Tag Archive for VMUG

I Presented at a VMUG and Survived… you can too!

Sitting on the train on my return from another awesome London VMUG event, and I thought I would jot down a few thoughts about the day, and the prep for it.

Firstly I want to say a big thank you to Mike Laverick. He and a number of other key VMware community members (Duncan Epping, Scott Lowe, Hans De Leenheer) have recently started a new programme they call #FeedForward. As the name suggests its all about helping others, specifically people who have not previously presented at a VMUG. As part of the process, the mentor (Mike) initially provided feedback to the mentee (me) on my slides. Once I had them ready to go, I then did a practice session over Skype / phone with Mike where he gave me some valuable feedback and suggestions where the presentation could be tweaked, and some ideas for content I hadn’t even thought of.

The benefits to me were two-fold. Having that second pair of eyes on my slides and presentation from someone who does this day in day out gave me confidence that the content was up to par. Then having a practice run in a zero-pressure environment where the audience understands the subject matter and gives you constructive feedback is absolutely invaluable! I would have asked my wife but having her fall asleep mid presentation through boredom would not have done my confidence any good… (She is definitely not into tech!) 🙂

Just before I got up I was a wee bit nervous, but much like a wedding speech, its worth remembering that the VMUG audience at a community session really want the speaker to succeed. It’s unlikely you will find a more friendly and willing audience in almost any other situation.

I was meant to be presenting a 10 minute lightning talk, but even in practice runs at home I was coming in a little over time, even skipping some bits of the content which were less important. On the day one of the other presenters (Simon Gallagher – VMUG leader and Lego aficionado) had toothache, so myself, Frank and Erik actually had a bit of leeway on timings. Being a bit of a gab anyway my presentation was about 15 mins. This did teach me one valuable lesson; even if you plan your presentation to the minute in advance, things never quite work out that way! You are likely to be asked questions, stopped mid flow, projectors turn themselves off and start smelling a bit smokey etc… the best thing to do is plan a shorter presentation as you will undoubtedly use all the time! On the same vein, when it comes to slides less is most definitely more. I had 14 slides and in hindsight, I was never going to get through them all in 10 minutes!

One other tip which Duncan Epping gave recently and I definitely agree with is to practice your presentation a few times through in advance, but don’t over-practice and end up being too robotic. Everyone has their own style but I like to use the slides as a talking point and guide, rather than planning word-for-word what I’m going to say.

Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience in the end and one I would highly recommend. I have had a great deal of help, support and learning from the community over the past few years, and its only right I should try to give something back.

Should you be considering whether to put your name forward to present at a VMUG in future (or indeed you are being politely but firmly press ganged by your local VMUG leaders… *cough* Alaric! *cough*) then I would definitely recommend you grab the opportunity with both hands, and post a tweet to #FeedForward on twitter if you want a little bit of extra support.

For more info on #FeedForward, see Mike’s blog post here:

You can also grab a copy of my presentation here:
Alex Galbraith – LonVMUG Presentation 23-01-2014

Come along for my first VMUG Presentation! #LonVMUG 23rd Jan 2014

Its that time of year again, when we all look forward to the imminent arrival of our local VMUG. In my case it’s the Spring London VMUG being held next Thursday the 23rd January 2014, at 33 Queen Street, London, EC4R 1AP. Unusually (and slightly nerve wracking-ly) for me this time, I am actually going to be presenting!

For those of you who haven’t previously attended, a VMUG is a great place to:

  • Meet and swap ideas with like minded virtualisation professionals and put real faces to all thee people you already know from the Twitters!
  • See some great presentations from other community members on both technology and experiences, such as LEGO’s recent data centre migration.
  • Attend vendor presentations on new and existing technologies / products, which this month includes technical heavyweight Frank Denneman talking about PernixData’s Flash Virtualization Platform.

My session will be a 10 minute lightning talk on my experiences with my Intel NUC Nanolab. I was a little nervous about it, right up until I found out I am going to be following Frank Denneman on stage, so now I’m bricking it! I would probably describe the situation as being like watching a Rolling Stones gig, then some random school kid wanders on stage with a tired old Squier Strat and vaguely bangs out a tune, but I’ll do my best!

Of course, after the VMUG it is tradition for us all to pop along to a local watering hole to set the virtualisation and tech worlds to rights, over a few vBeers. If you can spare the time these are great things to attend.

However you look at it VMUGs are great FREE events, organised in their spare time by some very generous people. If you can get the time out of the office, and make it to the venue you won’t be disappointed!

If you see me at the London VMUG or the subsequent vBeers, don’t hesitate to come and say hi; you cant miss me, I’m 6’7″! 🙂

Register here: London VMUG

UK VMUG – 21st November 2013

Just a quick reminder about the upcoming UK VMUG at the National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Road Bickenhill, Solihull, B92 0EJ on 21st November (kicking off the night before with the Veeam vCurry for those in the area – registration required I believe).

For those of you who haven’t previously attended, a VMUG is a great place to:

  • Meet and swap ideas with other virtualisation professionals in the community. A great opportunity to put real faces to all those twitterati with whom you have had many conversations with over time, but aren’t quite sure what they actually look like (especially if they’re particularly selective about which photos they use)! 🙂
  • See some great presentations from other community members. Some of my most memorable have been things like the community discussion after the announcement of vCHS, network virtualisation from Greg Ferro (one of the best tech presentations I’ve been fortunate enough to attend, anywhere!), and Scott Lowe’s inspiring closing keynote on learning at last years event.
  • See some very interesting vendor presentation. Usually there are a variety so its a good way to keep up on the latest developments. Also they help pay for the events, so love em or hate em, the vendors make it possible!

The agenda is available here:
UK VMUG Agenda – 21st Nov 2013

I’m most looking forward to Knowledge Exchange by Duncan Epping (last years one was very interesting) and VMware Virtual SAN – All You Wanted to Know by Cormac Hogan. Unfortunately they’re both scheduled at the same time, so will have to make a call on the day! 🙁

Greg Ferro is also a great speaker, so his closing keynote is one to stay for.

Of the other sessions, I think the following look very interesting:

  • Securing VMware Virtual Environments, Sam McGeown
  • Introduction to Overlay Networking, Greg Ferro
  • NSX Technical, VMware – Scott Lowe
  • Data In; Data Out – vCHS, VMware – Mike Laverick

As always the quality and choice means I will ultimately end up missing some sessions due to not being able to be in two places at once. An enviable position when you think about it!

However you look at it, VMUGs are great FREE events organised in their spare time by some very generous people (Jane Rimmer, Alaric Davies, Stuart Thompson, Simon Gallagher & Martyn Storey). If you can get the time out of the office, and make it to the venue I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Register for UK VMUG here, get the latest news by following @LonVMUG on Twitter and don’t forget to join in the conversation throughout the day using the hashtag #ukvmug

If you see me at the UK VMUG or (if I make it) the vCurry night before, don’t hesitate to come and say hi; you cant miss me, I’m 6’7″!

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