Early bird registration for VMware Explore Europe is open. From November 7-10, 2022, the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona will once again open its doors.
As you may have heard, there is a name change. VMworld will now be called VMware Explore. Hopefully that’s the only change, because VMworld has been the epicenter of the vCommunity for years and the bond that holds the community together at its core.
Live again at last
I am very happy that for the first time since 2019, this event can be held on-site again. The pandemic forced us to suspend events like VMworld for two years and replace them with virtual events. It was good to have this possibility of virtual events and the organizers tried their best to provide the community with information. But after two years and hundreds of virtual events, we’ve all grown a little weary of virtual events. This is why the term “zoom fatigue” was born. There’s a big difference between attending a session live and watching a recording.
The most important aspect of VMworld (and certainly VMware Explore) is networking with the vCommunity. It’s that one event where people from distant parts of the world meet once a year. You rarely see each other in person, yet it’s like you just parted ways a few days ago and can quickly catch up on previous topics. I met new interesting people every year and I keep in touch with them online as well. The central meeting place to connect with people is the VM-Village (at least that’s what it used to be called). Here you gather before or between sessions for a snack, a game, or in the blogging area. For me, the latter is the main networking area. Here you can easily get into talks with blog legends and VMware veterans. It’s interesting to get to know the people behind the blog or YouTube channel. In my experience, these are very friendly and modest people without celebrity airs and graces.
Apart from the official VMware Explore events, there is an additional social program that has a fixed place on my schedule. For example, the VMUG Leader Gathering, the vRockstar Party, the vExpert Reception, VMware Inner Circle Lunch and the VCI Day. In addition, of course, there are evening events hosted by the sponsors, who also compete head-to-head when it comes to partying. Many of these events are at the same time. You either stay at one show, or move on to party hopping.
Barcelona tips and tricks
Is it worth the trip and the money?
For far too long, the cost of airfare, lodging and admission had kept me from visiting VMworld. Until I decided to attend for the first time in 2017 to experience the spectacle in person. I wasn’t disappointed. I would never have expected the community to welcome me with such open arms as a nobody back then. Today, I have many friends from those days and look forward to seeing them again every year.
It is true that you can watch almost every session as a recording from your desk at home, but nothing can replace the personal contact and the conversation on site. Building a personal network has literally catapulted the way I work and my professional development to other levels. For too long, I had underestimated this aspect.
So if you are still in doubt whether to visit VMware Explore, my clear recommendation is to do so. Even if you don’t know anyone there. You will meet interesting people. Be open and communicative. One contact leads to the next and the next…
[Update Oct 2022]:
If you’re interested in social events (guess you are) please have a look at Fred Hofer’s blog. He maintains a Parties and Gatherings list on his website.
I’m looking forward to meet YOU in Barcelona.