The Atlanta VMUG Annual User Conference was plugged as a large event attended by an engaged and well informed community and it did not disappoint!
I’ve regularly attended local and regional VMUG events since 2008. Initially as a user, later as a speaker and lately as a volunteer on the leadership advisory committee. Atlanta’s Annual User Conference was my first time attending a VMUG as a sponsor. My employer is a VMware partner and we had a table/booth along with a square on the stamp-o-mania passport booth hopping game sheet, of which there were two, count ’em two, each with an opportunity to score a $500 MasterCard gift card. Not to shabby.
The event was held at the Georgia World Congress Center If there is one thing I learned during my short stay (<24 hours) it was, Atlanta goes BIG when they VMUG. Not only were there gobs of users in attendance, the vendors were keenly aware of this and showed up in full force. Our table was #62 of nearly 80 that were there.
As a customer I have always appreciated VMUGs and vForums as for me they feel less intense in the sense that the schedule purposely has gaps for mingling time and the format is generally open so impromptu conversations are easy to pick up. This creates a vibe that is less “edgy” and ensures that a trip down a row of booths will not feel like a carnival in which everyone is gaming for you attention. As a partner now, I appreciated the fact that the vast majority of people I interacted with at our booth did not seem to be in a hurry or stand-offish. I saw a great many actually taking the time to visit each booth and find out what each particular vendor does. Nearly everyone appeared genuinely engaged in a manner that was both mutually respectful and collegial. We as vendors have solutions or services to offer and the user community is generally receptive to learning about the options that are available to them. The back and forth with customer inquiries as to how specific technical or operational challenges are addressed demonstrated a well informed population with the skills and knowledge to assess the myriad of hot technologies coming down the pipe for VMware customers.
As this was just an overnight, out and back trip, I didn’t get a chance to explore Atlanta outside of my hotel and the venue, but I hope to return sometime soon to do just that.
My return flight home was scheduled to depart ATL at 830 EST… corresponding exactly with #vBrownBag start time… I did not want to miss this week’s presenter, as it was announced CTO @herrod would be joining, making it an extra special. Fortunately my flight was delayed a bit (#WhoSaysThat?) and thanks to the wonders of @gogoinflight once on board I was able to tune in to finish out the entire session. #Winning!