Rimmergram’s thoughts of the first day of VMworld Europe 2010

With over 6,000 attendees and 113 exhibitors, VMworld Copenhagen has beaten all previous records and is testament to the continuing momentum in the virtualisation industry.  The keynote was hosted by Maurizio Carli, Senior VP and General Manager, VMware EMEA, but was the same content and speakers, Paul Maritz, Rick Jackson and Steve Herrod, as San Francisco and wasn’t being streamed live as in San Francisco.  However,  the hall was packed and many people were blogging and tweeting live from the session. I spoke to many customers who were getting a lot from the sessions and the solutions hall had a lot of foot fall.

VMworld TV reported on the first day with my good friend and VCP#1 Susan Gudenkauf and Douglas Philips.  Susan interviewed me on my thoughts around Social Media, not just at the show but after VMworld and how people can take advantage of social media for ongoing education and information.  As a member of the London VMware User Group steering committee I said that the VMUGs provide an essential element of that ongoing community education. I hope it gets posted on VMworld TV!

Of course the other aspect of the community “spirit” was the all the Tuesday night parties!  I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the CA party as well as the Veeam one.  I fully intended to attend both, but unfortunately got held up and couldn’t make the CA one held at Wallmans nightclub, but did attend Veeam’s at The LOT – where I met up with many of the blogging community, as well as some old friends from VMware. I heard from a colleague that the CA one was awesome, it was a circus theme, so shame I had to miss that one, sorry Andi Mann L.

The strange thing is today’s keynote general session, that was published in the printed agenda, (but has disappeared from the online agenda) has been cancelled and replaced by 3 separate breakout sessions – I wonder why, does anybody know?

Anyway, onto Day 2 – where Tech Target will be announcing the winners of the VMworld Customer Awards later this afternoon. I hope it’s going to be another exciting and buzzing day!

Rimmergram’s first day thoughts of VMworld Europe 2010

Arriving at the Bella Center on Monday after noon, my first impression was that it is a good conference venue – everything on site.  VMworld Registration was a quick an easy process, no major lines like in San Francisco.  The show floor was still being put together but many vendors are here, so should be good.  The other first impression about Copenhagen is that is WAY expensive, as others have already blogged and tweeted about!  £40 for 4 beers and a diet coke is hard to swallow 🙁 albeit that was hotel prices.

I attended the VMworld VMUG Party at Custom House a great party venue on the water.  Well done to the Danish VMUG team for arranging and thanks to all that sponsored it so we could drink for free 🙂 Many of the industry blogger alumni were present including Eric Sloof, Scott Herold, Doug Hazelman, David Davis and  my old friend too, VCP #1, Ms Susan Gudenkauf.

However,  I do think Copenhagen does not work in the same way that  San Francisco and Cannes do for VMworlds – they both are locations where you can walk between VMworld and the hotels and you get more sense of a “community” in these two locations, walking around you bump into lots of people.  Whereas I feel, so far, that Copenhagen is quite diverse and disparate, and you have to take the metro to the Bella Center from most of the hotels, but will report more once I’ve been here more than 15 hours!

Looking forward to the keynotes today! And working on Centrix Software’s booth in the innovator zone.

Rimmergram #4 – Customer SoMe Etiquette

I have been amazed at some interactions on Twitter recently between vendors and their customers. Not so much vendors, per se, but their representatives.  The dialogues I witnessed were, I believe, just passionate rather than malicious, but it is important to accept customer input, comments, feedback – even if you do think they are moaning, bitching or just being plain rude.

As we all know and recognise Twitter is a massive public forum and it really provides immense value to us all in terms of knowledge transfer, insight and edification.  When imparting information, intelligence or just thoughts, you should always bear in mind that others may not share your point of view, or indeed may have diametrically opposed thoughts.  But if the person you are interacting with is a customer don’t be inflammatory in public – either DM them or get their contacts out of your CRM system and call them.  No matter how well you know a customer, or how many beers you’ve ever drunk with them, if you don’t agree with them, don’t state it publicly for the whole world to see and never retaliate by accusing them of moaning!

We are all guilty of responding to email too quickly and our reply being read in the wrong context, but that email had a limited audience.  So it is always worth re-reading a Tweet before responding just in case its tone could be misconstrued. While you might know you are right and the customer is wrong, they are the customer, you are merely their supplier. But as your company’s representative you have to portray professionalism at all times and that is a skill, whereas passion is an emotion – and emotion is a dangerous thing at times.

VMworld San Francisco and Copenhagen – which one will you choose?

There have been many Tweets and Blog posts (here’s just one example) about the two events being so close together and the impact on attendance and this is my view on the discussion. The general consensus seems to be the San Francisco VMworld is the “better” one as it has far more lab time, probably due to it being a day longer. But also it is the first one and therefore the news will be announced there and Copenhagen will just be a regurgitation of the San Francisco content.

Having the two events virtually back to back is a mistake in my view. Firstly, the perception that Copenhagen is a lesser event due to fewer days and secondly, because both events will suffer in terms of attendee numbers. By holding the events so close together VMware also loses the opportunity to announce major news twice in one year.

Other than lower attendance numbers, VMware also runs the risk of lower income from the sponsors. For some of the smaller eco-system partners, that would have attended both Cannes and San Francisco, having both events so close together is a huge impact on their resources, not just financial but also human. The smaller sponsors, in all probability, would have at least 50% of their staff, if not more, attend both events. They cannot afford to have those folks out of the office for over 2 weeks virtually back-to-back. The other consideration is the type of sponsorship package they would take. If the events were separated by 6 months or so, they would probably take a larger booth at VMworld SanFran and may take a slightly less sponsorship at VMworld Europe. However, I personally know of vendors that have decided to take a considerably smaller sponsorship at VMworld Europe as they too feel Copenhagen is a “lesser” event. This is probably mainly true of US-based vendors but it should still be a concern for VMware. One vendor actually told me when the decision was taken to move the European event from February to October that it would be the death knell for VMworld Europe.

Apart from the overall decision in timing to be a mistake, I also think the location is a mistake. Again, there have been many Tweets about the Copenhagen event being more expensive, for less content, than VMworld SanFran. In part this is due to exchange rate, coupled with the Nordic region being generally expensive. Moreover I think it is a mistake because Copenhagen in October can be pretty unpleasant weather-wise (this is true of most of Northern Europe, so I’m not picking on Denmark, honest!), and the event location is a distance from the main town. Whilst the Palais de Congres in Cannes may be a 1960’s concrete architectural nightmare, at least the location enables VMware to brand the whole area in the local vicinity and the weather in February in the French Riviera is most pleasant!

I do believe there must have been much debate about this internally at VMware and I think that most people agree with me (and many others) that holding the two events so close together is a mistake. But I do hope for the person (or department) that took the decision to ignore the majority of input on moving from February to right after VMworld SanFran, their decision will be right and we will be wrong. However, I will make a prediction; next year, if not the following, the VMworld events will revert to being 6 months apart again.

Jane Rimmer is owner of hiviz-marketing , a strategic marketing consultancy servicing the IT industry.

Rimmergram Blog #3 –Marketing 101

Well Tom asked me to provide you, his readers, some basics surrounding my black art – Marketing!  This post, therefore, is intended for readers that would like to understand how marketing can help their business, have a fundamental belief that it can, but yet don’t have a clue where to start.

Whilst marketing as a science is deployed in organisations in very different ways – depending upon budgets, size of company, company objectives etc. – there are some basic rules that apply across the spectrum.  I will share some of them with you in the hope that even if you’re an SMB with absolutely no budget assigned to marketing, there are ways that the “black art” can assist you. Continue reading “Rimmergram Blog #3 –Marketing 101”

Passionate about Social Media

I refer to a blog written by my fellow virtualization marketer VMCarrie where she discussed the trap of hiring an individual to “own” social media, or SoMe as I term it. As Carrie correctly points out, it is not just one person’s responsibility and it’s not a full time role for someone.

Contributing to this new wave of communications should be many people’s responsibility. But how do you engage the right people? How do you remove some people’s fear that they will express the wrong opinion? What boundaries are there, or should be, in place? Who sets those boundaries and guidelines?

This post is just my opinion and one that I share with my clients – some listen and some don’t 🙂 Continue reading “Passionate about Social Media”