While we wait for the Top vBlog results I thought I would shine the spotlight on several prominent bloggers in the community to give you some insight into their experiences with blogging. Today’s spotlight is on William Lam, automation wizard extraordinaire and voted last year as the #2 vBlogger in the world. Let’s face it we all have a lazy side and automation makes an admins job so much easier. Thanks to William and his great tips and scripts we can all become big fat lazy vSphere admins. After all wouldn’t we rather be working smarter than working harder and the great content that William posts on his Virtually Ghetto blog makes that possible. William debuted at the #25 spot in the 2011 Top vBlog voting and quickly moved up into the top 10 in 2012 before rising to #2 last year. William is also a genius when it comes to nesting ESXi and getting ESXi to run on a Mac Mini to help out all those home labs out there. So without further ado enjoy a Q&A session with William Lam:
What year did you start your blog?
[William] virtuallyGhetto was started in 2010
What inspired you to start a blog?
[William] In the early days when I was a system administrator, I spent quite a bit of time on the VMTN Community Forums helping answer questions related to VMware automation and scripting. As part of my day job, I did a lot of Automation and I found that many of the questions that were being asked were things that I had done before or things that I was currently working on. I figured that I could help others by sharing some of the solutions and experiences that I had so that the greater community could benefit overall. With my replies, I usually ended up providing a fully functional script that exercised the task or operation so the OP gets the information they needed but also got a working example so that it helps them out in their current situation. All of this was done on the VMTN Community forum and some static HTML pages that I was manually updating which kept track of all the scripts that I had written. As you can probably guess, this made searching and notifications of new content pretty challenging.
I eventually decided to start a blog after multiple comments from my friend Duncan Epping who really encouraged me to give this blogging thing a try. He had always been a mentor/supporter of my content and had even blogged about my scripts on more than several occasions. I figured by having a blog, I could make it easier for people to search for solutions to their questions and help foster a community around VMware automation and scripting which did not really exist back then.
Describe your early blogging experiences and how you have evolved over the years?
[William] I had initially only focused on vSphere Automation as a topic for my blog. However, being a technologist and loving to learn about new things and solving problems I quickly expanded beyond just vSphere Automation. I started to explore other areas and products in VMware’s portfolio such as storage, networking and management. Other popular topics that I have been writing about are Nested Virtualization, Mac Mini for home labs and just doing cool and sometimes not supported things with VMware products. I definitely enjoy variety and you can see that with the content over the years.
What has kept you blogging over the years and not quitting at it?
[William] For me personally, it is the continue sharing of information with the community and the constant learning of new things that really keeps me going. I really enjoy learning about new technologies and in turn I can share that knowledge which can help someone solve a problem. You get this circular effect that only makes our community stronger.
What was your best experience or fondest memory related to blogging?
[William] Honestly, there are so many it is hard to just pick one. For me, the best experience I could get from blogging is just a simple note from a reader saying how one of my articles or a script has helped them solve a particular problem. I really do enjoy reading those emails and makes it all worth it at the end. I guess a nice runner up is hearing from VMware Engineering and GSS Support that they use several of my blog articles on a regular basis 🙂
Any advice for others who are new to blogging?
[William] Do not start a blog to just start a blog. Write about something that you are very passionate about. There are still so many topics within the VMware and Virtualization community that have been unexplored in great detail, try to really differentiate yourself from what others have already done. Lastly, it is all about the content! The more unique and interesting content that you can produce the larger the reward in terms of readership, engagement and longevity of blogging.