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The 5 Things I Hate About VMworld

Two days ago, I threw out my five favorite things about the VMworld conference. As promised, here is my snarky collection of five things I dislike. Anyone who has attended will likely agree with one of more of them. A big event like this can never make everyone entirely happy, but it sure is fun to complain every now and then:

  1. Buzz. There is so much buzz leading up to VMworld, and this is not just VMware buzz. The entire partner ecosystem feels the collective obligation to make some form of announcement during the event. Now, I am even seeing companies making announcements before the event. I am bombarded with information about upcoming product announcements and briefing requests that it is simply unmanageable. The unfortunate consequence is that I have to try to prioritize what events, briefings or announcements are going on this time of year.

  2. Location. I've critiqued this before, but I would really love to see a VMworld event somewhere other than in the western U.S. Previous events have been in San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. My suspicion is that San Francisco will reign as the host city for some time for the U.S. event due to logistical support from Palo Alto. I don't have a problem with San Francisco, I just would prefer variety. Heck, maybe I'll start going to the Europe event instead!

  3. Scheduling. My issue isn't so much scheduling with the sessions, but trying to squeeze it all in! There is so much to do beyond the sessions, and there are great opportunities to meet amazing people. It isn't uncommon to be double or triple booked and have to decide whether to go to an event to meet Steve Herrod or another one with Paul Maritz. This pressure is somewhat relieved this year, as Monday is now a full conference day.

  4. Connectivity. I suppose that anytime you put over 10,000 nerds in a confined space, it will be difficult to deliver Internet access via any mechanism. The wireless access has historically been less than reliable and mobile phone users report the same. In 2008, my Sprint wireless broadband device was rock solid. We'll see how my Droid X phone does at the show.

  5. Venue. I'll admit that I am effectively insatiable here. Partly because I generally prefer to avoid crowds in very tight spaces, but also because I feel that there can be more facilities with more natural transitions from one event type to another, such as the general session to breakouts. This based on events at other facilities (again with point #2) that seem to do this better. The 2008 event in Las Vegas at the Venetian was okay by my scrappy scorecard, even in spite of the smoke from the casinos. The 2009 event at the Moscone Center was a little less than okay, but I do prefer San Francisco over Las Vegas.

This gripe list is not meant to discredit the hard work that scores of VMware employees, partner companies, event planners and facility personnel put forth on the event. If I really had issues with VMworld, I wouldn't go. What rubs you wrong about VMworld? Share your comments below.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 08/24/2010 at 12:47 PM


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