VMworld Tips, Tricks and Prize winning #vmworld

July 31st, 2011
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Whether this is your first VMworld or you are a hardcore veteran with scars on your ankles to prove it.   The following series of tips should prove useful so you can have not only the most enjoyable and educational time, you also won’t need to get shin splints halfway through the journey!


      1. It goes without saying, but seriously I’m going to say it AGAIN and AGAIN. [I have 1000 cards on order just so I have some…]  Bring business cards! You’re going to meet and network with a lot of people.  Oh yea, and there are some contests which for some reason will want your business card instead of using a scanner… so bring business cards, you’ll seem semi-professional and you can ‘exchange’ cards that way! oh yea and BRING BUSINESS CARDS!!!
  • Leave your laptop in your room
      1. Exceptions: If you are going to be live blogging an event, bring your laptop.   If you are going to be live video streaming an event, bring your laptop.   If you unfortunately have to WORK during the show and need to VPN or Webex into something, bring your laptop.  If you are going to a session where you know for a FACT you’re going to / need to take notes which require you to use your laptop, then bring your laptop.   Otherwise.  Leave your damn laptop in your room!  It’s cumbersome, it’ll be heavy, and it’s one more thing to have to watch out for / get lost (which none of us want that!)
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes
      • I know you want to look sexy in your sexxxxxxxy shoes! We all do!    But if you know you’re going to be walking on Concrete that day or do a LOT of walking and standing… maybe there is a better time and place to sexxify yourself! [Yes… on some days *I* will be wearing these… which are my sexy+business shoes, but other days, I’ll be wearing my marathon running shoes because it IS a marathon out there.

OMG MY SHOES, oh what was awkward? @lusciouspear came over later in the week EXACT SAME SHOES including the same size!

  • Always Carry Water with you! [As suggested by @Texiwill]
      • Albeit we WILL be in Vegas but this applies anywhere, even when you’re NOT in the middle of the desert!   So do bring water, your body will appreciate it when trying to hydrate and stay fluid in your ability to remember, retain information and… keep going!   I would often carry a number of un-opened bottles with me incase someone else was thirsty, cmon spread the love around!
  • Don’t worry about what you wear
      • You might say ‘Oh no, should I wear that one wacky t-shirt or the other wacky t-shirt.   Unless you’re interviewing at the show or looking to be on the market [Some T-shirts will promote that ;)]  Just wear something comfortable.  I personally half the show will be wearing a suit. …. with cat ears.    So seriously. Just get out there and enjoy ;) [Except for the shoes, wear good shoes!]
  • Try to take swag you want, your kids want, your coworkers want
      • Swag is a rare commodity, did you know that? It can build or destroy relationships [bringing home 2 balls when you have 3 kids… yea destroy ;)]   There is also a FINITE amount of SWAG between T-shirts, random balls and squishy things, [there are infinite pens so don’t worry about that] or iPads.   Just because they’re offering up something think about who will want it at the end of the day.  I personally will end up NOT taking home a lot of swag because I can’t fit this crap in my luggage! So I choose wisely.
      • The T-Shirt rule doesn’t apply to you guys who intentionally pack NO shirts so you can wear swag shirts every day. Good for you!
  • Car Pool in Cabs to and from the airport or to Hotels or Parties
      • Seriously, don’t be the guy who takes a cab solo.    For one thing you’ll pay the full bill, for another thing there are a finite number of cabs even if it seems infinite.    Make some new friends, car pool if you’re all going to the same place [TIP: IF PEOPLE ARE WEARING A BADGE… THEY’RE ALSO THERE FOR VMWORLD ;)]  So Car pool away! It’s good for the environment and the economy!
      • Car pool in cabs from the airport, I need to call out specifically.  The cab line at the airport to get to the hotels is FRICKING LONG OMG.   So do yourself a favor and lump yourself together with a bunch of other geek looking guys, it’ll save you a lot of heartache and you’re bound to make a friend along the way!


  • Bring a Portable Charger with you [Also acceptable, bring a plug-in charger for your mobile device]
      • That device I speak of is called a ‘friend maker’.  If you have an iPhone charger and someone has a dead or dying iPhone [Let’s be serious, everyone’s iPhone is immediately starting to lose charge the instant you take it off the outlet ;)]   This will let YOU survive to find what’s going on where, as well as help someone ELSE survive as well!  The same could apply for various Android and their ‘standardized’ connections across vendors.    My portable kit would support every type of connection!
  • Enter contests to WIN!
      • Obviously you’re entering the contest to win, right?  No.  You’re not.   Contests at Tradeshows are a very unique science and if you’re looking to win you need to enter to WIN it!    A few tips for the wonderful sponsors, vendors and exhibitors on the show floor.    These guys out there have three ways to draw your attention.    Having good technology which really draws you in to want to talk about it.   Something shiny or pretty which lures you over long enough to enter into a conversation about it.  Or a prize which brings you over which you’d otherwise ignore their booth entirely!
      • I *only* accept shirts I will actually wear or happen to look really cool [see prior statement] but I’ll enter to win an iPad from ANY booth, I mean I deserve it right? [and so should you :)]    With that said, do not hesitate to enter into ALL of the drawings to try to win!   I mean after all we’re all winners right?  But what I’ve also learned over the years, if you want to increase your chance of winning take heed of the following few tricks.
        • When they have ‘must be present to win’ and it’s done by a random raffle number or drawing which has no distinction of WHO entered other than an arbitrary number, your chances of winning are in the clear!
        • If a smaller exhibitor has one of these must be present to win contests. BE PRESENT AND WIN.  I was in one of those last year with –4- people who showed up. Yea I didn’t typo that, and no WTF I didn’t win?! 1-4 and I didn’t win?!?! but seriously consider that, your odds can be AMAZING as opposed to just being another name in an excel spreadsheet :)
        • Bose headphones are crap!  Okay, seriously. I’ve won –17- of these Bose headphones over the years, WTF is that! And I just give them to someone to sell because I really like my $5 headphones which rock it out [though I may be replacing them soon, and/or having a contest at #CXIParty for these badboys!
        • There is no shame in simply telling them that you have no interest in their product and just want to win their prize, but do give them the benefit of the doubt they may have some new technology they’re going to introduce you to!   They’re real people too! Oh and sidebar. I love Intel and all, but their games of ‘talk to 5 people and you could win a pen’ sorry guys, that is annoying to no end, do not play their games ;)
      • I look forward to each of you winning an iPad or whatever happens to be the ‘toy’ of the show this year.  Maybe some kind of Android tablet [yea, as if! ;)]
  • Visit the EMC Booths to WIN
      • Disclaimer: This not a shill to get you to visit EMC booths
        • *I* Cannot win prizes from EMC it’s sad but I cannot, *shakes fist in the air* but YOU can.   There’s one thing I’ve noticed from attending conferences like VMworld or EMCworld where EMC has a large presence, and that is OMG EMC GIVES AWAY A LOT OF SWAG.   If they have 10 booths giving away iPads, that’s –10- different chances to win an iPad, OMG SERIOUSLY!?!  Yea you can imagine my dismay that I am unable to win one of those.  But you… you still can.   Which is why I encourage you to visit the hell out of these booths “Run a lab, enter to win an iPad” “Listen to us talk jibber jabber, enter to win an iPad” “blah blah blah, win an iPad” I mean seriously!   GET IN THERE!  I clearly won’t be doing that because *I* cannot win one being that I work here, but you have that opportunity like no other!   I would call out OTHERs who do this, but no other vendor has this vested interest in Apple Products as much as we do, so take advantage of it :)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if you can attend the Party
      • You ever go to ~10 Parties in one night? It can be exhausting.   My Party going started a looooong time ago while attending Microsoft TechEd conferences.  You know how I found out about the parties originally? I asked.   Just ask, and don’t hesitate to ask OTHERS if they know of any good parties going on.   I personally will see someone standing at a trade show looking like a lost lamb ready to be consume by wolves and will say to them, “You look like you don’t know there are any parties going on!” Typically they won’t, and I’ll hook them up with various parties.  Why?  Because you deserve to go to a damn party!
      • You know how the parties work [In spite of how this is operated by the Marketing People of these orgs which is a total fail]   Typically they will invite CUSTOMERS to their parties as an appreciation for them being a customer.  But you, you’re not a customer yet are you.  No, you’re not.  You may not know enough about the product, hell you may know everything and are signing off on it next week, but they don’t know that… No… they’re planning to invite customers because they don’t know the prospects.   Well, every single one of you can ALWAYS be a customer, and damn straight you should attend a rocking party as a result!
        • Caveats: Community Parties like VMUG parties or #CXIParty don’t care if you’re a customer, partner, competitor or ninja.   So ask, or if you’re afraid to ask, find me and I’ll ask for you.   Many of them will have ‘full venues’ but that has never stopped me before, grin.
      • 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….
  • What sessions to attend EVERY time!
      • I know my friends who are presenting the sessions are going to hate me for this… but hey, that’s why this is a ‘trick’ and not a tip ;)
        • If you KNOW or are fairly certain to believe there will be ‘interaction’ during the session. SHOW UP.  You cannot get interaction from a recorded version
        • If the session has something EXTREMELY applicable to something you’re doing right now, and also YOU have specific questions you want to ask about it, Definitely show up.  Hitting up a speaker after a session can make the difference between success and OMG WTF WHERE IS THE NUMBER FOR SUPPORT!!!
        • If the session has something you can win?! [yea that happens sometimes] … I encourage you to show up ;)
        • If the session has total a ROCK STAR presenting like Scott Lowe, Duncan Epping, Chad Sakac, or Dave McCrory – Run do not WALK to get to those sessions and make sure you’re signed up early for them!
  • Sit with people you don’t know during lunch, and talk
      • WTF is this blasphemy!  Okay fine, sit with maybe ONE friend and a whole new table at lunch.   How often do you get to meet ‘likeminded people’ who clearly share a mutual interest.  No this isn’t some cruel and sick speed dating thing, this is VMworld where people are clearly there for a lot of the same reasons.  Take advantage of that and talk to them about what THEY’RE doing. It may be the same, they may be doing something OMG so cool you’ll wonder why you’re not doing that!   You know… fun stuff like that!    So talk, talk, talk!   These might be the only opportunities you get to meet these folks, in this informal setting because talking during sessions is impolite!
  • Make 5 new friends
      • A charter I have for #CXIParty is you must make 5 new friends.   You’re at a conference with LOTS of people who share your same interest, the least you can do is MAKE A FRIEND.   It’s not that hard, it’s a true bonding experience and a great opportunity to build lasting relationships!   And if you cannot forge a solid friendship out of it, the least you can do is meet some new folks, maybe have a new ‘acquaintance’ that’s cool right? Don’t want to infringe upon your strict ‘no friends’ policy! I know how GRC works! ;)
  • …What do you mean people there are HIRING?!?!
      • If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past, surprisingly for as popular and fun as Virtualization may be… there are still LOTS of opportunity for people with those skill-sets.  Oh, and did you know that many of them will be HERE at the show looking to HIRE or network with those folks to hire later? yea, crazy, right?   Also if you’re in that market looking to BE hired, let me know and I can hook you up.  I personally know MANY of the folks looking to hire people so I can make sure those doors are swung open, maybe you can even interview there at the show! [Please refer back to dress-code as it applies to interviewing then ;)]
  • 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, Players club card from the Casino! – Just give them your ID and they’ll make one for you…  If you’re going to be playing at ALL get one ;)
        • 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 few months 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 :)
  • Enjoy yourself!
      • This conference is about you.  Not the Partners/Vendors/Sponsors [As much as they may want to think it is] nor even the speakers because if they had no one to speak to, they’d just be people on a podium!   Get out there, ASK the questions you want to ask because people do want to hear from you.   LEARN what you want to learn, WIN what you can win :)   And Enjoy yourself!

See you at #CXIParty and throughout the entire show! Be sure to come say hi of course! :)

#CXIParty at VMworld hosted by @CXI and @NexusMN – After Welcome Reception

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Posted in Apple, Big Data, Cloud, emc, Event, Virtualization, vmware, VMworld | Comments (8)

  • Small snacks are critical too! Helps keep blood sugar in check between lunch/sessions.

  • Amusica says:

    and sober up/build up tolerance.

  • By snacks… things like Bananas, PowerBars, etc.

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  • Rcoons says:

    Excellent info. I whole heartedly agree with “Leave the laptop behind”. You are impressing NOBODY when you have your face buried in it. Also don’t walk the halls using  your cell phone to surf the net and being oblivious to the people around you – you are being RUDE. We know you are a geek, you don’t have to prove it to us.

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