I was catching up on some blog reading this week when a particular post about VMUG leaders caught my eye. Apparently a few VMUG leaders in the community got caught up in the VMUG policy about leaders that if you work for a partner, No VMUG For You! (Seinfeld reference). One leader in particular went to work for Nutanix and was promptly shown the VMUG leader exit door.
Now I’ve long known the VMUG leader policy has heavily favored customer/users as VMUG leaders and partners/vendors were discouraged to avoid potential conflict of interest problems. I feel this policy came from the fact that partners/vendors are the sponsors of VMUG events, meaning money is paid to sponsor VMUG events and a VMUG leader could potentially play favorites or be discriminatory towards choosing certain partners.
In this case I don’t necessarily see this as being purely Nutanix biased, (VMware & Nutanix aren’t exactly best buds) it’s pretty much just the default VMUG leader policy. I was also forced to step down as well as a Denver VMUG leader when I joined HP over 5 years ago so I know exactly what it feels like. The very few exceptions to this policy (well one I know of) that I have seen tend to be based on what your role is at a partner/vendor. One of the current Denver VMUG leaders works for IBM but he’s part of their consulting group so he’s not directly involved in selling or marketing IBM products.
The same type of policy held true for when I was a major contributor at Tech Target, join a partner/vendor and they no longer want you writing for them, again there could be potential bias or conflict of interest. Do I agree with this policy, hell no, I think it sucks. You would think the VMUG leadership team could be trusting of us as professionals to do the right thing and remain neutral without showing bias or favoritism when it comes to sponsors. If you want to govern and monitor to ensure we do the right thing that’s fine, or better yet let our peers do it for you as there are multiple leaders in every city.
Now I can understand that the VMUG leadership team could just be trying to cover their butts but there are a lot of good people out their that work for partners/vendors that would/did make fantastic leaders and to exclude these passionate people from that position just isn’t right. I sincerely hope that the VMUG leadership team would soften their stance on this and consider allowing more partner/vendors to be leaders. I would also like to see partners be part of the VMUG Advisory Board or have a special Partner Advisory Board to provide an outside viewpoint to VMUG operations.
Well one could hope that things will change but they probably won’t, that’s how VTUG’s are born. I wouldn’t mind being a VMUG leader again and I am sure there are plenty of others out there that feel the same way.