VMUG Where We All Connect

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This past Friday was the annual Dallas Fort Worth UserCon where VMware people come together to share experiences, hear speakers, and connect. I particularly enjoy coming to VMUG events for all the new connections I am able to make. I was sharing a couple of my experiences with a great guy in Ariel Sanchez who thought it would make for a great blog article. Here it goes.

I attend the local VMUG events when my schedule permits. I still travel to attend major conferences when my daughter doesn’t have an activity going on. When I first relocated to Texas I worked for a consulting company that specialized in the commercial and SLED verticals. This allowed me to meet many of the local VMUG members and allowed for me to stay in touch after I left consulting.

Experience 1. Old buddies re-connecting
At the start of UserCon I saw someone I have have known for a few years now, we did the ritual of shake hands “hey, how have you been? How is the family?” The occasional jokes and it was great catching up. While catching up they mentioned a little stress at work about not having enough overhead or a solution to automate to make up for the lack of overhead at their work place causing them a lot of issues. They made mention that they will be presenting soon on the need for additional funding for either or. When asked my thoughts I began replying with how I would put together a TCO relating both soft and hard costs to the BU via hardware/software renewals, dollar figure tied to every hour an outage occurs due to insufficient resources, etc. Having spent years in consulting this still felt like second nature to me. Sensing they could use a little help with this I volunteered to meet up with them in the next two weeks to craft out their proposal. That is something I do enjoy about VMUG is that we are all one community willing to help one another.

Experience 2. Making a new connection
While walking around UserCon between sessions I made eye contact with someone and by their expression I knew they knew me. The person approached and said, “Hey! You’re the NSX guy, right?!” Obviously, this person had read my blog. So I replied, “Yeah!” with a chuckle. They began to tell me how they have a NSX-T install that has stalled and they can’t seem to be able to figure out the problem. Not wanting to be one of those guys who blows people off with trivial replies such as, “I would need more information or have you tried this very high level troubleshooting.” I instead asked them to tell me more. It took a few minutes of back and forth conversation but they finally said the right words that allowed me to know exactly what the issue was. The VLANs were tagged at the wrong layer. This person called a counterpart who was working in the office that day, flipped the VLAN tags, and auto-magically it began to work. The look on the persons face was worth the few minutes of troubleshooting and I told them good luck and went to my next break out session.

Experience 3. The Mötley Crüe table
It feels like whether at a VMUG event or a major conference there will always come that time when people who go way back form together to catch up, joke, and discuss what we are all working on. These round table discussions are the main draw for me to VMUG. The rich conversations, the clever jokes, and most of all the sharing of knowledge. The tips & tricks & advice shared at these tables could easily create tech books that would be best sellers on amazon.

Experience 4. Helping someone find a better work life balance
While at UserCon I was speaking to a buddy of mine I don’t get to see that often due to work and family obligations. While we were catching up I could tell he was exhausted and he began to tell me about his insane work hours and the impact it is having at home. Having worked with him in the past I know he is a great engineer and I myself having worked for companies in the past that treat you like a robot not a person made me want to help. I pulled out my smartphone and jumped on LinkedIN making a post that I knew a great engineer I would vouch for that is seeking a new challenging opportunity. A couple bullet points later with his top skills and it was posted. I am fortunate enough due to delivering key notes and sitting on panels to have amassed a good number of connections on LinkedIN. By the time UserCon was wrapping up the post had received over 2k views, was liked and re-shared by many and I had several messages requesting his resume.

Shout out time:
I’m not the only one who shows up to these events and shares their experiences and attempts to help out others in our vCommunity. I wanted to take a moment to call out a couple guys that in 2019 I personally witnessed selflessly helping others
Tim Davis @vtimd
Ariel Sanchez @arielsanchezmor
Nathan Bennett @vNerdyNate
Brandon Graves @brandongraves08
Mike Wilson @IT_Muscle
Tim Davis 2 @othertimdavis
Scott Forehand @stforehand

Summary:
VMUG is a wonderful community of people who can come together to grow and learn. Most of all it truly is a community of people who just want to help each other in hopes if the day comes where one of us needs help then others will be there to support us.

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