The Often Overlooked Side of VMworld

VMworld is almost upon us. I am personally looking forward mostly to the social networking part and of course also delivering my first VMworld presentation (NET3160-SPO).


I wrote a summary post last year VMworld 2013 has Come and Gone where I described my experience from last year.

Today I would like to touch on a slightly sensitive topic – because it is a two edged sword (so bear with me please).

VMworld is the place where everyone comes to – it is the VMware show of the year, attendance grows each and every year and sometimes it makes me wonder if something new –0 something that has not yet been done before – will happen at this years show. Any and every vendor that is connected with VMware in some way will probably be there.

Have you ever noticed how many people change companies after VMworld? It is not something that I have performed a scientific study on – I do not have exact numbers.

It dawned on me – after a few conversations in the hang space last year - that several people were there to look how to advance their career. Some of them had specifically set up meetings during the show in order to interview candidates or to apply for a position.

And that is quite natural. I think that many of the vendors at the show are looking to recruit talent, talent that they have the option to meet in person, get to know them and see if they are a “match made in heaven”.

I will not be naming any names (of companies or individuals), but I distinctly remember at least two vendors that had recruiting agents at their booths, on the Solutions Exchange floor.

One individual (who asked to remain anonymous) answered my question.

Q: Do you know of any other people who changed companies as a result of attending VMworld?

A: Not specifically because of VMworld. I think the changes were already underway, or people were already thinking about it before VMworld. It just happens that a lot of key people end up being at VMworld. So I think it’s more a result of everyone being together at one place that helps make things happen.I’m sure the other big trade shows are the same as well.

Matthew Brender also got back to me with this answer (and he was so kind to offer that you contact him if you have additional questions)

Q: Did you change companies as a result of an offer you got during / after VMworld?

A: My job shift didn’t have to do with VMworld directly, but is a direct result from attending for the last few years. It’s connected me into the pieces of the tech community that lead me down a path. I began looking at VMworld and received incredible mentorship there.

.. I’m not sure of anyone who can trace their transition right back to VMworld. What I appreciate about that point is something I think you believe as well: your social good will does not come to a climax at VMworld. Success in our space is about *continually showing up.* Dots are connected at shows, though bonds are built over time. You can’t leapfrog the required effort.

I do think it opens up possibilities, quite a few – but that does not mean that just because you attend VMworld you will get a great job somewhere else. It does take time, a lot of effort and patience to build those relationships, maintain them and sometimes those connections will advance you personally and professionally – but perhaps not.

Why I mentioned the double edged sword before – is because it might be possible that when a manager would read this post they might say,

“I don’t want to send my employees to VMworld – they will get snatched away”.

This could be a valid concern. I would like to stress that this is not the purpose of this post and also why this concern should not affect your decision to send members of your team to VMworld.

  1. If you are afraid that you might lose your staff as a result of them being snatched up – then they were not yours to begin with. A satisfied employee will stay where he is – and this usually means they are happy with what they do, have security, are compensated well and have a career path in the company. If this is not the case – then they would probably leave sometime – so VMworld was just an opportunity that presented itself – and not the reason.
  2. Your employees will learn SO MUCH at the show, which I think outweighs (by a ton) the concern that they might go somewhere else. The benefits you will gain from them attending, the benefits your business will gain, the personal benefits your employees will gain from attending are well worth, the satisfaction, the energy, the motivation to try new things learned at the show, outweigh your concerns.

So for those attending VMworld this year – my advice to you would be go out there – and meet people, talk to people, eat lunch (if its edible) with people, chat with others even if you do not know them, you never how the person next to you help you advance your career.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below!

And yeah, one more thing. Stop playing the whole time with your phone!

See you all in 10 days!!