DFW VMUG Usercon (my experience)

Usercon is an amazing event. Thanks to some of the leaders I was able to volunteer this year and be part of the team. This came with some discussion with the speakers, Talks with friends, hearing good speaker, and some good meetings with vendors in the solutions exchange. The great thing about usercon is that it comes accross as basically a min-VMworld (which it should!). Some of the sessions were almost identical to VMworld, in fact, our keynote was also a talk that was presented there. All of these things are what lead to some amazing talks with community, help with career development, and assist in basic IT needs. These are some of the many things that make this community so great.

The Keynote

Amanda Blevins did our keynote this year. it was focused on building your brand, but even more importantly building yourself as your brand. This was an interesting thought to me, as I had always thought that your brand is how people view you. However, I never truly gave time to think about what building that entailed. Yeah, sure, a Twitter handle and a blog helps, but digging in deep on the idea of “brand” reveals it as basically the perception of you.

Amanda’s talk was pretty eye opening, as I had spent my days busily fighting to prove that I was worth something at work, while at the same time, also selling my house. The endless hours of work tied up with the stress and fear of where am I going, what house will I be in etc. made her talk incredibly timely for my personal situation, and words I was ready to heed. One of the many take-aways I had was to create a sort of “budget” of your own needs and desires. We do this financially (I’ve been doing it daily since I’m buying a house), but we barely ever do this for our mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. To put it in short terms,

  • Sit down in a quiet room and center yourself (or meditate, pray, whatever to quiet the things around you in your life)
  • Now where do you want to go in your career?
  • How do you want to get to that point?
  • How do you want others to see you?
  • What makes you happy?  – This point is critical, as it drives us to achieve the other goals, but we also toss happiness aside for the others. So don’t forget this one
  • What makes you healthy?

I’m the sort of guy that goes all in at projects and issues. “You want my attention, well you got it bubba, Lets do this!!” tends to be my mindset. I’ll take the analogy of Captain Kirk – “leap before you look”. Its gotten me in trouble sometimes, but it is my nature to dive in to resolve issues. This made the idea that your “brand” is linked to your personal “budget” a new thought, but one I’ll be utilizing from now on. I’ll condense whole talk down to its most important take-aways for myself. #BeHappyBeHealthy


I love these people. Some of the best and most wonderful folks to talk to are always around during a usercon. Al Rasheed was the one I was attached to the hip with, as he and I met on the Twitterverse and found him to be a very kindred spirit. We both believe fervently in this community, in the idea of practicing kindness, and the importance of giving back. It was great hanging out with him and talking to him about all the things that he was up to both professionally and personally. Great guy to know.


Paul Bryant is also one of my go-to guys to talk to. I’m sure most everyone knows Paul, hes commonly known as “The NSX Guy!” but one thing a lot of people don’t really know about, is that Paul is a solid, genuine guy who looks out for others, and is a great friend. Even on this day, Paul was pulled aside on an NSX issue and realized the problem and fixed it within minutes. Very impressive… TEACH ME SENPAI!

I actually got to give back a little bit when talking to another person at the show about creating your brand, telling my experience, that was stumbling through setting up a blog, twitter, and then going through a whole ton of stuff where I basically vomited information on devops, kubernetes, containers, etc. Sometimes I guess just having a soundboard helps.

Other people shout outs to this awesome community are to @indylindy22 @KCDAUTOMATE (We will talk about vRA someday!), I got to talk to them at the dinner before the usercon, but not hang out at the event. These two got a vLadies panel together to go over women in the field. I don’t remember the title, which I hate myself for not writing down, but these are two people to know, as they are genuine people, know their stuff, and wonderful to talk to.

Basically, if you can go to a usercon or VMUG get involved and go. These are amazing people with great skills who would love to help you improve, grown, and enjoy life together. Come be part of the party.

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