Opening Acts

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

T-minus One Month

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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 yearsticket release info. TL;DR: Don’t bogart the tickets; buy one for yourself, and let others fend for themselves.

Let it be known…

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Opening Acts and VMunderground will be held at

Tabletop Tap House

175 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
http://tabletopsf.com/

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.

2018 Opening Acts—Live Stream

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YouTubeOf 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

Opening Acts 2018—Why Are There So Many Clouds in My Infrastructure?

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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:

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.

 

 

Opening Acts 2018—Beating IT Burnout

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goenglish_com_burningthecandleatbothendsThe 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?

Moderator:
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.

Panelists:

  • 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.

Opening Acts 2018—Do you have the skills?

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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 SkillsActs 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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hello 0x7E2

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As of this writing, it’s only seven (7) weeks until VMworld 2018 US? Seems like seven (7) weeks is still plenty of time before we need to pack our kit and head to the airport…

But by other metrics, it’s going to get here faster than anyone wants…including the team here at Underground Central. We’ve got our homework still cut out for us: finding additional sponsors, announcing committed sponsors, finalizing session topics, populating the panel membership, coordinating with the venue for catering and audio-visual, etc.

But no worry…we’re veterans at this (this is our twelfth year!) and plan to have everything ready & in place for you when you arrive at Beerhaus on Sunday afternoon.

That’s right: We’re essentially “reverting to snapshot” from last year, doing pretty much the same venue and timing. Like last year, we’ll be starting the Opening Acts sessions at 1pm, running them back-to-back until 4pm. The kitchen & bar at Beerhaus will be open, but remain unsponsored for the panel sessions: you’re on your own to pick up the tab. If you’re not interested in eating there, best plan is to do lunch prior to arrival…and there are many, many options in the vicinity of New York New York Resort and Casino, the major landmark near Beerhaus.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Opening Acts: 1pm — 4pm PDT
VMunderground: Evening PDT
Beerhaus (at the Park)
3784 S Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109

The evening VMunderground party will start after the staff resets the venue space from the panel sessions; we’re still coordinating the exact time for the doors to open, but you can plan on it being after 7pm and no later than 8pm…

As mentioned in the first paragraph, we’re still seeking sponsors, so we aren’t planning on being able to commit to a zero-cost ticket for the party (as always, Opening Acts is a free event for all participants, but we’ll be requesting you to register for free reservations to help us get an idea of how full the venue will be). Like the last few years, we’ve needed paid tickets to “get us over the finish line.” so we’ll be selling party tickets once we’ve been able to finalize the sponsor slate.

And on that note, we’ll also begin announcing our committed sponsors this week; they’re the ones that really make this all possible, and will be an alternative option to purchasing party tickets. Keep an eye on the @VMunderground Twitter feed for new announcements–as well as the 2018 Sponsors page on this site–for more news on sponsors.