Every year, we try to put together something new to improve the VMunderground experience. In the past, it’s mostly been based around increasing the number of people we can accommodate, which has required ticketing and venue changes over the years. Last year, we feel we found the proper venue to enable us to bring in the right number of people, with room to still grow. To that end, we were able to eliminate the need for tickets this year.
Last year, we worked with the vBrownBag crew to add an educational component to what we provide. Already having a large venue we simply added additional hours to the venue rental and were able to introduce Opening Acts. This proved to be such a huge success that I ended the event realizing that we couldn’t NOT bring Opening Acts back. Fortunately, the level of success didn’t necessitate too much improvement, so you’ll see some minor tweaks, but they’ll be minor.
A common criticism of the traditional conference circuit is the overemphasis on alcohol consumption. While most of the VMunderground crew are perfectly happy to network over a variety of alcoholic beverages, by no means is that a requirement for any of us. I have great conversations all week at VMworld over coffee, soda and even water, so I am by no means pushing off the fun conversations for when the beer flows. To provide better options to those who prefer (or simply cannot) partake in the “adult beverages” we have added a full smoothie bar to the menu at VMunderground.
This year, we also wanted to improve the ability for community events at both VMworld conferences to obtain sponsors, so we gathered with the teams that put on vBrownBag TechTalks, Spousetivities and vRockStar to put together a series of packages to make it easy for vendors to sponsor multiple of these events in one shot. The feedback (and signup rate) have been very positive. I’m proud to announce the following sponsors have chosen to take advantage of these packages and will be the first to take advantage of this opportunity:
We’d like to give special thanks to these companies for truly getting and appreciating our little community. VMworld simply would not be the same without companies like these. Give them (and all our sponsors) a special thank you before VMworld, then stop into their booths during the show to let them scan your badge and give your appreciation in person!
Opening Acts is returning for its second year at VMworld US 2015. You can find us at the Metreon’s City View (the same place as last year) starting at 1pm on Sunday afternoon, August 30th.
A collaborative venture produced by your friends at #vBrownBag and VMunderground, Opening Acts will host a total of 6 panels with as many smart, funny, and snarky panelists & moderators as we can convince to come out and argue about technology.
Each panel will last an hour, and will run side by side, two at a time. The community voted for their top 3 panels, and here are the results:
1pm: Infrastructure, hyper-convergence, containers & more vs. Storage of all kinds
2pm: Automation & orchestration vs. Networking of all kinds
3pm: Careers, podcasting, smart people saying funny things vs. Data protection of all kinds
We’re still putting the list of panelists & moderators together, but we promise you’ll get your money’s worth. (Well, since it’s free you’ll get what you get and you won’t throw a fit.)
We’re at it again: the #VMunderground and #vBrownBag teams are at it again, preparing for the first, best community-driven events of VMworld!
We have our first sponsor announced and are getting ready to seek your input on the topics for the second year of Opening Acts panel sessions.
Let this serve as your “SAVE THE DATE” notice: OpeningActs and the VMunderground party will be held on Sunday, August 30, 2015. OpeningActs will run from 1pm to 4pm; VMunderground runs from 8pm to 11pm. We’ll be at the same venue as 2014—City View at the Metreon—which is just a stone’s throw from the Moscone conference site.
Keep your eye on this site, as well as the @vmunderground twitter feed for more information…
That’s right! VMware recently opened registration for VMworld 2015 US in San Francisco, and the VMunderground team is gearing up for another great year.
Based on the success of 2014’s inaugural OpeningActs collaboration with our friends over at #vBrownBag, we’ve started planning that event as well.
There isn’t a whole lot we can share yet, but the most important details—WHEN and WHERE—are known:
OpeningActs, the panel sessions, will run during the early afternoon of Sunday, August 30 at the Metreon City View. Yes, this is the same time and venue as last year!
VMunderground, the independent social event, will run after the Welcome Expo on Sunday, August 30, also at City View.
While some things will be the same as last year, we’re also working to improve; feedback we received from attendees and sponsors will shape those changes, and we’ll be reaching out to everyone—again, like last year—in order to make sure we build panel sessions for OpeningActs that will inform, entertain and delight.
Well folks, VMworld 2014 US is upon us. The tweets and –god forfend– private Facebook message groups are awash with anticipation for the week.
There have been a number of questions sent to the VMunderground, #vBrownBag and Opening Acts teams; we’ll try and address them in this post…
Q: Looks like Opening Acts is full. Is there any room?
A: Who knows? We won’t turn anyone away as long as we have room. While we have a huge space (we’re using the same venue for both Opening Acts and VMunderground), a significant portion is will be “off-limits” during Opening Acts to allow for the prep & setup for VMunderground. We set the registration limit at 200 to manage the seating, but the spaces we set aside might hold as much as 2x that number. Additionally, there’s bound to be turnover–a bunch of folks might need to high-tail it over to v0dgeball–so don’t be afraid to come for a 2pm or 3pm session even if we’re packed at 1pm.
Q: I missed round X for tickets to VMunderground. How do I get in?
A: As of this writing, there are still nearly 100 tickets available. Hop on over to vmunderground.eventbrite.com and grab one. Keep in mind: if you have a conference badge, tickets are NOT required for entry! Tickets get you first access to the party when the doors open at 8pm, and are required for anyone without a conference badge (this is a VMworld community event, not a San Francisco community event).
Q: I have a ticket/wristband. Do I need to bring my conference badge?
A: Please do! This is a social event, and conference badges do a good job of helping people connect faces and names. Include your Twitter handle on your badge! Lots of people in the community are known by their Twitter handles rather than their IRL names; if your handle isn’t printed on your badge, find someone with a Sharpie or label maker and add it!
Q: Dude. That’s an insane amount of restrictions. What’s up with that?
A: In past years, limited space has made it…challenging…to keep an even, fair opportunity for everyone in the community to get access to the party. Every restriction listed is based on somebody in the community trying to take advantage of the then-stated-rules to get more that what we–the VMunderground team–consider to be a “fair share” of the tickets. Yes, it sucks to have so many rules, but there are some of those among us who consider themselves…”first among equals.” Let’s just leave it at that.
Q: I’m in like Flynn for the party. I love the sponsors and I already have a wristband (awesome, too, btw. I’m going to wear mine all week!). Do I need to bring anything else to the party?
A: Yes. Please, please, PLEASE bring a photo ID from a legitimate government to prove your age if you want to be served alcohol. California–like most of the US–requires anyone being served alcohol to be aged 21 years or more. By default, you should be that age as a participant in VMworld, but as they don’t check and the legal working age in the US is 16… Just do us and yourself a favor and bring your ID.
Q: I know where the Metreon is, but can’t figure out where City View is. A little help, please?
A: CityView is on the fourth floor of the Metreon. It’ll be easiest to access if you enter the Metreon from the Yerba Buena Gardens entrance, as opposed to 4th street. Take the escalator or elevator to the top, and there you go.
Q: I’ve got my backpack with me; will it be safe, or do I need to keep lugging it around with me?
A: Although you’ll need to keep track of it yourself during Opening Acts, we will be providing a coat check/bag drop during VMunderground. However, we won’t be accepting liability for loss/damage whether using the coat check or not, so please use your judgement if you carry a laptop or other personal electronics. A backpack full of expo swag should be just fine…
Q: I live in the city/rented a car and plan to drive. Where is parking?
A: We have no special arrangements for parking. Most attendees will be from out-of-town, and we explicitly chose a location near Moscone to make it more “walkable” than last year. If you do decide to drive, please have a designated driver. We’re also working with Uber to provide some “getting home safe” discounts, so please consider a cab or other ride before choosing to drive; we’ll have more info on that at the party
With just over a couple of weeks to go, the members of our panel sessions are being finalized; here’s who we’ve got on board…
- Social Media/Careers (1pm)
- John Troyer (@jtroyer) moderator
Amy Lewis (@commsninja)
James Bowling (@vsential)
Jeramiah Dooley (@jdooley_clt)
Phoummala Schmitt (@exchangegoddess)
Gina Minks (@gminks)
- Storage (SDS & traditional) (1pm)
- Trevor Potts (@cakeis_not_alie) moderator
Michael Webster (@vcdxnz001)
Matt Vogt (@mattvogt)
J Metz (@drjmetz)
Keith Norbie (@keithnorbie)
Matt Cowger (@mcowger)
Wade Holmes (@wholmes)
- Networking (SDN & traditional) (2pm)
- Chris Wahl (@chriswahl) moderator
Tom Hollingsworth (@networkingnerd)
Joe Onisick (@jonisick)
Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe)
Lisa Caywood (@realLisaC)
Ryan Hughes (@angryjesters)
- Orchestration, Automation, & Optimization (2pm)
- Lauren Malhoit (@malhoit) moderator
Emad Younis (@emad_younis)
Mike Foley (@mikefoley)
Al Renouf (@alanrenouf)
Josh Atwell (@josh_atwell)
Luc Dekens (@lucd22)
- Cloud & General Virtualization (3pm)
- Leah Schoeb (@vleahschoeb) moderator
Stu Miniman (@stu)
Sean Clark (@vseanclark)
Stephen Foskett (@sfoskett)
Hugo Phan (@hugophan)
Aaron Delp (@aarondelp)
- Architecture & Infrastructure (3pm)
- Matt Liebowitz (@mattliebowitz) moderator
Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33)
Phoummala Schmitt (@exchangegoddess)
Maish Saidel-Keesing (@maishsk)
Mike Preston (@mwpreston)
John Arrasjid (@vcdx001)
The afternoon’s agenda is set, the panel membership for the topics is being finalized, and moderators are being assigned. With that, we’re ready to publicize the times and panels for our inaugural Opening Acts:
|Time||Panel A||Panel B|
|1pm||Social Media/Careers||Storage (SDS & traditional)|
|2pm||Networking (SDN & traditional)||Orchestration, Automation, & Optimization|
|3pm||Cloud & General Virtualization||Architecture & Infrastructure|
We’re less than 6 weeks away from the inaugural Opening Acts and VMunderground events at the start of VMworld US 2014, so we’re starting to turn the heat up on our information flow. Only a couple of items with this post, but they’re important:
1) We’re starting our sponsor announcements. These are the folks that allow us to put these events in motion; please bookmark our 2014 Sponsor page and show some love to all the companies and organizations that appear here. Plan to visit them during the show, too, and let them know you appreciate their involvement.
2) We officially announced the ticketing & registration for Opening Acts. We told everyone when & where it’s happening; we also told everyone that OpeningActs (The Sessions) and VMunderground (The Party) will share the same venue but occupy different time slots. If you’re the savvy IT folks we know you to be, you’ve figured out where the evening’s activities will take place.
3) Given the proximity of The Party to the main VMworld campus, we have no doubt that people who hesitated to attend last year (due to distance) will be flocking to it this year. This means we are going to have a paid ticket process similar to last year–a variety of times and days-of-week to cover the global community, plus some special releases at some VMware Community events–with details on the process & “rules of engagement” to be announced.
That’s all for now, but keep this blog site bookmarked for additional details and announcements!
With registration for VMworld 2014 opened and the content catalog available for scheduling, the VMunderground team is starting to get questions about how to get into The Party.
As in previous years, The VMunderground Party will be open to ticket holders first; then as long as there’s capacity, conference badge holders will be admitted.
TL;DR: You can get a free ticket by receiving one from a sponsor or participating in Opening Acts. Paid tickets will be announced at a later time. Read the rest of this entry »
As has been intimated on Twitter and through teasers on the vCommunity Podcast, the #VMunderground and #vBrownBag teams have joined forces for 2014 to bring a new type of community-driven event to anyone willing to come into San Francisco for VMworld 2014 a little bit early.
While it’s true that the mission of the two organizations are quite different in their approach to community participation—#vBrownBag is about education and happens year-round, independently of VMworld; #VMunderground is a party held prior to VMworld US—we do have some important synergies:
- We are all about community participation
- We absolutely support the “work hard+play hard” ethos
So how do these things come together, yet avoid kicking the shins of the VMworld giant as well as avoid cannibalizing #vBrownBag TechTalks? We believe we’ve got something here…
We are pleased to introduce “Opening Acts.”
Opening Acts will be a series of group/panel discussions over the course of a few hours on Sunday afternoon. Whiteboards will be present, but no slides or PowerPoint.
Like a concert, where you have a major big-name act that draws the crowd, an opening act is often used to warm up the audience, get the mood and tone set for the headliner. The VMunderground party has often referred to itself as a “Warm-up Party (as a Service);” Opening Acts is going to be a Warm-up Pre-con (as a Service). The idea is to get discussions started to get into the mindset for the conference.
And here’s where you—our community—come into the picture: We need feedback on what needs to be covered—and who you think should be there—to help push the conversation. We’ll have time and space set aside for sessions, but the number, topic and duration of each will be determined by those planning to attend. Nothing is off limits: Want to start to the discussion early on disruptive new technologies like hyperconvergence or the growth of flash storage in the datacenter? Fine. Want to chat about licensing challenges in a multi-vendor infrastructure? Fine. Want to talk about techniques to study and prep for certification? You bet. Do you think the authors from the five top vBlogs for 2014 (Duncan Epping, William Lam, Frank Denneman, Cormac Hogan and Scott Lowe) should be there? Sure: we’ll ask them—and any other community members you suggest in the form—to come join us.
Please give us a few minutes of your time to complete this Google Form so we can get a sense of what will be of most interest. It shouldn’t take long, but will give us valuable input into making this a great event.