have? So, without further ado, here are my goals for the week:
1. Get registered — It’s always important to start off with an easy one!
2. Learn three new partner strategies to spur our virtualization business
This is my second year attending VMworld as a partner. Last year, I think I was just getting used to making the transition from customer to partner status and probably missed some of the opportunities for leveraging the partner resources. I plan to hit Partner Day strong and glean as much as I can from that side of the community.
3. Discuss partnership opportunities with at least five vendors
My employer is a small consulting organization and we’re looking to expand our data center offerings this year. I’ve already started having discussions with a number of vendors about possible partnerships. This week, I’ll be solidifying the relationships already established with some key vendors and looking to speak with some new ones
4. Schedule a meeting with at least two of those vendors
This is a more specific action item than the previous one. I expect to sit down and talk about more immediate steps into moving into a partner relationship with a couple of the key vendors we’re currently looking at.
5. Publish at least one blog post each day
Well, here’s a post for Saturday! Off to a great start! I’m really excited about getting my blog site off the ground this year and I’m so looking forward to sharing with the community some of my perspective of the awesomest tech event of the year. So, here goes…
6. Deliver a TechTalk presentation
Super excited about this one! I am confirmed to take the Community Stage in the Hang Space this year. I’ll be sharing my experience about playing around with the automation capabilities of vCenter Orchestrator as it integrates with vC Ops. It’s been a whirlwind trying to prepare for this, but I’m excited I have the opportunity to share on this platform.
7. Publish blog post to supplement TachTalk presentation
Since the TechTalk is limited to about 10 minutes of actual speaking time, there’s no way I can cover what I feel needs to be covered in such a short time. So I decided to put together a blog post to accompany it. Not sure if I’ll have this ready prior to the session, but that’s a goal too.
8. Meet 20 new people
Each year, I meet lots of people. I never know how many and I don’t want this to appear like I have a target on each person I sit next to in order to meet my quota for this goal. What I do want to do is to make an extra effort this year to meet the people around me. I will try not to keep a count so this doesn’t come across superficial, but I’ll know at the end of the week if I feel like I established enough new contacts. And truly, it is all about what can I do for my neighbor, brother, or sister in the community.
9. Meet five influential folks I have not yet met
I often shy away from going up and talking to the big names in the industry. Partly out of my shyness, but also partly out of wanting to give them space. Some of these folks are rock stars and I never want to be that guy who pesters them while they’re minding their business, just so I can shake their hand. But, I’m also encouraged and emboldened by all the comments shared in blogs and tweets about just saying Hi to these guys and how they look forward to meeting others in the business.
10. Learn NSX from the masters
With my networking chops strengthened this year on my Cisco cert pursuit, I’m even more eager to check out the SDN side of things. I’ll be sure to check out a session or two by the latest double VCDX’s, Jason Nash and Chris Wahl. I also plan to pop in to see the head master himself, Martin Casado.
11. Sharpen skills around automation and management
After spending the last few weeks fumbling around Orchestrator, I’m determined to get enlightened on the ways of the automation Jedi. I’m on the wait list for the highly acclaimed Alan Renouf and Luc Dekens session on Thursday. I expect there to be enough attrition from the VMworld party and from folks checking out early to free up some space. And with my deep delve into vC Ops this past year, I have to hit up some vC Ops sessions. And then of course there’s vCAC, and… too much to take in!
12. Learn design mojo from the experts
I’ll be preparing my run for VCAP5-DCD over the next few months. It’ll be good to get some expert advice from the VCDXperts themselves!
13. Make it to breakfast each day
This essentially means getting up early enough each day and starting the day right. Last few years, I’ve stayed up too late at times and made it out the door just barely in time to hit the General Sessions. I’m determined to be much more disciplined this year which also means being smart with sleep time.
14. Join Scott Lowe each morning for some prayer and reflective time
I love that Scott is doing this. Mon-Wed at 7:45, he’ll be out in Yerba Buena Gardens to have a time of prayer before the day begins (details on his blog site). I love even more that he’s not afraid to put his faith out there. I’m excited to take part and support an activity like this… and not to mention, start the day truly preprayered!
15. Brisk exercise each day
I just mean low key exercise – probably some pushups or a brisk walk. I’ll need to do something to take care of the body during what is typically a brutal week of endurance.
16. See at least one thing I’ve yet to see in San Francisco
I’ve already been to Golden Gate, Coit Tower, Embarcadero, the Wharf, Sea Lions, AT&T Park, the Trolley… How about something off the beaten path? Actually, I might not get any significant sightseeing time in this year since I plan on hitting Pure’s mini-conference, Evolve, after the close of VMworld. I’m sure there will be some social gathering after that and then… I have a 6:30AM flight out of SFO in the morning. Talk about brutal!
So that’s it! Shouldn’t be too difficult, right? It’s always good to aim high, but still keeping it realistic. I think I can hit the majority of these if I just stay on point. So to help with that, here’s one more goal:
17. Look at this list each day to stay focused.
Remember, there are “No Limits” to what we can achieve when we put our minds to it. Hope everyone has a very productive, enlightened and enjoyable week!