Posts Tagged ‘Preparing for VMworld’

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

July 10th, 2014

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!

45 DAYS UNTIL VMWORLD!!!

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!

Our good friends at Simplivity are having a giveaway too! VMworld pass and Travel Stipend, awesome right?!

Sign up to win a Free Pass to VMworld with Simplivity!

Contest details:

  • Limited to one entry per person.
  • One winner is randomly selected each week (7/18/14 and 7/25/14).
  • Each prize is valued at $3995.
  • Each prize consists of one (1) VMworld 2014 pass (to either US or Barcelona) and one (1) travel stipend of $2000
  • Limited to United States and Canada (excluding Québec)

See here for the full Contest Rules and be sure to register here!

FINALLY! vDestination.com’s Free Trip to VMworld by Greg Stuart / @vDestination ! ! !

Check out details here, and the contest runs until August 1st SO ACT NOW!!!!

 http://vdestination.com/2014/07/28/go-to-vmworld-2014-for-free/

 

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.

  • Oh and don’t forget to check out  the VMworld 2014 Gatherings, Tweetups, Parties and Activities page for various event details!

    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 (2)

    The Definitive Guide to Prepare for VMworld 2012 in San Francisco (+#CXIDinner Details)

    August 20th, 2012

    Wow. VMworld is a Week away! 7 whole days! (Unless you count events on Sunday then 6, or when I get there on Saturday, then 5!)

    But what does this mean?! Are you ready? Are you prepared? Have you gone back in time and read my Previous Posts on the subject in how to prepare?!

    Disclaimer: Be SURE to go back and read at least the VMworld Tips/Tricks post as I’m referring and citing data from there, but not replicating it

    I know some of you felt all of the content wasn’t entirely relevant to San Francisco compared to that of Las Vegas, so here goes … the Definitive Guide to Prepare for VMworld 2012 in San Francisco! I’ll try to cover everything which is important… Transportation, The Food, The Parties, the Crazies.  Yea. All of it.

    Packing

    It’s a whole week away, who’s thinking about packing now? (I know @StorageMistress is already packed!) and likely so should you begin planning for this!

    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!

    Transportation

    Whether this is your first VMworld, or your 50th VMworld; your First time in San Francisco, or you’re an old school native… Transportation is an IMPORTANT one to address.   – All of these rules apply especially going TO or FROM the Airport, so find some buddies and group up!

    Options:

    • 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.

    Taking a Shuttle:

    Many of you may not have known about this, it seems to have been a hidden fact for some so I wanted to ensure the details are documented here for you!

    The secret fact:

    • Here are the hotels which will HAVE shuttle Service (According to VMworld Registration Support Team)
    • Hilton San Fran Union Sq; Hotel Adagio; Milano; Monaco; Nikko; Palomar; Triton; Hyatt at Fishermans Wharf; Hyatt Regency; Intercontinental Mark Hopkins; Intercon San Fran; JW Marriott; Marriott Union Sq; Omni; Palace; Parc 55; Prescott; Ritz Carlton; San Fran Downtown Courtyard by Marriott; Mariott Marquis; Serrano; Sir Francis Drake; St Regis; Stanford Court; Westin San Fran Market St; Westin St Francis; Villa Florence; W San Fran;
    • Interesting facts I’d like to note:
      • This list is in Alphabetical Order for your convenience
      • This list DOES NOT INCLUDE SFO/AIRPORT HOTELS
      • This list does include the W. (Have you ever seen the W? It’s ACROSS THE STREET FROM MOSCONE) 
      • Take this list with a grain of salt.   I’ve heard conflicting opinions that there aren’t shuttles and yet I got this list… so find a good transport plan, commit and roll with it.

      Transportation
      VMworld shuttles between the airport and hotels are not provided. Conference shuttle service will be provided at select VMworld 2012 official hotels to Moscone West.  Service offered every 20 minutes during the following AM and PM Peak hours of the conference:

    Sunday, August 26 12:30PM – 9:00PM
    Monday, August 27 6:30AM – 10:30AM, 4:00PM – 8:30PM
    Tuesday, August 28 6:30AM – 10:30AM, 4:00PM – 8:00PM
    Wednesday, August 29 6:30AM – 10:30AM, 4:00PM – 6:00PM
    Extended Party Hours 7:00PM – 10:00PM
    Thursday September 30 6:30AM – 10:30AM, 12:00PM – 4:00PM

    Shuttle Drop Off: Moscone West Convention Center
    Shuttle Pick Up: Information on shuttle routes and pick up locations can be found at select VMworld 2012 hotels and at the designated drop off location at Moscone West.

    Networking and Sessions and Labs

    No, this section is not about Nicira or SDN. :)   

    For those of you who are veterans to VMworld or if you’ve never seen the inside of a conference session before.   This section applies to you, regardless.

    • Networking is KEY.     Chances are if you want to do something, someone there has already done it before and can share their experience.   Some people are sad and lonely and are looking for others to talk to about how they backup their Virtualization environment.   Let’s be honest.  You’re all geeks in one way or another and you have your particular area of focus, of interest, of… whatever.    And there’s bound to be at least a dozen more of you there who share the same interests, so it’s important to FIND each other, Exchange business cards and “buy” each other a drink at some Vendors Party    – Not sure who’s doing what you want, or on and so forth? Find ME. I know all of you and can help ‘matchmake’ you SDN guys with you other neurotic vCloud guys. :)
    • OMG I WANT TO ATTEND THESE 3 SESSIONS ALL RUNNING AT THE SAME TIME.
      • You guys know that the sessions are available after the fact in video+PDF format, right? Seriously? You know that right?!?!  Don’t kill yourself to attend a session which is full or 2 1/2 miles from where you are that you forgo eating just to get there on time….
      • I said this last year, and guess what. It still applies.  So don’t kill yourself for the sessions.   If you have to choose between two sessions which are applicable to your business, choose the one more likely to involve ‘interaction’ instead of rote lecture.    Or pick the one with the full-er room :)
      • I list a bunch of other very good reasons on this in VMworld Tips, Tricks and Prize winning #vmworld so go back and read it :)
    • LABS LABS LABS!!!    Some of you don’t have access to labs, or nearly the comprehensive set of labs they have here.    Since I’ve found it a challenge to get access to these labs Post-VMworld “Hey, we’re fixing that … yea I’ll believe it when I see it” – I encourage you to spend time going through the labs, learning the material… Camping out in the Lab room and just getting into the material deep! The Lab Proctors are GOOD guys who’ve been in the game a long time and can help you out with more than just your lab (shhh… don’t tell them I told you to do that ;))    So get your LAB ON!

    Friendships Forged in Fire and Wine

    VMworld is not just about Virtualization, Learning, Sessions, Labs and Networking.   It is about Friendships Forged deep, often over some kind of spirit and intensive conversation.    Battles will be fought, People will transition from Company to Company, Customer to Partner, Partner to Vendor, Vendor to Competitor; but with all said and done.   We are still friends.    And we stick together and get the opportunity to share in each others experiences again.    You are not excluded from this category.    If you walk away from VMworld without having met at least 5 new people, or forged some ridiculous potential life long relationship; You have Failed.  Yea I said it. FAILURE.    If you’re on a distribution list that I created and Managed for this event for internal communication and you don’t take advantage of the mindshare of folks attending in person to get to know each other and do business… You are failing your future, upwards!     So take those moments.   See your friends, Meet and Make New Friends, Think outside of your box and reach outside of your comfort area.    And if you need a push in the right direction, Find me – I’ll nudge you, introduce you and more.

    #CXIDinner, Cat Ears, and my Schedule

    This has been a question of CONTROVERSY for quite some time OMG IS CXI THROWING HIS FABLED #cxiparty this year.   The official answer is; no.    Why? Because San Francisco is RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE OMG.    And I would never wish that burden upon ANYONE, And I seriously mean ANYONE. NEVER, NOT THAT BURDEN.    You think San Francisco is Expensive, Imagine at SCALE (#CXIParty had >1200 people last year, where the hell do you store that many people in this city?!)    So, no, I will not be throwing an official #CXIParty at that level of scale like seen in Las Vegas last year (You can count on it in Vegas again though ;))

    That said though.    Here is what you can count on.    VMworld 2010 in San Francisco gave birth the creation of #CXIDinner – It’s very informal, very comfortable, very much a different kind of event, usually after all is said, done, and settled (starting anywhere from 10PM to 2 or 3AM… really depends on what we’re doing is over)    So you’re more than welcome to find out WHERE the #CXIDinner will be hosted on any given night.    None of them are (officially) Partner sponsored at this time, so you’d be catching your own tab, but we keep it honest, practical, affordable and friendly.    So if you’re a late night guy who is hungry like we all are, I encourage you to monitor twitter for updates on where #CXIDinner will be happening, or my regular @CXI Feed…

    FYI: #CXIDinner will be a daily activity occurring at some random variable time – No registration, just show up / notify / txt (630.362.1320), whatever. :)   Hopefully #CXIDinner veterans such as @HPStorageGuy will be there too! :)

    Speaking of Cat Ears; Yes I will have *many* of my fabled cat ears, my new Brain Wave controlled cat ears, and even a CUSTOM set of ears I’ll be unveiling early (These will also be my ears to celebrate my birthday coming in September.   – Let’s celebrate my birthday at VMworld… and again in Chicago on September 8th! :))

    Some of you may wonder “You keep saying come find you, but WTF how am I supposed to do that!@!@!@”  – Well, here is a copy of my schedule to make that a TAD easier… :)

    @CXI Schedule for VMworld

    As you can see I took advantage of the “Personal Time” which most likely involves me being on the Show Floor or diagramming something using random sticks or something somewhere, but either way… you *might* be able to find me in those locations at those times… In theory of course!    As far the “After Hours” goes… I’m playing that by ear.  It’s been awhile since I’ve NOT been organizing or throwing some kind of event so I like the freedom to do whatever the hell I’d like in those circumstances. (Yes I’ll be at the #VMUnderground on Sunday, you don’t have to worry about that! ;))

    Oh and I’m bound to head over to Chinatown for Foot and Hand Reflexology at the place which is hands down the best I’ve experienced, even across China and Asia!  So come on down – I’ll also be doing some vegan meals at random points too if you want to experience pure OMG.

    But wait, that’s not all!   Last but not least (Yes, as you’ll see this is an area OFTEN left as an after-thought…)

    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 [okay a year 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 – Which happened at 3:30AM a week ago)   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!  

    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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