The OMG ridiculous single point of awesome for attending VMworld 2014 San Francisco!!!

July 10th, 2014
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

VMworld 2014 - Break Through, No Limits, other random marketing taglines!

Hey there, I’m sure you found this because you’re looking for an awesome guide to make your first or millionth VMworld an awesome experience.  Well you’ve come to the right place, and if that doesn’t work out for you look at the bottom and find the tips/tricks and more from past years to help you prepare!  Only the most essential information will be repeated, everything else I definitely encourage you to refer to past posts which cover the details!


That’s right, we are only 45 days away, which for some of you is eons away, and others of you is essentially around the corner. So let’s start with some of the most basics when it comes to attending VMworld…

Attending for free?!?!

Every now and then some individuals or organizations get together and offer a Free Pass to VMworld! I’m not tracking too many of those at this time, but I am tracking one…

The awesome rockstars at Infinio makers of a NFS accelerator like no other are offering a Free Attendee Pass to VMworld, including passes to the VMUnderground Party! Awesome, right? Registration for this ends 21st JUL 2014 so be sure to get signed up stat!

Win a Free Pass to VMworld 2014 from Infinio!

Register now and you’ll be entered to win:

  • One full-conference pass to VMworld 2014 in San Francisco
    (the conference pass includes access to the VMworld party and Hall Crawl events)
  • Access to the VMunderground party
  • Cool Infinio swag
  • Other great stuff!

Cool stuff right?! As other free pass / free ride options appear I’ll be sure to update this post to reflect them!

Registration and Discounts

If you are paying full price to attend VMworld … Well, there are ways you may NOT have to pay the highest fee(s) available!

VMworld Pricing!

Be sure to take advantage of things like VMUG Advantage, VCP and Alumni discount, and if your Vendor has a special discount code (Like EMC, NetApp, Dell, etc) definitely find out and roll with it!   Whatever it takes to get you there, paid for, and enjoying the show!

Also you can use your PSO Credits to purchase your registration for the event so that’s positive for you PSO Organizations on there! If you’re attending the TAM Day (If you are a VMware TAM Services customer) check out the “Registering for TAM Day” link for more information on how to handle that during registration!

And if you happen to be stuck in the position of, “My employer won’t send me because they don’t value education” you may want to check this helpful guide to help CONVINCE your employer. :)

Packing for the big event!

Must Have Items to Pack and Consider:

  • Comfortable Shoes:   I cannot stress this enough (I feel like I’ve said it before, and I have, and I’ll say it again, Oh and again.) BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES!.  Whether you’re sticking ENTIRELY to the show floor or you walk outside anywhere (a lot of the events are OFF-Site at times) you’ll find yourself walking.   Not only walking streets, but hills and environments the likes of which Cable Cars were designed for! So bring your comfortable shoes; You can thank me later!
  • Bring Business Cards: I know who you are, I met you, you’re the guy who has a QR code! You’re all SCAN MY QR CODE TO GUARANTEE WE’LL NEVER TALK EVVVEEEEEEEERRRRRR!!!! It’s true, it’s serious. People don’t exchange QR codes and remember each other.  You don’t enter that random contest to win an iPad or a Nexus 7 by giving them your QR code in a bowl.   You exchange Business Cards. Deal with it. Oh and PACK SOME BUSINESS CARDS!
  • Laptop:   If you don’t need your laptop because you’re not going to be working while at the show, leave it at home.   If you bring your laptop because you need to work (like me) and you want to accomplish anything of relevance, LEAVE IT IN YOUR ROOM.  The last thing you need to do is worry about where your laptop is, especially because once you bring it, you will NEVER take it out of it’s case when you hit the show floor, less than 3% of people do. (Exceptions: Blogger, Analyst and other folks who specifically are demoing and using the laptop at set intervals) Save yourself grief though and leave it in the Hotel room, or leave it at home.
  • Clothing:    If you’re a suit guy, bring suits.  If you’re a T-shirt and Jeans guy, bring that.   This is a conference like any conference so you’ll likely end up with random T-Shirts, random this and that’s.  (Oh if you’re job hunting here… Dress above your station, Seriously, no SERIOUSLY DO IT. ;))    Pack appropriately don’t over-pack, per se, but be sure to pack adequately.   If you can survive with Carry-On only (My Preferred way to live) you will WIN!   If you find yourself needing to buy things once you hit the ground it’s not a major problem, but consider San Francisco’s Sales Tax is 9.5%….
  • Cell Phone:   I added this at the last minute.   If you find your ATT Phone doesn’t work to save your life for Data. I heartily welcome to you San Francisco.   … Mobile will be a challenge in every case, if it’s improved you are a lucky beast! If it doesn’t work, just operate on that expectation!

Getting there

Getting to VMworld will likely involve you taking an airplane unless you live in the Nor-Cal area, and even then you’ll want to stay locally; Believe me – The details covered under Transportation speak to it rather well the reasoning, justification and even a little ROI/TCO on why staying within 3 miles of Moscone is so important.    For those of you who still have yet to book your transportation and as the day quickly comes upon us I advise you to check out ITASoftware’s Matrix as a means to find the ‘cheapest’ air fare and go from there.  It’s a great tool which will help you search and see what the cheapest is; and it does update as tickets disappear and only more expensive fares are left.   I’ve also interestingly been using Orbitz to book flights in the recent past on my returns home from Afghanistan, it is interesting but helps split the difference of some airline costs!  Oh, and if you can carpool from the Airport, doooo it!

Staying there

If you read my blog post in March of this year encouraging you to BOOK YOUR HOTELS NOW, then you should be taken care of! But for those of you who didn’t book your hotel at that time (I didn’t… but I wanted you to get ahead of it! ;)) Here are some alternatives which can help take the sting out of the $400 a night hotels which are currently available (Alright, seriously, Yea, the cheap-ass hotels are coming in at >$400 due to the fact that San Francisco is a hotel wasteland.)   VMworld’s own website goes on to claim that Hotels are priced between $219 to $389 a day but that is both delusional and really only applies if you booked your hotel at the dawn of time. :)  There are ‘discounts to be had’ but also be wary of WHERE the hotels are in relation to the convention center because that burden of a commute can drain you pretty quickly.   If you’re new to the game, you should check out Airbnb which is basically a service where people rent out their apartments, houses, rooms in their homes, etc.   There are a lot of options, as an example I booked 7 days at a really nice studio all to myself for ~$1300; Which to say the least is not bad considering $400 a night hotels are ridiculous.   So if the opportunity presents itself, find a nice place to stay with a reasonable price – that’s a far better alternative to staying at the Marriott SFO at over an hours travel away!

Eating there

The events of VMworld should be feeding you at most every opportunity, whether breakfast, lunch, or some partner sponsored dinner-type event.   This isn’t like the days gone past where food was high quality and flowing at every opportunity.   So keep your wits about you and take the opportunities for food as they come along.   There are a lot of food opportunities all about which you can also take advantage of, which won’t require you to break the bank.

Getting to the Convention Center and Events daily

This differs a little bit from the “Getting there” above, as this is focused on how you will actually be getting around.   If you’re within a mile of the convention center it is fair to say you will be WALKING. There is a theoretical (but unpublished) bus schedule which will commute from some hotels to the convention center, but by the time you wait for a bus to arrive and deliver you to Moscone in the very walkable city of San Francisco, you could have walked there.   If you find yourself considerably farther out taking some form of public transportation isn’t the worst, though from a ROI perspective taking a Taxi and just GETTING there is probably the best use of your time and money.  Then when it comes to attending the events which will occur either on-site or off-site use your better judgement. Walk in groups (will go into more details on that later) especially it’s a good way to meet and greet with others you may not know (yet). If you use twitter (Of course you use twitter!) start chatting and getting to know OTHER attendees you’ve never met in person so you can walk with them!   If you do find yourself staying a little farther outside the norm take this analysis into consideration.

  • Taking BART:   A lot of you say “Yea, I’m gonna take BART and I’ll be all good”   Don’t get me wrong. BART is a great idea.  If you have time to burn, I highly encourage it.    Whoa, Whoa, hold on a minute, are you openly bashing public transportation?   Yea, kind of, but not exactly.    Allow me to explain :)
    • If you are within 1 Mile of Moscone staying at the JW Marriott, Renaissance, Marriott Marquis, Serrano, Inter-Continental and so forth?  WALK. ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER.    Yea, You should be walking, it’s not a difficult task.   If you have a lot of stuff to carry, or there’s a bunch of you staying a mile away and you’re lazy (What?! Lazy people in IT? WHERE?!) Then hop in a cab, it’s semi-efficient.   But otherwise, WALK.    But wait, what about hotels farther away?!
    • If you like a lot of very sad folks are staying at the SFO Marriott (~15 miles away) Get a car and car-pool, it’ll be cheaper.    Consider the following calculation.    Taking BART from the SFO Marriott only costs $5 One-Way! However it entails a 60 minute one-way trip, including walking 1.5 Miles all-in.    If I’m in San Francisco on my own dime and I have time to burn this is a great idea.   However, I like you are here for a fixed amount of time, and the burden taking public transportation losing a minimum of 2hrs a day in transport with walking 3 miles a day guaranteed is no way to spend your extremely valuable time.
  • Renting a Car:  WTF? WHO RENTS A CAR IN SAN FRANCISCO!??! No one.  Unless you’re staying at the SFO Marriott, and I suggest ONE of you rents for every 4-5 people you have in a group or party. (Or find some friends! :))  FYI, the time/distance by car is ~30 minutes.   Which means you lose an hour of your day traveling, but at least it is on YOUR terms.   There is no “Last car of the day” and Parking in/around Moscone seems fairly reasonable
  • Taking a Taxi (~1-2M):   If you’re within ~1-2 miles of Moscone, sure, take a taxi if it’s fitting… Sometimes we all have deadlines we need to support, I respect and understand that!
  • Taking a Taxi (~15M):    If you’re staying at the SFO Marriott for example and you take a Taxi, That is a $45 one way trip.  If you have that kind of money to burn, I have a bridge to sell you (and potentially some licensing… HAH!) But seriously, That CAN work out if you load that car up with 4-5 of you and group together, but do not do it solo.

The Top 5 MUSTs for VMworld 2014

  1. Bring and WEAR Comfortable Shoes
    1. To quote a good friend who once was working a tech conference show floor when a marketing head came over to him and said, “I’m sorry, you need to change your shoes”, this to a highly technical mind who is going to be standing on the show floor talking to customers for >10hrs a day.  His cordial response was, “I’m here to help revolutionize our customers datacenters, I’m not here to fracking sell shoes”.  Alright, maybe I slightly censored things a bit… But you get the point; and if not, I’ll hit it home!   Hey, you’re a customer, a partner, someone who is spending their hard earned money to BE there and learn about awesome and excellent technologies and network and meet with other people.  This isn’t Milan or the Club (in the club, club, club…) Be comfortable, be yourself and well, be comfortable… You’re going to be doing a lot of walking and standing, and it’s going to hurt!
  2. Carry only what you need in your wallet and on your person
    1. Remember that time your wallet got stolen in San Francisco and it ruined your whole week? Yea, it didn’t happen and it won’t.  The same can be said for your Android, iPad, Laptop, Bag, or some other ridiculous thing.   Hey, I get it… You’re going to be taking notes while you’re there, so you need your laptop… Wait, sorry I can’t say that with a straight face…, I mean… ;)  Just be responsible and reasonable.  There are a lot of good people here at the conference (I’ve found the owners of a number of Blackberries, iPhones, missing Laptops, you name it) but on the same token I’ve also met a lot of sad people who turned their head for a second and were without their precious (my precious…)  Please don’t let that be you.
  3. Contact your vendor / Sales / SE and let them know you’ll BE at VMworld!
    1. Did you know that your SEs not only want to meet, greet and see you at VMworld… they also want and need justification to get sent there themselves?  Imagine how grateful they’d be to you for giving their management justification to send THEM!  I’m sure their expense wallets will open like a waterfall for just kind of awesomeness! Oh, and of course they’ll want to talk to you about their tech or whatever.   But seriously, Vendors throw parties and it’s nice for them to know when their customers will be there so they can invite you, or get you in front of their Execs and Leadership for your feedback and all that jazz.   It’s a great opportunity to forge those partnerships even stronger, so take advantage of it!
  4. Bring Business Cards
    1. I say this every year and I’ll continue to say it.  Smaller vendors will have contests which ask for business cards, oh and people like to exchange business cards! Every now and then someone will say BUT I HAS A QR CODE. Yea, no one wants your stupid QR code.   There, I said it. Your QR code is stupid. Get a damn business card and exchange your information, I mean what’s the alternative? #5?
  5. Get an account on Twitter (now) and start following the who, what, where of goings on leading up to and AT VMworld!
    1. Yea. Get yourself a twitter account, it’s not difficult, and there’s a client for every mobile device.   Interesting fact, the live-tweet coverage of the Keynotes quite frankly usually blows away the ACTUAL Keynote. :)   We also use Twitter as a means of keeping everyone abreast of what is going on at the Conference, Where the Parties are, who is attending various parties, and after parties as well!   If you’re not on Twitter, the only one missing out is you.   Some hashtags to follow before/during VMworld are
      1. #VMworld – Various event notes and VERY Spammy during the show, but good data
      2. #vExpert – The vExpert Community is a strong one and they tend to be in the know!
      3. #CXIDinner – I do nightly dinners, get togethers, networking, all that jazz at various locations AFTER all the parties are over
      4. #CXIParty – … I still haven’t decided if I’ll throw a party again, but if I do… you’ll be able to get details about it here!

Don’t be an idiot!

This gets its own section because this DOES come up at every conference. It’s sad that it does, but it sadly DOES. So to quote from last year.

  • Seriously. Don’t be a misogynist or an otherwise stupid idiot, in public or private
    • I know it’s a conference, and you are outside of your element, but that doesn’t grant you the right to be a douche bag, a drunken idiot, or a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen.   @drjmetz summed it up pretty nicely in his Technical Conferences and (In)Appropriate Behavior  So, please don’t be that guy (or girl)

Security and Safety

  • Only carry what you need
      • This is a general ‘pick-pocket’ city rule. If you have a wallet with ‘x’ number of credit cards, pick the ones you need MOST and leave the rest somewhere safe [At home, or in the hotel/safe] To re-enforce that, let me give you an example of things you NEED and things you DONT need
        • NEED: Credit Card, Cash, ID [Passport, State ID or License, not ALL three with you though] Insurance Card, BUSINESS CARDS
        • DON’T NEED: Library Card, Membership card to some arbitrarily local thing which doesn’t apply here, blah blah blah
      • Now I want you to seriously think about it. If you lost your wallet how many of these items would it HURT to lose and how many would be ANNOYING to lose. Losing ID sucks as does losing credit cards and cash, but losing the wallet normally makes that happen. The other misc don’t need items is just insult to injury in annoyance. Ride thin and keep only what you need on you.
  • Write your name in something you own
      • Once upon a time [a few years ago] I got a phone call from the Las Vegas airport asking if I had lost my Notebook there. Having not been to Vegas in some time, I did not. They had found a notebook which had MY business card in it! I knew there was an internal VMware meeting going on that week and I knew who I had given my card to, so I took down the information and tracked down who the notebook belonged to. If his name was WRITTEN in the notebook or similarly on whatever item it was, they could have contacted him directly. The point is… take ownership of what belongs to you and you have a vested interest in :)
  • Travel in a group or at least don’t travel alone
      • Taking a step further beyond pick-pocketing, there are other matters to be concerned about.   Sure you should be fine if you are out at 8PM after an event, or even 10PM but the later it gets, the crazier it gets (e.g. Homeless Man Gets Sleeping Bag Stolen During SF SoMa Plunger Attack)   I sincerely care for all of you attending, whether I know you or not and want you to be prepared.   I’ve followed the ‘crazy’ that occurs on the streets in/around Moscone and SF downtown for years; do your best not to travel alone or put yourself into otherwise potentially compromising situations, it’s not worth the headache and heartache.   Though what you do get is stories like….
      • Last time VMworld was in San Francisco, It was around 11PM as I was walking back from having dinner with @Beaker and there in the Yerba Buena Gardens fountain was a man sloshing around knee deep in the water picking up change.    For those of you who follow my Photo Journeys of the world on Instagram and shared on Tumblr note I never took this photo.   Because let’s just say… Some crazy is best left observed and not documented with photos; the end result is me being alive to tell you this very story!
      • Be careful, any time of day or night.   But don’t be afraid to enjoy the beautiful city! 

    Some final notes, comments

  • For a number of years now EMC has been hosting an annual Dodgeball Charity Tournament #v0dgeball, raising all proceeds for the Wounded Warrior project.  Some of you may realize I’ve spent the past two years running the Infrastructure for the War Effort in Afghanistan and I’ve personally seen the impact that the Pre and Post results of this foundation is.   So if you’re looking for some fun with some technical champions who are also taking a stand for something that matters to them be sure to attend this event!

  • Book Signing!

  • Ever wanted to have the technical book(s) you love signed by their authors? Well guess what, most if not all of them will likely be attending, and may even be at pre-scheduled book signings (That may depend upon the publisher/etc so stay tuned for details on that!)  Having partaken in these in the past there are even opportunities for the publisher to give copies of the book away for free! (Including to have the books signed there) so take advantage of these opportunities on the show floor, we authors love it as well! <3

  • This is the ultimate in networking events where a lot of us don’t get the opportunity to see each other, perhaps but once a year depending.   Take that opportunity to meet those people you’ve talked with but never met, or meet those people you’ve always wanted to meet. It will be a whirlwind experience of non-stop action for the entire week the show is active but this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences for some people so it’s best to make this experience one to remember.   If you find yourself waking up in the morning, attending a keynote, going to a session or two, eating in the chow hall by yourself and going to your hotel following the final session of the day; You’re doing it wrong.  Especially if that is the case re-read this post and read the past articles below to make sure this experience is one which will change your life for the better.

  • Past articles with Tips and Tricks for attending VMworld!


    I hope you have a safe and joyous VMworld, Let me know if this helps, if you want to post any additional comments, tips, suggestions, Car-pooling, all that.

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    Posted in Education, Evangelist, Infinio, Twitter, vExpert, Virtualization, vmware, VMworld | Comments (0)

    Interested in becoming a SolarWinds Certified Professional FOR FREE?!?!

    July 2nd, 2014
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    Whoa, whoa, whoa wait a minute WTF? FREE EXAMS? WHERE DO i SIGN UP?! Hold a minute. This isn’t just an arbitrary free exam.

    SolarWinds Certified Professional Program!

    This is an arbitrary exam which comes with a Prep Guide and a wealth of training and education to SUPPORT your taking and passing the exam! <3

    Steps to SCP Success!

    Steps Steps Steps! Wow, it can’t get easier than this (Okay, it can!)

    The SolarWinds Learning Center!

    It all starts at the Learning Center which breaks down each portion of the exam into Exam Objectives with respective training, education, videos and webinars, books and reference material and a load of other resources like SolarWinds Labs to help prepare and educate you for success!

    Registering for the Exam consists of sending an email to the SolarWinds folks providing some details and then M-F within a decent period of time (It took me less than a days time) I received the link and credential information to take the SolarWinds Certified Professional Exam!


    And Poof, that’s it! Prepare, Register and then take the exam from the comfort of your own respective computer, no magical testing center to go to or lines to stand in!  If you think it can’t be this easy, I have to say, wow it is. So if you find yourself as someone who has or does work with SolarWinds or someone who WANTS to add that line item to their resume and career profile then look no further than this as a good way to progress!

    One cool thing I learned recently is that SolarWinds model is “Try before you buy” and all of their products are available for a free 30 day trial to get your feet wet and see if it does what you want it to. Fast, Ready, and easy to work with spells awesome!

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    Posted in Careers, Certification, Free, Technology, WTF | Comments (1)

    Tips for new or prospective authors in the IT community

    June 30th, 2014
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    Well hello hello, if you’re reading this you may be a new author, or a prospective potential author, good times, right?!

    As I sit here my 5th book published over the years I’ve noticed there are a few things which either isn’t done either through lack of awareness or otherwise from new authors and I thought, hey lets keep our community strong and grow ya’ll the best you can be.  Hopefully you find these tips useful because I sure as hell do each of these whenever I publish a new book. :)

    Create an Amazon Author Central Profile

    Whaaaaaat?! What is that?  Well new author you ever notice how the names of an Author on Amazon are clickable?!  And then you click on their name and it brings you to a page like this? It has an Author Bio, Copies of and details of your book(s), it can even pull your latest Tweets and Blog posts off of your blog!

    Christopher Kusek's Amazon Author Bio!

    This is definitely a good way to help build your readership, establish your authorship credibility and in general it’s a pretty cool way to keep track of things!

    Setting it up is actually really easy! All you need to do is go to Author Central and setup your account – It’ll ask you to “Add” books which you can do by searching for them or by specifying your ISBN.  They’ll validate that indeed YOU ARE THE AUTHOR on said books and if so, BAM! It will be associated with your account and your name. It’s actually pretty cool and something which is often overlooked!

    Create an Authorgraph Profile

    Whoa whoa whoa, what is this AuthorGraph you speak of?! Yea I never heard of it either, but one day I said, “Wow, it’d be really cool if there were a way I could SIGN the digital copies of my books that people buy!” I noticed Amazon didn’t have a solution #FAIL, so I discovered the lovely joys of AuthorGraph. What it basically does is it allows you to register your books and people can request a digitally signed copy of their digital copies of your books! Awesome, right?!  Note: If you have non-digital versions of your books (e.g., ones without an ASIN) you will NOT be able to register them.


    It is literally as easy as going to Author Graph, registering your name / identity, and then adding the ASIN of your books! BAM! Real easy, right?!

    Include the book and ISBN in your resume and on LinkedIn

    Wait. What does this have to do with my book? Well, This has more to do with your career and the respective advance of it.  If I’m reviewing your resume and it says, “This person is technical in nature and well-written” … And then follows that up with a published piece of work that I could peruse on Amazon or O’Reilly Safari? Well, hells yea I’ll give him more consideration as a technical expert in a particular field.   It’s just a viable way to continue to progress your career for your next big opportunity, I mean you’re an author you should be proud of that! :)

    Oh yea this was added after the fact… LinkedIn has an option to list books, associate it with your ISBN and if you have Co-Authors, you can ‘tag’ them respectively there as well.  Do it. This is a business tool, use it to expand your business profile. Who knows, you may get some new readers just from them checking out your LinkedIn Profile. :)

    Have your book rated and reviewed on Safari Books Online

    Self-promotion starts with you (Okay, that seems sort of implied, but it is true. :)) If you have a subscription to Safari Books Online you should check the status, rating and any respective reviews you have of your book.   It is not the largest library in the world but it is one often frequented by the Tech community and people take reviews and ratings seriously if they’re perusing looking for the next tome of knowledge to check out.

    Have your booked rated and reviews on Amazon!

    That’s a given right? I mean people will obviously read your book and be so blown away that they will immediately go out and write an awesome review of the book.  Well, except for when they don’t, or they’re busy, or they forget, or they just don’t want to.   Consider it like surveys, less than 2% of people typically fill out a survey, how many are going to go out of their way to review your book?   There are ways around that covered in the next section…

    Have your publishers marketing team get reviewers to review the book!

    That is part of the game. You’re a tech superstar who is in the business of writing an awesome book because you rock.  Your publisher wants to get that book out, one way they do this is by contacting ‘influential bloggers’, podcasters, various this and that kind of people who they send a copy of the book to to read and write a review, blog post, Amazon review / etc.   This will happen, it’s all part of their job as a sales organization.   If they’re not taking the initiative to get that done, suggest it to them and supply some folks to distribute to! Worst thing they can do is say no!

    Have your publisher give copies as giveaways for Conferences, User Groups, Podcasts

    Let’s say you’re going to be presenting at a conference or user group, or you’re going to be on a Podcast, you know… Whatever it may be.   Contact your publisher and say, “Hey, I’m going to be doing ‘x’ at ‘y’, can I get ‘z’ number of copies or a case to help promote the book, etc?   Typically they’ll say “Where do I ship?” etc.  Again it’ll depend upon the publishing house you’re working with but promotion is promotion and if you don’t do it, they more often than not will not go out of the way to do it for you.   So ask and you may receive and help promote things out further!


    Alright, let me make it clear here. Writing books (especially tech books) is not a get rich quick scheme. In fact it is not even a get moderately middle-classed slowly scheme.  It is a way to produce content to share and spread among the community to grow them as a whole.  All the while giving you a nice checkmark on your Life’s resume and career resume “Author… Check.” It is also not for the light hearted and may not be for everyone.   But that said, there are a number of steps which occur to get the ‘book deal’ as it were. 

    One way to start is to talk to other authors, or known authors.  They may have a hook-up especially if you have a good book idea.  I know the Acquisition editors to three major publishers that when opportunities arise or new prospective authors are looking to get published, I will often make an introduction.

    You’ll have to essentially submit a proposal helping to justify why the book should be published at all which the publisher will consider before they even accept the bid to have something written.   There are a series of steps involved I won’t go into too much detail here but the real key you should walk away with is, “What do I want to publish, Who is the audience for this book, Are there other books which exist like this already”.   The rest of it will really flow from that in a very formal and detailed document.

    Hopefully this has helped you existing authors out a bit, and gives some hope to you prospective authors out there. If you have other suggestions please do not hesitate to include them in the comments! <3

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    Posted in Author, Careers, vmware | Comments (0)

    500 Days in Afghanistan, a #vExpert retrospective from an #EMCElect

    June 30th, 2014
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    Wow, so here we are… 500 days, it feels like just yesterday I was getting here. Okay, I’m only kidding, every day feels like every day before it, and every day after it.   So let’s take a moment to roll back the clock and see what kinds of things have happened and perhaps some various accomplishments out here! (Like how I rocked that title like a branding whore? ;))

    Personal Accomplishments

    • Published two books
    • Completed a massive slew of Certifications including (But not limited to)
      • Cisco
        • CCNA (Routing and Switching, Security and Data Center)
        • CCNP Data Center
        • CCIE Data Center (Written… Can’t exactly take the lab out here can I :))
      • Brocade
      • VMware
        • VCP 5.0
        • VCP 5.5 (Beta and then the “Pass”)
        • Yet, due to the ‘class’ requirement I’m technically still NOT a VCP, yay right? :)
    • Finished 92 credit hours in a Bachelors of IT Security degree program (in a month) before I had to take time away to tackle other matters
    • EMC Elect for 2013 and 2014
    • VMware vExpert for 2013 and 2014
    • Avoided death by mortar, rocket, small arms fire, IED and any number of other VERY real threats for 500 days! (Woohoo!)

    As you can tell that is quite a slew of personal things to accomplish (And I’m only scratching the surface), there are more things on the horizon some of which I honestly am not sure what else I want to pursue and other things which I’m always actively working on whether publicly or in secret to share later!

    Professional Accomplishments

    When it comes to what I do professionally I have to be a little obfuscated or in some cases I cannot even share any details due to the sensitive nature of the mission but there are some things which I can disclose and albeit a small list I’ll try to here (Essentially taken from my resume as it’s pre-scrubbed)

    • Afghanistan Senior Technical Director responsible for Operations, Management, Engineering, Implementation and Support of the US Operational Forces in CJOA-A mission command
    • Provide leadership and direction for team of 100+ engineers and architects geographically distributed across 30 Forward Operating Bases throughout Afghanistan
    • Subject Matter Expert for Virtualization, Storage, Data Center and Networking, lead coordinating efforts for the Dec 2014 US Troop draw down and architect of the sustaining architecture for post 2014 mission
    • Direct oversight and operations of enterprise infrastructure supporting over 100,000 users
    • Define policy, procedure and operational requirements to sustain OEF mission

    This is equally a pretty awesome set of accomplishments, something I didn’t include in the bulleted list but I am particularly proud of, the fact that we have maintained 100% uptime. Yea you heard it, 100%, not five 9’s or three 9’s or one 8 and three 2’s, but 100%.  I do not include as part of that as scheduled outages where we were intentionally taking something down for maintenance nor do I include when we have a catastrophic site failure which is out of my control (Let’s say a generator gets hit with a rocket, or HVAC goes offline because its 140 degrees out, or someone decides to sever the network link) Yea, those aren’t included as a cause of downtime because there’s nothing we can functionally do about it, but operationally, configurationally, all of that, we’re talking about 100% baby! I’m sure if we owned the Network and Data center layers we’d keep their numbers higher, but logistically out of my control!

    What is next on the horizon

    Well, the question of what is next can be a difficult one to exactly predict, I mean there are certain levels of uncertainty and unknown but there are some things which are absolutely certain.

    • I’ll be attending VMworld in San Francisco this coming August
      • Will I be throwing a #CXIParty? A question I get asked often… well, … Maybe. You tell me, the logistical effort can be a pain to do from afar…
    • I will be going on R&R to spend time with my awesome family who will be living in (after having moved) to Nashville!
    • I will be spending (another) Birthday here in Bagram, Afghanistan. Oh the greatest place on earth to spend your birthday. Seriously. Not. :)
    • I will be talking to folks at VMworld (and as I currently am) plotting and planning for the next stage of my adventure when I am done with my mission here and ready to invest my time elsewhere.   I keep getting solicited and unsolicited offers from folks, keep it coming… I’ll find the right place to land my feet and make an epic impact like I have here (and everywhere else I’ve been)
    • Will I continue to be here in Afghanistan following November to see the final stage of the draw-down through and beyond into the Resolute Support Mission? That is really answered by the viability of finding where the ‘next stage of my adventure’ will take me. So that’s an unknown.
    • Will I keep being awesome? Definitely. You should too. :)

    So there you go, a look back and a brief look forward.  See ya’ll at VMworld! <3

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    Posted in Afghanistan, Brocade, Certification, Cisco, EMC Elect, Storage, vExpert, vmware, VMworld | Comments (0)

    How to stop VMware Tools Install en masse with PowerCLI!

    May 17th, 2014
    by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

    The other day I was looking at one of my SRM sites and noticed that a CRAP load of VMs were complaining about a CD-Rom mounted, and I was all like, “deh, what is going on!” Well, there was a mass-installation of the VMware tools in place, or at least the tools were mounted.

    This is awesome and all, but I didn’t want these VMs to have the tools installer active any more and instead wanted to CANCEL ALL OF THEM!  Sure I could right click on each VM and deactivate the tools installer, but this was for hundreds of VMs, and that sounds annoying.

    So, for your benefit and very simply…

    Get-VM * | Dismount-Tools

    Yes, it is literally that easy. :)  Poof and you’re done! You can call out specific VMs if you’d like, but I think you have that under control by now!

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in PowerCLI, Virtualization, vmware | Comments (0)

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