During Cloud Field Day 5 In April of this year, VMware was one of the many companies that presented to the delegates. Over the course of 4 hours, the company did a deep dive into VMware Cloud on AWS. Multiple topics were covered including compute, storage, DRaaS, networking, and workload mobility. Overall the presentations was well received by the delegates present and the resulting videos are very compelling. If you want a deep understanding of VMware Cloud on AWS, check them out.
Throwing a Wrench in the Works
After watching, you will likely come away with the impression that VMware as a company was very well prepared for the event and that the presenters likely spent a significant amount of time building their presentations, walking through the execution, and anticipating the questions they would receive from the delegate panel. You’d probably be right in most cases, but there was a slight wrinkle. Much of the day’s presentations were planned to be given by a single person. Jeremiah Megie, Senior Technical Marketing Architect at VMware was planning on presenting at his first ever Tech Field Day event but was stricken by the flu just the day before.
Getting the flu while traveling for work is bad enough; feeling guilty for placing the burden of your presentations on your colleagues makes you feel worse. I genuinely appreciate the awesome folks I work with - the real MVPs: @emad_younis @glnsize @sonaliddesai @VmwCharu #CFD5— Jeremiah Megie (@vMegie) April 12, 2019
VMware needed to quickly adjust to make Cloud Field Day a success. Fortunately, they were able to quickly find folks to fill in for Jeremiah. Emad Younis and Glenn Sizemore were able to take over and present in Jeremiah’s place for much of the scheduled 4 hours. With only a few hours notice, both were able to cover the material that was going to be covered by Jeremiah in very professional fashion and chances are that if you didn’t know about the last minute change in presenters, you would never have known. The fact that things went so well despite a last minute curveball is a testament to VMware’s exemplary preparation for the event.
The planning put into this event led to VMware’s ability to recover flawlessly from the last minute change and is a textbook example of how to prepare for a Field Day event. As part of every Field Day event, we engage in pre-event consultation and planning with the companies that are presenting. After having organized events for nearly 10 years, we have learned much about what makes for a successful presentation as well as what to avoid.
The Right People For the Right Plan
When a company commits to presenting at Field Day, we spend weeks assisting them prepare in order to ensure they have the best experience possible at their event. In general, we find that companies that pay close attention to our advice during beforehand and put adequate effort into planning their Field Day appearance receive high value from connecting with our community.
During our conversations with VMware prior to Cloud Field Day it was evident that they were putting a lot of thought into their presentations topics and agenda and ensuring that everyone involved was on the same page. I received a glimpse of this preparation during a call when they shared a draft agenda weeks before their presentation. I say draft, but it looked complete to me. There was a minute by minute account of what would be presented complete with title, description, and presenter. Most of the agenda at the time was filled with Jeremiah’s name, but anyone who worked at VMware could look at the agenda and clearly tell what the plan was for the day.
Field Day Time
On the day of the presentation itself, VMware had a single laptop setup at the front of the room with every slide deck loaded onto it as well as recorded demos and links to the various external resources needed for the presentations. I said hi to both Glenn and Emad who were preparing to fill Jeremiah’s shoes. I didn’t spend too much time talking to them as they were busy getting ready, but it was clear that they were confident that they would be prepared and ready to present on the content as planned.
Case in point would be the section that Glenn presented on VMware Cloud on AWS Core Compute. Even though Glenn is primarily focused on storage, he was able to thoroughly present on another topic that he typically would not thanks to a solid plan from VMware in terms of messaging and materials.
Clearly Glenn did not go into this presentation cold and rely solely on the slides that had already been prepared by someone else. It’s probably safe to say that despite being storage focused, he had covered core compute in conversations and presentations prior to Cloud Field Day. Regardless, the fact that he was able to present on a topic that is not his primary focus with only a few hours notice speaks volumes to both his and VMware’s preparation.
If you’ve watched many Tech Field Day presentations, you most likely have your favorites. If you ever feel that there is something that sets them apart but you aren’t sure what, the answer is most likely preparation. Companies that come into Field Day with an understanding of our event format and a plan for how to interact with our delegates and audience at large are usually the most successful and this preparation is reflected by quality presentations and interactions. Being able to adapt quickly to unexpected circumstances is a nice bonus outcome when you’ve done your homework.