This year I got invited to speak at Ireland VMUG on Friday February 2nd. I have to admit I was quite nervous about it as I always considered presenting at VMUG a great honor – especially for someone as me; not really known in the industry… yet 😉
In summary, the whole experience was great, I got a lot of support from all members of the committee and the community. I think this event really changed my view on conferences in general and taking an active part in them.
Before we get onto what the hell I was doing there, let me introduce you to the concept of VMUG – VMware User Group community and meetings.
VMUG is an international, open community of VMware users, administrators and developers whose goal is to share their IT knowledge. The group’s main focus are, obviously, VMware technologies, however those are not the only topics discussed during the meetings and on forums.
VMUG provides members with opportunities to collaborate online and in person. A basic VMUG membership is free, but an Advantage-level membership costs $200 for individuals or $180 for individuals who are part of a larger corporate package. The Advantage-level membership includes discounts for VMware certification exams, VMware-delivered classes, Fusion and Workstation licenses and the VMworld conference.
Speaking, collaborating and taking part in VMUG events (both online and in person) is voluntary. The speakers do not receive any kind of monetary gratification and there are no paid tickets (while at the same time the amount of said tickets might be limited for bigger events).
I got invited to speak at VMUG because of my experience in working with data protection in the public sector (namely, one of Irish government’s departments) and the Ireland VMUG team needed someone with practical knowledge of GDPR regulations. The topic I was asked to speak about was:
Challenges of implementing backup policies in the public sector and future changes that will need to be considered with GDPR on the horizon
Oh my god, I hated the length of this one so much.
Anyway, I was given my topic about 3 weeks before the event. At first it seemed like a hell lot of time, however I quickly realized how hard it is to:
- avoid boring my audience to death with numbers, legal definitions etc.,
- decide on the presentation flow, amount of jokes, length of introduction, Q&A etc.,
- make the whole thing fit into 30-45min timeslot,
- create an engaging while still informative background presentation
I guess I must have succeeded on at least some of those points as the presentation reception was generally positive. The VMware guys who were attending the event told me it was really great. Personally, I don’t know – there were lots of things which I believe I could have done much better. Well, at the very least it seems I made my company proud.
Speaking of the VMware people – Paul & Vern – their presentations were great. If you’ve never been to any VMware conferences in the past, then you’re really missing out. Those were not lectures, we were not sitting around silently admiring the craftsmanship of VMware PowerPoint department. There were laughs, little jabs to competition, sudden technical problems (macbooks falling off pedestals everywhere I tell you!) and lots, lots of fun. While I doubt if the audience learned anything from my GDPR presentation, I believe they definitely improved their VMware knowledge and got to hear about many insider gossips going around regarding the future of the most popular products.
For me this VMUG meeting was a big step in my career as an IT specialist. I don’t know yet if I’m ever going to that again, but trust me, I really want to.
PS-1 Due to multiple requests, here’s the PP presentation I used as a background: click!
I promised already to some people to record the voiceover for it so stay posted – I might eventually do it.
PS-2 Because of the good reception I got after this event, I decided to take part in 2018 VMWorld Call For Papers – I’ll let you know in June if I’ll get invited there as well!