Giving back to someone who deserves it

My secret project for the last month was putting together a gift for someone who would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it. That someone is John Troyer from VMware who helps out bloggers, vExperts and the VMware community on a daily basis without asking anything in return. John has helped me out personally many a time doing things like writing the foreword to my book, getting a question answered by VMware engineers or getting me access to a beta program. I had planned on getting John a little gift for a while now as a token of my appreciation for all the help he has given me and with the holidays approaching I thought it was time to do it.

After thinking about it for a while I thought I would extend this to other people in the VMware community who know and deal with John and have also been affected by his generosity. I had to keep it a secret so John wouldn’t find out so I put together an email list of about 50 bloggers & vExperts who might want to contribute. The plan was to collect a small donation from anyone who wished to contribute which I would use to get John a gift with. I also had planned on getting him an appreciation plaque as well but after doing some research found an online group card that everyone could sign and add their own personal message to.

The response was overwhelmingly positive as everyone thought John definitely deserved this. As a result we were able to send John several gift cards and printed copies of the online group card that everyone had signed. In addition Chad Sakac from EMC kicked in with an Iomega storage unit for him as well. So thanks John for everything you do for us, I’m sure you already know we appreciate it but sometimes its nice to get a reminder of it anyway.

Update: Here’s the video link to John opening his surprise gift.

Update: Here’s a second video link recorded a few hours later.


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  1. Eric,

    Can’t thank you enough for leading the charge in putting this together for John.


    Thanks for everything you’ve done over the past year plus and for all that I know you’re going to do in the future! This small token was just that — a token. There’s no way we can repay you all you’ve contributed to the community.


    • Rodos on December 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Eric credit to you for organising this! How could we not all contribute to show our appreciation to Dr Troyer! John you are now a rock star!


  2. Eric (and everybody else): I am humbled by your kind words and your generous gift. I read through the card and am truly touched by your sentiments. I do think we have a special community here that has coalesced around some amazing technology and people. I’m happy to get up and get in front of the parade from time to time, but it’s really about you guys and the drive and creativity you bring to it, and not about me.

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all. 2009 has been an amazing year, personally and professionally, and I wish you all a great 2010.

  3. Eric –
    Great job putting this together! It just shows what a “small token” from everyone in a community can become.

    John –
    My sentiments are the same as Eric’s and everyone else involved. Some of the things we got involved with were under your push, pulling kicking and screaming! You inspire us!

    Happy Chrisma-Hannu-Kwanz-ukkah !

    • Kyle Hughes on December 21, 2009 at 5:04 pm


    Great job in the organization of the project. It was pretty clear to see the amount of people that John has helped along the way. The unsung hero and very well deserving.

  4. Thank you for pulling this together Eric. You did an outstanding job.

  5. I was just re-reading the comments on the card. I’m really touched & grateful you guys are a part of my life & worklife.

    Here’s the video for the unboxing:

  6. Eric,

    Great job!


    Thanks for all you do for all of us.

  7. Eric- Thanks again for putting this together.

    John- Thanks again… for everything.

  8. John – you do great work, and are a solid citizen – well deserved on all counts, and thanks for everything you do for the VMware community.

  9. Oh – and Eric, was great to take the initiative you did!

  10. John

    I wasn’t part of the original group, but I wanted to throw in my two cents on this. You are a gentleman and a scholar, not to mention a great advocate for the virtualization community and most importantly for Vmware. Your devotion to expanding and enhancing the community are legendary and I consider it an honor to count you among my industry friends and esteemed colleagues.

    Keep up the great work!!!


    • Vladan on December 22, 2009 at 1:52 am


    Great Job. Well done.

    John, as a rock star, now you need a guitar… -:)

    Mery X-mass to everyone… -:)

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