For the past few years I have attended several New England VTUG/VMUG events as an independent blogger / technologist. This year, I attended the 10th annual Summer Slam as a sponsor through my employer and it has given me a little bit different a perspective on things. My goal this event was to promote awareness of the EMC Community Network and the EMC Elect programs and have a conversation about it. I do believe that I achieved my goal, but I also came away with a few big takeaways for next time.
Know your environment
For those of you who haven’t attended the New England VTUG, it is held in the high school of Brunswick, Maine. The main vendor hall is in the gymnasium, a room with no wired internet and shared power cords. One must be prepared because this remote location also does not lend itself very well to cellular signals (probably good for keeping the kids focused on schoolwork). The result of this is that both vendors and attendees would heavily rely on the wifi network, and after it hit full saturation, performance problems would occur. This also meant that there was no fall back for hotspots and mifi units. It became quite apparent that I had miscalculated when I was the only one trying to do live demos that required internet connectivity.
BRING A FAN!!!!!
I cannot stress this enough. It is very hot, and in the summer the AC is not on in the school (with the exception of the theater), so a fan will be your best friend. Vendors can use this to their advantage too. If you want to get everyone to come to your booth, give your patrons a way to cool off. The two most popular booths were giving away smoothies for attendees (competitors too) to drink and it was much appreciated.
All these fans however caused another issue … with the power. When you run several fans (and a blender) off the same circuit, you may overload it. And we did … twice! The NEVTUG staff was very attentive to get extra power cables run and reset the circuit breakers so that downtime was minimal.
Be Happy! Be Social!
To be honest, the majority of the attendees I spoke with had never heard of ECN or the EMC Elect. However when I spoke to them, many were very receptive and enthusiastic about the idea. One of the moments that really stood out to me was when a customer indicated that he was the goto person in his organization for everything, and he often did not know the answer. After I explained to him about the support forums on ECN, he lit up and responded “This is where I can get the answers!” Its genuine engagement like this that makes these user group meetings worth while.
Lets do it again
I had a blast talking to customers, partners, and even a few competitors at the NEVTUG. With news coming of a new VTUG chapter forming in Silicon Valley (and more in the works across the united states) I urge all my readers to attend one and have a great conversation.
Last week EMC announced their new community driven brand recognition program called EMC Elect. This nomination based title is bestowed upon members who bring added value to the community and is open to customers, partners, and employees alike. This new brand advocacy program comes on the heels over other successful endeavors such as the Microsoft MVP and VMware vExpert programs.
You may be asking yourself, “I’m familiar with this program from other companies. What does EMC offer to those who are voted EMC Elect?”. Well I’m glad you asked. EMC Elect members are receive benefits with 3 core values: Access, Exclusivity, and Status. This translates into all sorts of possibilities such as VIP status at events like EMC World, Access to a private community on ECN, a logo to display on your web page (or resume).
With the kickoff of this program, EMC selected 10 founding members who exemplify EMC Elect and offer so much to the community both online and offline. These founders (in no particular order) are:
This also launched the call for open nominations. By clicking this link, you can nominate yourself or a peer to be a part of the initial 150 EMC Elect members for the year of 2013. All that’s needed is the nominees name, email address and/or twitter handle (EMC needs a way of contacting the candidate ) as well as a short paragraph on why you think this person deserves to be nominated and what interaction was most influential to you. You have the option to share or hide your information from the nominee if you want (my personal opinion would be to share it).
Once nominated, the nominee will receive a confirmation email from EMC indicating that they were nominated and asked to fill out an additional form. This form is where you showcase all you have done so that the team of judges can get a full and accurate representation of all that you have to offer. You’ll want to let them know what product divisions of EMC you offer expertise as well as just how technical you are (you don’t need to be an engineer, they just want to know your level). Also indicate what forms of interaction you do (Social Media, Conferences, user groups, online forums, or other places). If you want to highlight a few experiences that you think showcase you best, you have an open text box below.
I think this program is off to a great start. EMC Elect has already received over 75 unique nominations just 24 hours after launch and I am honored to be nominated by readers such as yourself. You can nominate more than one person, and while a receiving multiple nominations helps, this is not a popularity contest and it is all about what you bring to the community at large. I urge everyone to please take some time to nominate yourself or one of your peers. For more information on this program, please read these blog posts from the Matthew Brender and Mark Browne. They are instrumental for the creation of and successful implementation of this new program.
A little over a year ago I launched www.thulinaround.com. I had never had a blog before. The closest I had come were some very lengthy forum posts and a cardomain page (the original facebook for carguys!). It was a new experience and I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do with it. I started off with my first post, a basic “Hello World” piece that introduced myself. Trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go with, I wrote about what was going on right then and there. I explained what a #nerdherd was, I did a video game review, and several posts on my involvement with EMC World 2011.
Over the course of the first 3 months I had a little less than 500 visits. That is not bad for a site that relied mostly on word of mouth and twitter traffic and no clear follower base. It was around this time I decided I wanted to write about technology and my interactions with EMC. As fate would have it, I was in the right place at the right time for one of my most historic posts. With the new MAC OS LION beta going out to testers, an incompatibility was discovered between that and the VNX. With the amount of calls I was getting at work, I was trying everything I could to get the word out asking for people to upgrade. I worked with Drew Schlussel on a post and I’m told I’ve set a speed record for getting something like this approved by marketing. This post gave my blog the shot in the arm I needed. My traffic increased 500% and I was finally on the map as a tech blogger.
Fast forward to today and I’m very proud with the number of visitors. I’ve gathered a little over 10,000 visitors and I’m averaging about 50 a day. My blog does seem to be a real Monday – Friday reader as I get single digit visits on the weekends. While I still blog on a variety of subjects, my biggest ones seem to be related to the VNX. Of the 36 blog posts I’ve made, here are my top 4 blog posts so far:
- configuring-ldap-authentication-for-unisphere-on-the-vnx (2,500 hits – 25% of my total traffic)
- are-you-running-mac-os-x-10-7-and-have-a-celerra-it-may-be-time-for-an-upgrade (15% of my total traffic)
Again I want to thank everyone who comes to visit my blog and look forward to my great posts!
Its been a while since Matt and I teamed up to do another installment of the I Tech Therefore I Tool Around Podcast. With EMC World right around the corner, we decided to preview the upcoming event! Being located near the EMC Headquarters has it’s benefits, and one of those is that many people were in town working on projects for the show. We invited two vSpecialists Jase McCarty and Dave Robertson to join us in talking about the show.
In this podcast we talk about several different subjects revolving around EMC World. We started off by talking about the vLabs, what went into them last year, and what we can look forward to this year. Jase is going to be head of operations this year at the vLabs and will be the man to make sure things get done. Dave has been up here working on a VMAX VSA that will be used as vLab demo this year.
Next we moved on to Project R.A.M.P. Matt takes us through the first big public result of his new role at EMC. For those of you who don’t know, Matt has transferred from Engineering to the Social Media team here at EMC. As of this blog post, Project R.A.M.P has gone live on the EMC Community Network but there will be mission for those attending EMC World.
New this year are BUZZ sessions. These short 20 – 30 minute gatherings are modeled after the TED Talks and will encompass a variety of subjects. Matt, myself, and several of the support forum legends will be having a BUZZ session on Wednesday, May 23rd @ 10:30 AM PST. Be sure to join us both in person and online (more on that later). In addition to the buzz talk, you will find myself and several other ECN members at the EMC eServices / Social Media booth and around the show conducting interviews and reports. And be sure to come check out the Bloggers Lounge and catch up with other bloggers.
While at this years show, be sure to visit the EMC Proven Professional area where they are offering 50% off the price of exams. The show floor will always have some great swag to give away, so be sure to bring an extra bag to fill up. Closing out the show this year will be another live episode of Chad’s World as well as a special concert by Maroon 5!!!!!!! I look forward to seeing as many people there again this year.
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So I have been in Vegas for a little more than 24 hours. I have done a lot of walking around, I have won some money, I have met up with many of my twitter friends, and I also got my first taste of EMC World. For those of you who may not know, this is my first tech conference, and I plan to get as much as possible out of it.
Today I learned my first valuable conference lesson: Wear comfortable walking shoes. Today I chose to wear a flat bottomed skater-style shoe. This was a bad choice and by lunch time I was already in the Walgreens buying a set of Dr. Scholl’s inserts. I may try a different kind of shoe tomorrow, but if my feet are hurting this much already, who knows what tomorrow will be like.
It was great to meet up with everyone. After having an amazing breakfast, we met up with Thomas Jones. He joined us on a trip around Las Vegas as we went all the way to Mandalay Bay to pick up our interop badges. After finding out the roller coaster at New York New York was closed, we made our way back to the Venetian because it was time to register for EMC World. In a matter of minutes, I bumped into Chad Sakac, Len Devanna, David Hurst, and Jeramiah Dooley.
It was then finaly time to start the conference off right. For EMC employees, we were treated to a short presentation from Jeremy Burton on the company message and what to expect from EMC World. This was also where I mett Dave Henry and Mark Twomey for the first time. Then it was time for the pool. I didn’t realize just how big the pool area was, but I got lost for a while. Eventually, I met up with everyone, including Kelly Lavin, Denny Cherry, Julia Mak, Cody Bunch, and Edward Haletky. This great group of people will make this conference even better. I’m not even 1 day in and I’m loving every minute of it. See you on the show floor!