In September of 2013 Scott S. Lowe had sent out a tweet & a blog post where he said he was going to focus on “Putting the User Back in the VMware User Group” or VMUG. Scott went on to sort of challenge other great VMUG Leaders & VMware “rock stars” to help in this crusade. He then extend an invitation for five people to contact him that were willing to be an apprentice per se under his guidance & encouragement to help develop the VMware user to speak for the 1st time at their local VMUG meeting.
Cody Bunch of whom I was familiar with from the #vBrownBag Podcast series, jumped right in by following Scott’s lead. Being relatively new in the virtualization community myself and knowing that I needed to extend my network and try to speak at a VMUG, I thought it would be a great idea to try to respond to Cody’s tweet. So I did. And he accepted me along with a few others to guide us on our way to doing better for the VMware User Group community.
How it Unfolded
Cody and I exchanged a few emails back-and-forth and talked about topics that could be brought up for discussion or presentations that could be used at my local VMUG in Houston. Although I was not able to create a presentation to share with Cody for his input and guidance due to current office work/travel, I used our email communications as my personal guidance to help me begin to be a better User within in my VMUG community.
I was still kind of new to the Houston VMUG and had only attended a few meetings in 2013. I quickly made friends with my leaders, James Bowling & Emad Younis at the meetings I could attend. I spoke to Emad a few times about a possible presentation or idea and he was always open to the Users participating more. I was passionate about learning more in the virtualization space as well as learning how the user group interacted so I began to attend more meetings. At this point, I thought it was fair to explain to my boss that this part of my job (networking with other great IT Pros) was of great value. I think during the 1st meeting I was able to get him out to (Top Golf) he quickly saw the benefits I spoke of.
How I VMUG
Even though I was still not able to come up with a presentation for the local meeting due to my work & life schedule, I still tried to be more vocal in the user group forum replying to threads and talking about upcoming meetings. All while still keeping in mind what Scott and Cody had set out to do for VMware Users. I can honestly say that my busy work life stopped me from keeping up with Cody as much as I would have liked. Yet I tried not to lose sight of my goal to speak at a VMUG.
James & Emad started to see me pop up more often in the Houston Workspace with meeting ideas along with a few soap box sessions where I was trying to rally the Houston VMUG troops to attend more meetings. I think this is where things began to change for me as a VMUG attendee. I felt myself wanting to rally the team & spread the word of our next meetings instead of just attending & leaving. I am pretty sure I was bugging James & Emad asking when the next meeting would happen. But like all of us, they too were busy and trying to plan meetings to keep the thirsty ones like myself happy.
Part of the Team
During a VMUG at Minute Maid Park, James and Emad pulled me aside to talk. It was a short but sweet conversation about how they would like me to join the Houston VMUG leadership team as a Steering Committee member. I’m pretty sure that my hesitation was nil as I gladly excepted to be part of this team. I knew something was up as they had both recently hinted “we need to talk soon”. I thought that was more about when was I going to make my first VMUG presentation, not what they had asked. I was pretty darn excited to say the least.
I honestly have a real passion for the VMware User Group and what it stands for. I believe that helps fuel what I would like to do or see within my local VMUG. I would like to think this passion was definitely detected by James and Emad and that helped them ultimately decide to bring me on board the Houston VMUG leadership team. I really enjoy helping others in the community when possible. If that help is via this blog or within the VMware community or just within the local VMUG meeting that day, I feel it’s still worth me speaking up or at least trying to answer someones question. It’s sort of my way of returning the favor for help that I may have been given online or through a community meeting.
The funny part of the story I think is that I still have yet to have my first VMUG presentation. Time has just not permitted that to happen yet but trust me it will. I do feel though that I slightly made up for missing the local presentations so far by participating in #vBrownBag Tech Talks at VMworld San Francisco 2014.
Although my talk this year was hardly technical and more life or family oriented, it was a hell of a lot of fun and very well received within the community and those locally that day in the Hang Space. I appreciate Cody & Alastair and the rest of the #vBrownBag team who gave me the chance to speak at such a huge event. Thank You. I also appreciate James & Emad for thinking that I was someone they could trust to be part of their VMUG team. I foresee great things in the future for the Houston VMUG and I hope to be part of helping that greatness.
This is how I VMUG!