I’ve been a regular attendee of the London VMUG for the past 2-3 years and earlier this year decided it was about time I pulled my finger out and try to repay some of the awesome knowledge I’ve gained from other community members. I started small with a 15-minute slot on my Intel NUC home lab. I present fairly regularly as part of my day job, but mainly to smaller groups of 5-10 people, not 40-50+, which is definitely a different experience (see here)!
A few months later, Simon Gallagher (VMUG leader and Lego Fanboi) asked if I wanted to do a full session. In hindsight agreeing to do a session in the same two-week period when we had our financial year end at work and my family moved house, was perhaps ambitious to say the least!
In preparation for the session, the inimitable Mike Laverick very kindly offered to provide me with some #FeedForward, for a second time! Feed Forward (or #Feed4ward) is a great initiative started by a number of well-known community members including Mike, who saw the need to provide feedback to people in advance of their community VMUG sessions to hopefully give confidence and encourage them to present.
In my case, although I made a number of changes to my deck from the session, the biggest change was actually to approach the subject matter from a completely different direction. I had originally planned a simple intro to storage design, but when I ran it through with my colleagues, I bored even myself! I also had WAY too many slides… Bearing in mind that a #LonVMUG group tend to be pretty knowledgeable, this was probably not going to cut the mustard! At Mike’s suggestion, I instead concentrated on the pitfalls of storage design, and anecdotes about issues I had seen / experienced (whilst trying not to bash any individual vendors).
@alexgalbraith “I’m not bashing vendors, I’m just a really grumpy Scotsman” #lonvmug— Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick) July 17, 2014
This was much more interesting and I think improved my session immensely. When you have put together your deck of 176 slides, it can sometimes be hard to see the wood for the trees! The great benefit of having an experienced speaker go through it with you can often be a simple suggestion, but it completely changes your outlook! Once again I would like to thank Mike, and most highly recommend that if you’re reading this and are even slightly contemplating doing your first VMUG session, you look into the #Feed4ward initiative!
The session itself went pretty well, though I foolishly decided to use my new MacBook instead of my trusty PC for PowerPoint, and had some “issues” at the start, which threw things off a bit. I also learned loads from the experience; significantly more than my 15 minute spot in January! I have a bunch of tips and notes which have come together from a combination of the two sessions, but before this post becomes at risk of becoming TLDR, I’ll put it in another post later in the week!
Lastly, for those interested, here a copy of my slide deck:
LonVMUG Storage Presentation 17-07-2014 v1.1