Month: August 2019

San Francisco, Here I Come!

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As I compose this, we’re a handful of days from the kickoff of VMworld 2019 US. The Opening Acts panels have been set & published; the VMunderground planning is complete; we’re only scrambling around with last-minute activities.

So, as those of you who are heading to San Francisco to join the fun are wrapping up your own last-minute tasks before the weekend, the team wanted to leave you with some notes for the Sunday activities.

  • Although the Opening Acts ticketing says we’re “sold out”, those are more “bookkeeping” numbers for our planning requirements than a limit or reservation. Don’t worry about having your “ticket” if you got one, and if you didn’t get one, you’re welcome to come in as well. Unless we really do get near the Fire Marshall’s capacity numbers, we’re not turning anyone away.
  • The bar will be open during Opening Acts, but it is unsponsored; if we end up with too much noise being generated at the bar because of people socializing during the panel sessions, we will shut it down in order to show respect to the panelists and attendees who are participating. Please: save your socializing for the party; that’s its purpose!
  • If you received a wristband from one of the sponsors, you’re a VIP guest; that wristband will gain you entrance to the party at 7:30pm, a half-hour earlier than everyone else.
  • If you aren’t a drinker of “adult beverages,” we have worked with the Tabletop Tap House team to create several offerings beyond “soft drinks and water.”
  • Please, please, PLEASE wear your conference badge! We won’t have nametags, and so many of us–as awesome we are with technology–are horrible at remembering names.
  • The United States and the state of California have liquor laws that restrict consumption of alcohol to those 21 years and older. You must be able to prove your age with a government-issue photo ID; driver license and passport are the most common forms. Please make sure you bring that with you, too: if you don’t meet Tabletop’s criteria for “looking old enough,” you’ll have to prove it. Don’t assume that your receding hairline or creeping grey will be sufficient…

Keep an eye on the @vmunderground and @openingacts twitter feed for any important announcements we may need to share as we get closer, but for now, we’re just looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Safe Travels!!!

Judging the Green-ness of the Grasses

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In the US, on average people stay at the same employer for 4.2 years according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. A LinkedIn study found that tech (specifically software) is the industry with the highest job turnover. They say that turnover is driven by increasing demand for workers and compensation. In other words, right now we’re a hot commodity and employers are willing to pay us for our skills.

This Business Insider article gives the average times employees stay at some of the biggest tech companies: Uber 1.8 years, Dropbox 2.1 years, Facebook 2.5 year, Alphabet 3.2 years, Salesforce 3.3, and Apple 5 years.

It makes you wonder: are employees leaving for better opportunities because of their sweet skills, or is burnout pushing them to make a change? How many people leave tech companies because of unfair treatment (and is that the reason for the lack of diversity in our field)? Does it even matter how long you stay at one company?

If you’ve ever wondered about how to balance the right thing for you personally and your family with your residency at an employer, have we got a panel discussion for you! Please join us at Opening Acts at 2 PM for Should I Stay or Should I Go. I’ll lead a discussion with an outstanding panel who have worked at vendors, partners and customers in the VMware ecosystem (and moved between the three). Let’s have a candid discussion on the optics of changing jobs frequently and the risks of staying in a tech role for too long. We’ll sprinkle how the panel has managed this while they searched for the elusive work-like balance and the landmines they encountered.

The panelists include Lindy Collier @indylindy22, Cody Bunch @cody_bunch, Emad Younis @emad_younis, Theresa Miller @24x7itconnect, Phil Sellers @pbsellers, and Jim Jones. This should be a great discussion!

— Gina Minks (@gminks), moderator

What Is Your Worth?

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The average person changes jobs 12 times in their career, averaging out to around once every 4 years. Seem like a lot? Well, in IT it is often even more frequent, but most tech people could not tell you what half of their compensation plan really means to them in the long term. Have you wondered if you should ask for more equity or more salary? Should you be asking about base plus bonus? What’s the bonus based on? Is it actually a sales commission? Is there a retirement matching plan? How much does the cost of healthcare weigh into your total comp plan? If you did get some equity, do you know the difference between a RSU and an option? Do you know what vesting means?

Normally people claim you can’t talk about money – it’s taboo! – but do you care what your colleague makes or do you just want your compensation to be fair? We think it’s about time some of the darker side of these discussions to come into the light. Everyone on the panel has succeeded once or twice and failed in negotiating at least that many times and have all agreed to be an open book. (We do ask you don’t share all the bloody details on Twitter, because that’s just not classy.)

So if any of those questions above were either totally confusing or mildly intriguing, then you should join us for a lively panel around how the group has either succeeded or failed when negotiating the next next move. Or maybe you are just curious what we think success means, it doesn’t matter the reason why you come but hopefully our small session will give you some insight into how you can do better for your family, your career, and in this case most importantly, your wallet.

“Financial Matters in IT Careers” will be featured during Opening Acts at 3p on Sunday, August 25, 2019, and includes Jeramiah Dooley (@jdooley_clt), Jeff Polczynski, Ron Singler (@rsingler_), Jody Tyrus (@jtyrus), John Marrone (@jjmarrone), Josh Atwell (@josh_atwell), and Josh de Jong (@eurobrew) as panelists.

— Michael Letschin (@mletschin), Moderator

Career Compass

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. —Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

When Ferris Bueller spoke those words, he was referring to the adventure he was going to have while skipping a day of school; little did he realize that it would echo life in IT. Most start with a few interests and skills, such as break/fix or helpdesk. As you get involved with other tech, you learn skills accordingly. Maybe learn some PowerShell, networking, storage, or other skills along the way and get into a SysAdmin job. What’s this virtualization stuff? Should you learn about VMware or AWS? How about containers? You ask yourself, “Do I want to learn how to code?” Where is this all going, and how do I know where to focus my energies to advance my career? With all of these options available, it can be very confusing. Understanding the landscape and how to navigate through these varying skills and technologies can be a daunting task. But there is good news: help is available!

On Sunday, August 25th, I will be at Opening Acts 2019, the premier tech community roundtable event before VMworld US in San Francisco. I will be moderating the 1:00 PM panel titled “Where are our careers going?” As you read above, there are many pivots one can make in their career as new technologies and training become available. We will be discussing the future of work in technology, where we see the upcoming trends, and how to gain the skills and abilities to take advantage of the shifting sands of the technology landscape.

We have some amazing panelists lined up from across the industry to lend their perspectives and insights, such as Tracee Edgmon, Stu Miniman (@stu), John White (@johna_white), Steve Kaplan (@stvkpln), Mandy Botsko-Wilson (@virtualMBW), and the incomparable Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe). If you are in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, I hope that you will stop by the Tabletop Taphouse at 1:00 PM and attend our panel at Opening Acts 2019. I look forward to seeing you and engaging in some great conversations.

Tim Antonowitz (@timantz), Moderator

Sponsor Guest == VIP

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Although we already think there are plenty of good reasons for you to talk to our sponsors, here’s another one: sponsor guests will be treated to special “pre-game” access to the party from 7:30pm to 8pm, after which the “main party” begins and anyone with a ticket may be admitted.

That’s right: get cozy with one of our sponsors and not only do you save $10, but you get 30 minutes of private access to the eats, drinks, and conversation before the place gets crazy.