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The Non-definitive guide to the VMware vExpert Program, Tips, Tricks, How to become a vExpert!

December 26th, 2012


What exactly is this whole VMware vExpert Program and what does it mean to me?! I know that’s what you are asking, because you probably did a search of “VMware vExpert” and turned up this VMware vExpert FAQ Page, or some of these great details outlined in the vExpert Directory.

But if you haven’t read those pages, or you want a little context on exactly what the VMware vExpert Program is all about, it is extremely similar to the acclaimed Microsoft MVP Program, the EMC Elect Program, and even the rarely heard of Citrix Technology Professionals Program!  Essentially, this is an award based upon your contributions to society, community, industry.   Going above and beyond simply ‘doing your job’.    That about sums it up!

What makes the VMware vExpert Program so special

The VMware vExpert Community is very much just that, a community of likeminded professionals who come together for the betterment of society as a whole.   It may all sound sort of altruistic but there is no more accurate depiction of the truth than that.    The community is filled with people who work tirelessly to help others, who are seen as and sought after as the experts in the industry, many of which feel they don’t deserve the accolade and others who work so diligently to ensure that their impact on those around them eclipses any benefits that may be derived from the mention.    The vExperts are the authors, bloggers, podcasters, troubleshooters, helpers, friends and family which makes VMware and Virtualization such a prevalent thread it has been transforming the industry ever since its inception.

A few of the benefits ‘granted’ to the members of the vExpert community are

    • Public recognition of the vExpert award with a certificate, gift, permission to display a logo, and inclusion in any public vExpert listing
    • Access to a private vExpert community of your peers
    • Free subscription to conference session materials on
    • Access to exclusive events, beta programs, software licenses, and other exclusive opportunities to participate in activities with VMware. vExperts do not represent VMware and are not required to participate in any activities

But those are just the *published* benefits, here are some of the unpublished yet fully realized by members of the vExpert Community

    • Priority Access to Private Betas
    • Blogger Early Access Programs (Including Deep Dive Webinars with Product Teams)
    • Influencer Day and Product Launch Briefings (Be on the inside track with the analysts and product launch embargoes)
    • Focus Groups with SMB and Partners
    • Special Opportunities presented by Partners such as Tintri, Symantec, EMC, Trainsignal, Tech Field Day, and more!
    • And a particular favorite of many, private vExpert only CTO Party and Briefings with the Office of the CTO and Steve Herrod at VMworld

But it doesn’t stop there.   Some of the extra benefits realized not by all, but by many as the form of opportunities tend to be

    • Special Access to Guest Blogging spots on VMTN and other blogportunities
    • Community Roundtable Podcast speaking opportunities and special guest access
    • VMware Press opportunities to be a Tech Reviewer or Author (They’re always looking for talent, and check the vExpert pool often)
    • Other Press sources opportunities to write and review (Sybex, Video training houses, tech blogs, Windows IT Pro, Speaking Gigs, etc)
    • … The opportunities are seemingly endless!

What exactly are the paths to being a vExpert

Since this is the non-definitive guide after all I can only go on what we know from the 2012 Calendar year which could possibly change.   But instituted as part of this cycle was a growth of the vExpert selection criteria to differing paths of Experts; Evangelist, Customer, Partner.


The Evangelist Path includes book authors, bloggers, tool builders, public speakers, and other IT professionals who share their knowledge and passion with others with the leverage of a personal public platform to reach many people. Employees of VMware can also apply via the Evangelist path.


The Customer Path is for internal evangelists and community leaders from VMware customer organizations. They have contributed to success stories, customer references, or public interviews and talks, or were active community contributors, such as VMUG leaders.

Partner (VMware Partner Network)

The VPN Path is for employees of our partner companies who lead with passion and by example, who are committed to continuous learning and to making their technical knowledge and expertise available to many. This can take shape of event participation, video, IP generation, as well as public speaking engagements.

What about the selection criteria for the vExpert Program

First let me start out by displaying what are a few caveats and considerations before I get too deeply into selection criteria.

    • The vExpert award is based on contributions during the past calendar year. Activities earlier than the past calendar year are not considered in the awards and should not be entered on the application form.
    • You can use the application form to apply for yourself, and an invitation form to invite others to apply. Everyone is strongly encouraged to apply.
    • The vExpert designation is not a popularity contest. Multiple invitations or recommendations are not considered as a criteria for the award, so please do not ask multiple people to fill in the invitation form for you.
    • The vExpert designation is given to an individual, not to a company. Your contributions could have been a part of your corporate activities, but your individual contribution should be clear and noted in your application.
    • Designation duration is for one year. Existing vExperts are not guaranteed a renewal and are evaluated each year along with other nominees.
      A committee of VMware employees chooses the recipients of the vExpert designation.
    • You must be 18 years old to be eligible for the award.

Now that we have that out of the way, here are some of the types of things they’d look for on the application in years gone past (for what would be the Evangelist path, As details of Customer/Partner and other evolutions for 2013 come about, I’ll be sure to discuss that as it comes…)

Contributions and Activities to materials such as:

  • Blogs (Blog posts you’ve written re:VMware/Virtualization, and contributions you’ve made to other blogs)
  • Other Writing (Newsletters, Books, Whitepapers, Articles, KB Articles, Tutorials, Guides, etc)
  • Multimedia (Podcasts, Videos, Interviews…)
  • Events and Speaking (Organized events, spoke at them, involvement, etc)
  • Online Communities (IT Forums you’ve contributed, participated in and been involved in)
  • Tools and Resources (Tools you’ve created, collected, contributed to, resources and guides you’ve created, collections, etc)
  • VMware Programs (Councils, Partnerships, Betas and other kinds of contributions)
  • Actions and activities having gone above and beyond (self explanatory)

For a little more context and details about what each of these lines might be asking for (this is dated) refer to this link for the 2011 Application

The vExpert Program seems amazing and I work in Virtualization but I’ll wait until next year

This is for all of you out there who have said that, or some similar version of events.   I know who you are, I’ve spoken with you a number of times.   You contribute greatly within the community, internally at a customer, or extensively through the Partner organization.   You’re familiar with the vExpert program but you say ‘eh, I’ll deal with that next year’.   If this were like a certification deciding to take action NEXT month or NEXT quarter wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this isn’t a Certification.    The VMware vExpert Program is a year-long designation based upon your actions for a calendar year.    So what does that mean?   By not being nominated or choosing to self-nominate yourself when the window of nomination opens, you are costing yourself on the opportunity for an additional 365 days.    It’s not to say that ALL those who submit are accepted because they are not, but if you’ve got what it takes and you’re a super star in your own right I cannot for the life of me justify you NOT applying.

Some people like to equate the VMware vExpert to a Certification and will often say “Eh, I’m not changing jobs any time soon, so I don’t see why I should do this”.    Yes, certainly like getting a VCP won’t make much of a different to an admin for life but an active Administrator who becomes a vExpert can gain that insight, that knowledge (and getting license keys for testing and all the worlds access never hurts!)

So if I leave you with nothing, I’d like you to take to heart a few tidbits and action items and I’ll share my own experience here

    • It doesn’t hurt to apply or self-nominate into the program.   If you’re unknown to the populace at large sometimes the first person to knock on that door and shine a light on your accomplishments has to be you, this isn’t about ego (Especially if you’ve accomplished all of the things you share in your contributions)
    • This is first and foremost a community, not a ‘corporate charter designated by a policy driven figurehead with stringent metrics to follow’ So what I mean there is, if things don’t go as fast as you want them to be, it is not as though this is an SLA you are paying for;  But we’re all in this together so lending a helping hand is never discouraged
    • Get involved.   Even if you’re objective is not to one day earn the designation of VMware vExpert.    Our community is only as strong as its weakest link and as we all grow and become educated we continue to prosper together
    • Even if you sit silent on the sidelines, get to  know the vExpert’s in the community and more precisely YOUR community.   These people didn’t become vExperts for nothing, they’re glad to help, spread the tech love and cherish and grow those around them

A few words from a silent cat

I’ve been a vExpert for as long as there has been a program (Technically not the FIRST year because I missed the submission deadline, but I digress) and every single year I sit back and look at the nomination form which asks countless questions about what your contributions were for the previous calendar year. (Submissions are usually a few months into the year, so remembering back to December let alone the previous January can be a chore!)   Every single year I look back and say, “Well, crap I don’t think I did anything, how can I justify or deserve being a vExpert for this year” and then it all starts to settle in.   In past years there’d be a request for your TOP blog posts or TOP cited reference points (limited to 2 or 3) and at first I thought ‘how am I going to find even 1 let alone 3!’ which then turns into “Ooops…. I did 20-30 things in the previous year, how am I going to pare THAT down!”   This is surprisingly a common problem within the vExpert Community of Evangelists.    Before the VMware vExpert program came to be, and long before it had broken out the Evangelist designation….  We were all evangelists in our own right.   It wasn’t our job to do this, we didn’t do this because we were trying to achieve or accomplish some targeted ‘goal’, We saw problems in the world which either needed to be solved or we solved and wanted to share our experiences.   We saw great things happening and wanted to make sure everyone around us was able to benefit.    We don’t do it because we have to, We even don’t exactly do it because we WANT to.   We do it because we are vExperts.   We are Evangelists.    We are community.     I think nothing speaks more truer to that than the VMware vExpert program having doubled year over year of number of members accepted into its ranks, and I know we look forward to that number continuing to grow with other passionate and dedicated individuals like ourselves to make Technology, this Community and the World a better place.

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Posted in Christopher Kusek, Cloud, Community, Ebooks, Education, emc, Evangelist, Geek, Microsoft, VDI, Virtualization, vmware, VMworld, vSphere | Comments (2)

When did Christopher get a new job as EMC Global Cloud and Virtualization Lead?!

November 23rd, 2011

You ever been there in a job interview where they might ask (the often contrived) “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  While I have honestly answered “Celebrating the 5 year anniversary of you asking me this question – Mitch Hedberg” , that doesn’t mean I do not have a ‘serious’ plan; something often overlooked by many who feel stuck and caught in the roles they pursue unable to see beyond the day let alone 5 years or beyond.

It is with no further adieu however, that I inform you I am currently *3* years into my 5 year plan, and I am ON TARGET and ON PATH!

Disclaimer: While I am indeed 3 years into my 5 year plan, I am –4- months into my new role, yea this post was LONG waited ;)

Introducing my new role: Global Cloud & Virtualization Lead, EMC Consulting

Disclaimer: I just call it Global Virtualization Lead because Cloud is waaaaay over used! :)

I know some of you might be saying the following:

  • Err, I thought you were already doing that.

Yea, or something to that effect. I get that; but the fact of the matter is, I have recently changed roles (August 1st to be exact) and I’ve been busy planning things like #CXIParty and working in the role to actually write this blog post.   I didn’t want you to feel left out and I wanted to share with you some details of what this means for me, you, a ninja named gerald; all of that!

EMC has a Consulting Org?!?

Yea,  can you believe it?  More than just a consulting org but one with a fairly extensive portfolio helping drive major transformation in businesses big and small around the world.    Wow that almost sounds like a pitch, but no. It’s not, but THIS IS! (giggle, no I’m just kidding ;))

I am very fortunate to join this organization and to lead a team of some *extremely* sharp architects, engineers, consultants; VERY Smart people who get technology, business and strategy; All the sauce which makes really cool things possible!    Allow me to help break it down for you a little bit, because… I feel like I’m constantly re-figuring some things out at times so I continue to move in those directions of Yay… :)

For the most part, EMC Consulting is broken up into a few key groupings.   

  • Application Infrastructure (Things like App Migrations from Notes->Exchange/Sharepoint, AD Consolidation, AppV/VDI
  • A2D2 (App/Dev on .Net, Portal Development on Sharepoint, vFabric, Java/J2EE, Windows Azure, App Testing, etc
  • CVDC (Cloud & Virtual Data Center is broken up in to several discrete components)
    • Consolidation (Datacenter Transformation, Strategy, Migration, Re-Architecture, Decommissioning)
    • Cloud and Virtualization [Hey, that’s me! :)] (Virtual Infrastructure Rapid Transformation, P2V Factories, Operational Readiness, Strategy, etc)
    • IT Service Management [ITSM] (IT Service Catalogs, Financial Modeling, ITaaS Transformation)
    • Network (Network Design and Consolidation)

There are also other groups which I’m not including here (This is not intended to be a COMPREHENSIVE COMMERCIAL for EMC Consulting) but instead focused more so on my team and what *I* do. Yea, I’m vain like that.

Interestingly though across my team within the CVDC we have a series of solutions and offerings which provide significant overlap.  Which means we work together on a *lot* of things, and let me tell you.   These are some total ROCKSTARS to work with.   Both within the Leadership and to the highest and lowest ranks of the organization.   Which if you know anything about me, rockstardom = yay!

That being the case we’re working on a lot of cross-competency overlap items which are huge today and will also be even further transformational come 2012 (For those of you who are not so familiar with what they may be! :))  A popular item which we’ve spent a fair amount of time working is this little tool called Vblock, maybe you’ve heard of it.   But more than simply being a chunk of hardware, we take it to the Nth degree in scary cool proportions.    Think ‘massive chunk of metal which theoretically can transform your organization’ and add to it the whole depth and breadth of refined methodologies driven by experts in industry to Functionalize, Operationalize, Portalize and Deliver with a clear and conducive Go To Market strategy! (Though not Goat to Market!)

This my dear friends is merely the TIP of the Iceberg, but it has been a ROCKSTAR Journey so far and that journey is going to continue WELL into 2012.

Where has this role taken you so far?

I know a number of you follow my Foursquare history among any other number of Services out there where you see WHAT I’m doing and WHERE I am.     Here is a basic sampling of some of the places I’ve been since I took on this new role.  I’ll also try to do this Chronologically. :)   This is also just part of the journey.   This will continue.  Oh and FYI.  With proper justification and good reason…  I could always visit you (if you’re a customer ;)) If there’s a User Group or something you’d like me to attend as well, so long as I can get a meeting in the area I could probably attend! :)

  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Las Vegas (VMworld! :))
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Franklin, Massachusetts
  • Bangalore, India (With Stopovers in Frankfurt, Germany; and Dubai – but only in the airport)
  • Singapore (With a return stop over for an hour in Japan)
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • New York City, New York

Where will the future take me? I already know I’ll be going to the following

  • Seattle (Well, Redmond) Washington
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Kansas City (I’m not sure Kansas or Missouri ;))
  • And who knows where else for the rest of the year.

So as you can probably tell … Yea, you’ll see a whole series on “Optimal Traveling tools” and further tips and tricks beyond my recent “Accelerate Intl Travel and Airport tips to avoid getting fondled by the TSA!” post I put out! :)

What to expect from you in this new role

I know that some of you are still waiting for my Career Blog Post, 2012 Predictions, Details on your Book coming out Dec 6th, EMC Consulting Exposed, and any other number of blog posts which you can clearly know and expect.  Yea, that’ll be coming.  As will also my break out to my trip to India where I introduce you to my India Team! And my local North America – where I introduce you to them too! :)

And now, so I don’t have an excuse to PUT publishing this off any more. I’m going to run with it.  You can find out the rest later, Cats off to ya! :)

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Posted in Careers, Christopher Kusek, Cloud, Ebooks, emc, Virtualization, vmware | Comments (1)

Engineering Software for Accessibility by making it accessibly free!

August 22nd, 2009

You ever been tooling around the book store or Amazon and came across this fine title?

Well, I don’t know about you, but the only thing better than an amazing and great title.. is a great and –free– downloadable title too!   And yes, that is correct! This book is now available for free download from Microsoft! So I encourage you to check it out, it’s only 100 pages too, so definitely a quick read! I’d like to thank our good friends at the MSPress Blog for sharing this!

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Posted in .NET, Ebooks, Education, Free, Microsoft | Comments (0)

June MSPress Free Anniversary E-Books available until June24th

June 17th, 2009

Microsoft Press 25th Anniversary “Free E-Book of the Month” Offers
This will be our last month to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Microsoft Press with a free e-book offer. This monthly offer can be found in the top right corner of this monthly newsletter. It expires on June 24, 2009, so download the e-books today:

Programming for Unified Communications with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2
By Rui Maximo, Kurt De Ding, Vishwa Ranjan, Chris Mayo, Oscar Newkerk, and the Microsoft Office Communications Server team
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Resource Kit
By Rui Maximo, Rick Kingslan, Rajesh Ramanathan, and Nirav Kamdar with the Microsoft Office Communications Server Team

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So, get out there and download the last month of free ebooks!

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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, Ebooks, Free, Microsoft, Technology | Comments (0)

Free MSPress Books for May til 27th, 2008TS and more!

May 20th, 2009

Thanks to the MSPress Blog!

Our celebration of 25 years of publishing by Microsoft Press continues this month with two more free e-books available for the next week! These offers expire on May 27, 2009, so download the e-books today:

Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services Resource Kit, by Christa Anderson and Kristin L. Griffin with the Microsoft Presentation Hosted Desktop Virtualization Team (PDF, 38.0 MB). In-depth and comprehensive, this Resource Kit delivers the information you need to set up, deploy, and manage a Terminal Services farm using Windows Server 2008. For more information or to buy the print version of this title, visit the Microsoft Learning website.

The Practical Guide to Defect Prevention, by Marc McDonald, Robert Musson, and Ross Smith (PDF, 4.3 MB). This practical, hands-on guide captures, categorizes, and builds a process of best practices to help avoid creating defects during the development process—rather than fixing them after extensive analysis. For more information or to buy the print version of this title, visit the Microsoft Learning website.

Note: You will need to temporarily allow pop-ups in order to download the free e-books.


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Posted in Baltimization, Blog, Christopher Kusek, Ebooks, Free, Microsoft, Windows Server | Comments (0)

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