It’s that time of year again, albeit a little later than normal, time for VMware’s marquee event, VMworld. I’ve been attending VMworld since 2008 and with the event again virtual this year I’m just not feeling any excitement about it. I wrote about my experience with last year’s virtual event (spoiler alert: I hated it) and it looks like not much is changing this year to make the experience any different. I cut VMware some slack last year as they did not have a lot of time to make the transition to a virtual event but this year they have had a full year to prepare for it. Perhaps they don’t want to invest to heavily in the platform and experience for a virtual event if they anticipate this will be the last year they need it.
To me this event just feels like a big webinar, it’s almost impossible to reproduce the physical event experience in a virtual event but I feel VMware could do more to try and replicate that experience as much as possible. The biggest advantage of a physical event is networking, in a virtual event that is much more difficult to arrange in a way that you feel like you are having meaningful and personal conversations with others. I haven’t spoken to old friends in years now, an experience I sorely miss.
Then you have the virtual solutions exchange, I’m sorry but those virtual booths simply suck. The solutions exchange was the standout feature at the physical event, walking around seeing what each vendor has to offer and the cool booth setups, running into friends, getting hands on with demos and talking to product experts. There is no way to reproduce that experience in a virtual event.
Of course the night life was always fun as well and that is another experience that you can’t replicate. Watching a band over Zoom feels like watching a band on YouTube, it’s just not the same as being there. Those late night hanging with friends was always a highlight for me and that is something you can only do in person.
So I registered again this year, albeit it very late as I really didn’t feel that rush to register like you would for a physical event. I scheduled some sessions, again since they are largely like a webinar I felt no sense of urgency to schedule them. My backpack collection just collects dust and there have been no new additions to it now for 2 years. My wall full of hanging event lanyards hasn’t gotten any bigger in 2 years as well.
I’ll watch the general session, some technical sessions and participate in the vExpert activities. Corey Romero to his credit has gone above and beyond to try and make the vExpert activities as fun and social as possible. But beyond that VMworld will pass quickly by with no new notable memories or experiences and to me it’s like it never even happened as a virtual event just isn’t the same as being there in person. So hopefully next year things can open up again and we can back to in person events which I am sure everyone misses so we can feel like we actually attended something and cherish all of the benefits that a physical event brings.
Stay safe my friends and I hope to see you in person again soon…