With two weeks to go before VMworld, I wanted to gather my thoughts around this year’s show. It’s been a difficult year for me in various ways, so I am hoping that the show is at least a chance to keep my passion around technology alive. This section is about how the conference venue change to Las Vegas threw some curve balls at me this year.
Edit 8/16/20-16: LIghtened up the tone in reference to my attempt at approval.
The past four VMworlds or so have been in San Francisco, and being in the SF Bay Area it was really convenient (and cheap) for me to go. Cost of a BART ticket and parking was all I really needed. Last year when I heard the venue would change to Las Vegas for 2016, I knew it would be difficult to get approval. Unfortunately I didn’t get approved even with a few interesting uses of PSO credits and summer travel deals. So I started to persue other avenues which mean 1) Obtaining a pass and 2) Funding my flight and Hotel
I was very fortunate to acquire a pass through another means and I got a good deal on a room and flight (still $$ out of the pocket though), but it still hurt that I had to use vacation. My boss is pretty flexible about working from home, but it doesn’t really do anything for me when I need to burn vacation days in order to file PFL for baby #3 in three months. I’ll basically be going unpaid for a week until PFL (SDI) kicks in and then I’ll jump back to work because I can’t afford to not work.
The kicker was that my boss was still trying to get me endorsed so he went to some internal architects to see if they wanted to endorse someone to go to the conference on their behalf. Guess who got endorsed? My boss. He didn’t want it, I’m not blaming him, but it’s a sad series of events. It’s now odd because we semi coordinate on events and sessions. I want to not play nice and ignore any coordination on vendor dinners or what not, but in general he’s a really good boss so I’m half coordinating and half doing my own thing. In general, having to go through these workarounds has put a damper on my mood for the whole thing. There’s a part of me that wants to just say f*** it and stay home, but I am too grateful for the pass to do such a thing.
Some more weirdness. I had to register for the conference using my work email since that was where the pass was sent to, my boss made me remove as many references to my company as possible. My name tag will have ‘blog.chrischua.net’ as my company. That gets a little weird when you start registering for parties and such, do I use my work email or my personal? I try to use my personal as much as I can, but some invites go only to my work. Not a huge issue, but just some nuanced issues. I guess I’ll have to leave my box of company business cards at home.
Lastly, I just wanted to mention some of the resources that could possible be used to fund a trip to VMworld from what I have seen.
- VMworld Blogger – This should have been my #1 goto if I knew early enough. They do ask that you try to get a pass through your work first, so you should be considerate of others prior to applying.
- VMware account manager – they may have a pooled budget for conference passes
- Vendor give-a-ways – VMturbo had a monthly giveaway, I just stopped paying attention once I was able to secure my own pass
- Vendor relationships – Current vendors, new potential vendors sometimes have passes.
I haven’t seen any good way to cover travel expenses. I have seen gofundme and other things like that, but for me I don’t know if I could go that route. If I was really strapped for cash maybe, but I don’t like asking other people for money for what is basically something my work should have paid for. Nevertheless, I have been lucky to go for multiple years so my outlook may be different.