Tip 1: Fight the FOMO
If you experience “fear of missing out” (FOMO) on other occasions, chances are you will go crazy around VMworld. There is just so much happening and a lot of it is in parallel - breakout sessions, labs, theatre sessions, solutions exchange presentations, etc. It is impossible to see everything while you are there, not even 10% - and that’s valid for everyone there, you are not the only one!
One thing that could alleviate your FOMO is the fact that a lot of this is recorded and you can access after the event - the keynotes and breakout sessions. Labs - you have quite a lot of online labs available for free on the VMware Hands-on Labs portal.
VMworld is about you and your experience. Every attendee should experience it in their own way and liking.
Tip 2: Plan 5 things you want to achieve
Going into a conference with so many options, you might lose direction if you don’t have a plan. This doesn’t mean you must plan out every single hour of every day you spend there. If you do that, you might end up working for your plan and not the other way around.
Think about 5 specific goals you want to achieve on this event. This will both give you structure and flexibility to explore other things once you achieve those goals. It will also get the rewarding feeling that you achieved your main objectives and the whole experience was worthwhile.
What could those goals be?
For example - if you are planning an NSX implementation in your organization, you probably want to attend some technical NSX session, visit the VMware booth on NSX for some 1:1 advice or connect with some popular NSX experts attending the event. Or, if you are looking to select a VMware management solution that solves a specific problem, you might want to explore the vendors providing such software at the Solutions Exchange.
Tip 3: Spend a lot of time at Solutions Exchange
I personally attended 12 VMworlds so far and it took me a few years to realize that you can get the most value from Solutions Exchange. And I am not talking about all the cool merchandize there. There are about 200 exhibitors on the Solutions Exchange floor at VMworld 2018 in Las Vegas. What a great way to learn about the latest developments in IT - going directly to the vendor, speaking to their representatives, getting a demo of their products and engaging into interesting conversations. Check out the New Innovators corner - you can see some really cool ideas that are just entering the market.
Speaking of Solutions Exchange - do not miss the Runecast booth #2835! You will have an opportunity to chat to the founders, see the latest Runecast Analyzer release and maybe a sneak peek of what’s coming up next.
Tip 4: Socialize
We are IT guys and we are not the most sociable creatures around. However, you should forget about this whole thing for a few days. The main reason for 23 000 people with VMworld backpacks gathering in one place is to network. Everyone is open to making new contacts and engaging in conversations. Don’t think that you are “bothering” anyone - everyone is here for networking.
Socialize any time you can - over lunch, at the hangout space, at Solutions Exchange. Get connected and take notes. Your network will help you advance in your knowledge and your career.
Don’t underestimate parties and gatherings. Some of the best connections are made over a beer or two. Andreas Lesslhumer traditionally gathers information of all parties at VMworld. Here is his gathering events list for VMworld 2018 US.
Tip 5: Bring comfy shoes
VMworld is physically intensive experience - the countless miles walked on the Mandalay Bay Convention Center carpet will become painful, no matter how soft it is. It is imperative you bring comfy shoes and clothing. Surely, you don’t want to be dressed in your pyjamas but you can select some both comfortable and presentable outfit.
Be kind to your body (and mind) and take some regular time off to recharge.
Apart from the awesome VMworld event, don’t forget your surroundings. Take some time to go around Las Vegas or perhaps take a day trip to Grand Canyon.
See you in Vegas!