Well, if you didn’t call 2020 a “dumpster fire,” what would you call it? We saw the COVID-19 Pandemic force the cancellation of just about every group event in the industry—those “lucky” few who had events in January or early February being the exception—with our cornerstone VMworld events included.
As I write this, the US dates that were originally on the calendar have come and gone, while the EU dates will soon be in the same shape.
But the industry responded to the crisis in many ways, and for our conferences, we leveraged the global Internet and switched to online/virtual conferences. Some went well, some…not so well.
VMworld 2020 will join the ranks of the Virtual Conferences in little more than a week, and VMware hopes to have learned from the examples—both positive and negative—of the ones that preceded it.
Naturally, that left the VMunderground team in a bit of a pickle: what will be our approach to our normal activities that kick off VMworld US?
In short, we decided to punt on the party. I don’t know about you, but we’re totally burned out on Zoom/Teams/whatever virtual meetings. If a virtual meeting doesn’t have legit value—business, career, education—coming out of it, forget it. We had some success during the first months of the “shelter at home” orders by doing some Trivia Nights, but even those got old…
But we thought we’d be able to pull of OpeningActs as virtual panel sessions. Those would bring “legit value” in one of the categories I mentioned (or so we hope!), and by partnering with Nick, Jeramiah, and Jason over on the Orbital Jigsaw Discord, we can have some of the same interaction, not just with panelists, but with attendees as well.
We have a nice lineup of sessions, and will also be hosting some content from our sponsors. We have all the schedule/agenda information on a landing page that will be updated regularly, whenever new details need to be communicated; we’ll also use Twitter (@opening_acts) to broadcast when an update was made, and—space permitting—what change needs attention.
The sessions will be live-streamed to both our YouTube channel and the Discord server; we highly encourage you to register with the Orbital Jigsaw Discord server, because that’s the only mechanism for interaction that we’ll support. If you just want to watch the YouTube livestream, that’s fine and very much your choice to make, but we’ll have moderators, audience interaction, etc., over on Discord. In fact, there’s a whole bunch of cool community stuff that’s going to happen on the Discord during the VMworld run, not just OpeningActs. There will be “watch parties” during the keynotes, roundtables, meeting rooms, and more. For those of you who have been to a VMworld in person in the last decade, you can think of the Discord a bit like a virtual “hang space”. And, while you’re there for VMworld content, poke around in the other channels; you may very well find that there’s community worth “sticking around” for after VMworld wraps! Take a moment to watch Nick’s “Orbital Jigsaw at VMworld” video to get an intro to the Discord and a peek at what’s in store…
Updated on 30 March 2020: We have postponed this event until April 7. Please continue to share with, encourage, and be kind to one another. We look forward to connecting with you soon!
By now, most of you have been cooped up at home for several days. It’s been pretty amazing to see the number of community calls popping up all over the place to keep us connected to one another. VMunderground even hosted one last week that was fun for connecting with old friends and meeting some new ones. But while it was cool to hang out for a couple of hours together, we felt it was missing something. It honestly kind of felt a bit like an extension to our work day, since most of our work day is spent talking to people through a video screen. We also felt like we weren’t using our time wisely by cutting our families out of that time. So we decided to do something different and fun that can bring us together with our #vCommunity friends AND our families at the same time.
Introducing VMunderground Trivia Night!
We decided to put together a free family-friendly trivia night that we can all participate in together across the globe, and with the people we’re sitting next to on the couch. Here’s how it’ll work:
- Everyone joins a single Zoom session
- Open up a web browser to provide your answers
- 10 questions per round (don’t worry, they won’t be focused only on tech)
- 6 rounds with short breaks in-between
- Participate by yourself or as a team with your family/housemates
- One sponsor that will provide prizes to the top scorers (they will receive a list of emails for all participants)
We’re still working out a lot of the details, but we are hoping to do this every other week…
March 31 April 7 at 8pm EDT (5p PDT)
Want to participate? GREAT! Go ahead and mark it on your calendar. Between now and Tuesday, we’ll send out the Zoom link and the information to register to participate. Keep an eye out for updates on this site and @vmunderground on Twitter.
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.
Well, we’re one month out from the start of VMworld 2019 US, as well as Opening Acts and VMunderground.
Probably a good time to get the tickets & such out there, eh?
Your wish is my command…
Opening Acts Reservations: https://vsquaredb.ticketleap.com/opening-acts-2019/
VMunderground Tickets: https://vsquaredb.ticketleap.com/vmunderground-2019/
As in previous years, we’re limiting the number of tickets any person can acquire at one time. If you want more rules & blah-blah-blah, then scroll back through previous years‘ ticket release info. TL;DR: Don’t bogart the tickets; buy one for yourself, and let others fend for themselves.
Opening Acts and VMunderground will be held at
Tabletop Tap House
175 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
If that seems like a new location, but you recognize the address, you’re not wrong: the last time VMworld was in San Francisco, the space was a restaurant called “Jillian’s” and was the site of VMunderground back in 2012. It has been rebranded as a tap house, and some remodeling has been done, but it’s still well within the “walking distance” circle for the Moscone-area hotels.
Of course, the best way to experience Opening Acts is live-and-in-person, joining in on the interaction with panelists and peers. But if you’re unable to come, either because of conflicting meetings at VMworld, or you’re unable to join in the fun in Las Vegas, we’ve got you covered: we’ll be recording and live-streaming the panel sessions for “place- & time-shift” content consumers.
We’ll post links to the recorded content at a later time, but the live stream will be available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJJJ_9C_vkE
If there’s one word that sums up the current state of IT, it would be “complexity.” With so many moving pieces needed to support a company’s applications and data, it’s no wonder there are so many companies aiming to solve this mess. But we’re not going to get into that (there’s plenty of marketing messages already covering this).
The topic we’ll be discussing during the Tips for Multi-Cloud Success panel at Opening Acts 2018 is a relatively new wrinkle in the IT complexity puzzle: having to manage multiple clouds. We’ve all heard the stories of shadow IT: marketing departments swiping their credit cards for Software as a Service applications and developers running up tabs on AWS, but now we have official uses of public cloud infrastructure: VMs running in Azure, email being hosted by Office 365, and backup/DR to the cloud solutions. And all of this is on top of our on-premises virtual infrastructure and/or private cloud.
But is this multi-cloud future inevitable? What does the future of IT look like with multiple clouds running our applications and data? Our panelists will discuss how we got into this situation, what it’s likely to mean to all of us, and how we get our arms around all of these different and disparate extensions to our infrastructure. Any well-run infrastructure is built on solid management tools and processes, so they’ll also discuss how our tools and processes will need to change in order to properly manage these extended IT components.
Other questions we expect our elite group of panelists might discuss:
- Are there particular cloud providers that people have had greater success with? Which uses cases are each best suited for?
- What if our migration to the cloud fails? What does it take to move back or to another cloud?
- How are VMware and other traditional on-premises vendors helping to ease this new paradigm?
- What skillsets should we all be focusing on building/improving to best equip ourselves for this?
- What about security and cost?!?
Speaking of panelists, here’s who we’ll have on stage to help answer these questions:
- Moderating: Stu Miniman – @stu
- David Burton – @HeyvBurt
- Joshua Stenhouse – @joshuastenhouse
- Phoummala Schmitt – @ExchangeGoddess
- Brian Knudtson – @bknudtson
- Tim Jabaut – @timjabaut
Whether you fear the cloud or not, this is a topic I expect many people will have to deal with in the next several years. Bring your questions and experiences, and join this information packed session.
The last Opening Acts panel of 2018 will be the Beating IT Burnout panel, to help you handle some of the challenges of working in an IT organization. The panel is formed with a mix of expertise, people working in IT who have suffered burn out and people who teach skills to avoid burn out. We will address questions like:
- What causes IT burnout?
- How is stress different from burnout?
- What are the early (and late) symptoms of IT burnout?
- How can I handle the causes better?
- Is my job really sending me mad?
- How do I help my partner understand my stress and burn out?
Alastair Cooke, I have been self-employed for the last twelve years, you might think that burn out and stress are a thing of the past, nothing could be further from the truth.
- Eric Lee, the title of the panel came from Eric’s presentation at the Indy VMUG and the accompanying blog post that outlines how Eric has dealt with his IT burnout.
- Kat Troyer, a career coach and organizational development consultant who teaches leaders how to build strong teams and constructive cultures. She is the founder of Gently Moving Forward and co-founder of The Influence Marketing Council.
- Alicia Preston, along with Sonia Cuff, was the instigator of the mindfulness and IT burnout efforts at VMworld. Alicia is the founder of Mindful Roots, who specializes in applying mindfulness techniques to help youth & adults reduce stress and anxiety.
- Thom Greene, a member of the vBrownBag crew and has recently taken on a couple of new roles in quick succession, learning a lot about what does and doesn’t make him happy along the way.
- Lindy Collier-Grady, the founder vLadies and has a podcast called Hello from My Home Lab. She does speaking engagements all across the US in regards to women and technology.
A technology career has multiple stages that one goes through from their first internship or admin job to senior technical positions or into the executive ranks, but each stage has its own special skillset. During our 1pm panel on 2018 Skills for Engineers/Architects/IT Executives at Opening Acts 2018 we will talk through what it takes to grow your career. Equally important, we’ll discuss why sometimes you have to evaluate if the next level is right for you or if a change of perspective (to sales, to product management/development, or to a different specialty) is the next step in your career. Learn from the group if more education has mattered, or if it has been mentorship or some other form of growth that has helped their career.
Join a star-studded group of panelists that have done everything from running their own companies to being in sales to product management to hands-on technical, and everywhere in between. I have the pleasure of moderating this panel and will weave in a little of my transition from system admin to sales to product to executive ranks, and we will compare and contrast each of our stories. Take a look at the amazing list of panelists below and if you have questions you know you want asked please click the link below to submit questions.
Howdy, folks! We’ve kicked Eventbrite to the curb, both due to increasing costs as well as some problems many have expressed with their terms of service. In 2018 we’ll be using TicketLeap to handle registration and ticketing for the Opening Acts and VMunderground festivities at VMworld 2018 US.
Due to some of the ways TicketLeap differs from Eventbrite, we’ve set up the two events as… well… individual events. It may sound weird, but in previous years, we’ve done the reservations for Opening Acts and tickets for VMunderground under the same umbrella event, and while it seemed to have worked well for most people signing up/purchasing, we still had a little bit of confusion, plus the organizer reporting tools were a disaster.
This year, with individual events, our reporting will work, but TicketLeap also allows for a “shopping cart” experience, so you can get tickets & reservations in the same transaction: just select from multiple events and checkout using your shopping cart!
We’ve already posted the access to the free reservations to Opening Acts; we really want those more to get a headcount than any sort of restrictions, so opening them up now isn’t much of an issue. (Yes, we know it defeats the purpose of the shopping cart, but you can always wait if you want to get it done in one visit)
The party tickets will become available on Monday, July 23, 2018 at noon Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7).
This whole timezone thing for event planning is often unclear in how they’ll be applied…but that’s the plan.
At any rate, just head over to https://vsquaredb.ticketleap.com/vmunderground-2018/ to buy tickets when they become available.
Finally: as in previous years, we’re limiting tickets-per-transaction. There’s limited space in the venue, and if we run out of general admission tickets before you get a chance to buy one, there’s always our amazing sponsors who will have the bulk of available tickets for distribution. Hit them up; they’re the reason we’re able to do this at all.
We’re also asking some additional information to give to our sponsors. As always, we DO NOT divulge contact information, but we’d like to let them know—in aggregate—who attended by providing employer type and what sort of role you play in relation to VMware/VMworld attendance.
To wit: we’ll be asking you to select a role (decision-maker, influencer, user, etc) and provide a free-form answer for your employer’s industry when purchasing VMunderground tickets. Please take the questions seriously: good data makes it easier for us to sell sponsors on the value of putting their money into these activities.
Thanks, and we’ll see you in Las Vegas at the end of August!!!