VMware Explore in Barcelona: What a week it was. This was not my first major VMware event. After having been at 8 previous VMworlds (the first in 2008) this was, however, the first one as an employee and of course, literally, the first VMware Explore Europe (since the rename of the event).
As a Technical Account Manager, I was able to go to this event and help out at “TAM & Customer Success 360 Customer Central” (TSCC). This is a special area at the venue, especially for our TAM and S360 customers to both hangout and discuss with VMware people and other customers ánd to be able to join the technical deep dive sessions in small groups, to really get the change to engage with the speakers.
Also, have some good coffee (so I have been told) and snacks:
And of course, get stickers! I brought my own, and they were well received (and I have some more if anyone is interested):
In previous events, starting in 2008, I had noticed that for myself the value of the event had shifted. First, it was mostly about gathering knowledge. I remember that at the inaugural VMworld Europe, there was a Hands-On Labs that was physically present in Cannes. Slots were limited to the people that could fit in the (relatively small) room and at the SRM lab I was able to enter, we were not allowed to do a real fail-over, because it was not possible to do a revert before the next lab would start.
Now the HOL has undergone some developments. Hundreds of seats were available to follow over a hundred labs. I did a lab there and got the chance to see the magic of VMware Aria Hub at work.
Then the sessions. In 2008, I think I followed all the sessions I could. I think it may have been over 20. I remember sessions on virtualizing AD Controllers and on the nitty gritty details of CPU scheduling.
Over the years this had changed. When I joined PQR in 2015, my first VMworld after that (2016), and every year since then (’17, ’18, and ’19), we went with some of our customers. That meant that we were able to engage with the customers on a whole different level. Not just the “normal” consultancy conversations, but going much deeper. And also building bonds, by meeting outside of normal office hours and having a drink and a bite with them.
It was much more about networking, but still contained a large portion of sucking up knowledge, through sessions and the HOL.
So this year was a complete turnaround. This year, I have followed only two sessions. One of which was of my own customer KPN, which presented their journey into Secure Networking and CloudNL. Very interesting to see the KPN vision and our role in it:
A great example of the partnership that KPN and VMware have (and are increasing) to go to market together.
The rest of the time I was sitting in small sessions with my (and other Dutch TAM-) customers with Product Managers and Technical Experts on different topics. This was very valuable, both to the customers and to me. Getting to know people, I previously mostly had conversations with through email and slack.
Ánd networking. I have met so many new and interesting people and organizations and also reconnected with a lot of people from all parts of my career. When I walked around the venue (from halls 6 and 7 to 8 and back, for instance) it seemed like every twenty meters I met an old acquaintance and chat for a couple of minutes, before moving on. That literally had me constantly walking around the venue with a big smile on my face.
I also loved being part of the TAM & S360 team. I have met many of my teammates in 3D for the first time and that truly gives a new dynamic to my work. The Dutch team that was here (them I already met in 3D):
and the whole EMEA team:
All in all, this was a totally different experience from previous events, but I think I can safely say that this was the best conference I have ever been to. And that is saying a lot, because each and every one of the large conferences that I have been to, were great.
So a big thank you to everyone that has made my experience at this first VMware Explore Europe such a great one. And if you want to have this same experience, next year, there is an opening in our team:
If you are interested, I am more than happy to give you some information on the role and the company and if you want me to refer you, don’t hesitate to contact me!