Disclaimer: I recently attended VMworld 2019 – US. My flights and accommodation were paid for by Digital Sense, and VMware provided me with a free pass to the conference and various bits of swag. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated by VMware for my time at the event. Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.
Here are my notes on gifts, etc, that I received as an attendee at VMworld US 2019. Apologies if it’s a bit dry but I’m just trying to make it clear what I received during this event to ensure that we’re all on the same page as far as what I’m being influenced by. I’m going to do this in chronological order, as that was the easiest way for me to take notes during the week. Whilst every attendee’s situation is different, I was paid by my employer to be at this event.
My wife kindly dropped me off at the airport. I flew Qantas economy class from BNE – SYD – SFO courtesy of my employer (Digital Sense). My taxi to the hotel was also covered by my employer. I stayed at The Fairmont on Nob Hill. This was also covered by my employer. On Saturday night we went out and fought valiantly against jet-lag.
On Sunday I went to the conference venue and picked up my VMworld backpack (containing a notepad, pen, and water bottle). I was also given a VMworld-branded pop socket because I’d uploaded my photo for my badge to the portal earlier.
On Sunday afternoon I attended a VMware Cloud Provider Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Meeting. Lunch consisted of rice, chicken, fish, and salad. My manager saved the day by fetching real flat white coffees from Bluestone Lane. During the break I had some coffee and a choc-chip cookie. As we left we were all given a VMware cloud provider platform polo shirt and Keen wireless charging desk clock.
That night there was an attendee welcome reception in the Solutions Exchange. I had 2 Sapporo beers, some shrimp and some cheese. I also picked up:
- A Veeam stubbie cooler and t-shirt;
- A QNAP t-shirt;
- A Vembu t-shirt and water bottle;
- AWS socks;
- A Cohesity vExpert t-shirt and notebook / Qi charger combo thing;
- A Druva cap;
- A Red Hat cap;
- A Zerto t-shirt;
- A Zerto Gorilla Guide from ActualTech Media; and
- An Expedient squishy cloud thing.
I then headed over to the VMunderground party at Tabletop Tap House. I caught up with a few people and helped myself to 2 Coronas, 1 Firestone 805 and some bruschetta.
Before the general session I grabbed some coffee and a muffin from the Square. I also managed to grab a vExpert gift bag, consisting of one of those drawstring bags, a vExpert 2019 pin and sticker, and a Raspberry Pi 3. I then swung by the VMUG stand and picked up my VMUG leader gift – a nice leather notepad folio.
For lunch I had one of the boxed turkey sandwiches.
For dinner a group of use met at Osha Thai Restaurant. We convinced them to let us share plates from the set menu, and I had a bit of everything. For appetizers we had:
- Kobe beef wasabi roll with carrot, celery and mint
- Miang Kham Shrimp – lettuce wrapped with shrimp, ginger, lime, roasted coconut, peanut, fresh chilli, and coconut herb caramel.
- Vegetarian crispy roll – silver noodle, shiitake mushroom, cabbage and carrot served with sweet and sour plum sauce
- Tuna Tower – yellow fin tuna tartare with mango, avocado and sriracha sesame oil
There was also a really tasty Shrimp Tom-Kha coconut soup. And for the main course they served:
- Volcanic Beef – wok-fried grilled premium USDA flank steak with Thai basil, bell pepper in lava sauce
- Chu-chi salmon – pan-seared salmon fillet served with “Chu-Chi” fragrant and flavourful red curry
- Pad Thai – Classic Pad Thai noodles, tamarind reduction, peanut with choice of chicken or tofu
- Country chicken – stir-fried lightly battered chicken with cashew, onion, garlic and honey-ginger sauce
It was all really nice. These people put down their credit cards to pay for it:
- VAST Data – Howard Marks
- Dell – Konstanze Alex
- Aporeto – Gregg Holzrichter
- CloudSimple – Ken Drachnik
- Scale Computing – Jason Collier
- Gestalt IT (Tech Field Day) – Stephen Foskett
Thanks to Keith Townsend for organising the evening. I also had 3 Singha beers. I took a ride-sharing service paid for by Stephen Foskett and walked from his hotel back to mine.
On Tuesday morning I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend a vExpert breakfast with Cohesity CEO Mohit Aron at Grill in the St Regis hotel. I had 2 cups of coffee, and the “Local Farm” egg sandwich, with a scramble of organic Petaluma farmed eggs, Hobbs smoked black pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, and sourdough bread. We were also given a Cohesity mug that surprisingly survived the flight home. Regular readers of the blog will know I’m a fan of Cohesity and this was a great opportunity to learn more about Mohit.
After the general session I did another whip around the Solutions Exchange and picked up:
I had the box lunch again, which consisted of a chilli rubbed beef torta sandwich with avocado, black been puree, grilled onions, roaster tomatoes and cotija cheese on teller bread, a lemon bar dessert, and an apple. Later in the afternoon I stopped by Super Duper as I knew I wouldn’t have much time for dinner in the evening. I had the Super Burger with cheese, and a Pilsner. My arteries did not thank me.
I then headed over to the Dell Technologies Cloud & VMware VeloCloud MeetUp at The Grid on 4th Street. I had 2 Holy Ghost Pilsner beers and Dell very kindly gave me a DJI Osmo Pocket camera and 32GB Sandisk microSD card. Big thanks to Konnie for having me along.
I then headed back to my hotel and Howard Marks swung by in a cab to take me to The Orpheum to see Hamilton. I now understand what all of the fuss is about. Big thanks to John White at Expedient for the tickets. I took a ride-sharing service back to the hotel – this was paid for by Becky Elliot.
On Wednesday morning I walked down to the venue with Becky. We stopped at Starbucks and I had an egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich – it was just what I needed. I attended two Tech Field Day Extra sessions in the morning, and had 2 coffees and some extremely tasty Baklava (provided by Al Rasheed). For lunch we had Mexican, consisting of corn tortillas, rice & beans, house made carnitas, cheese quesadillas, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and house made churros.
After lunch I headed back to the Solutions Exchange for a final walk around and picked up:
- A Druva shirt;
- Some stickers, a cable organizer, and a glasses cleaner from Apstra;
- Some more Gorilla Guides and stickers from ActualTech Media; and
- A Faction T-shirt (one of my favourites).
I then attended a 3-hour VCPP APJ Roundtable event at the W Hotel. I helped myself to some bottled water while I was there.
For dinner I caught up with some of the Tech Field Day crew at Thirsty Bear. This is a taps-style place, and I had devilled eggs, pulled pork empanadas, buffalo chicken empanadas, bacon and corn flatbread, and bacon-wrapped shrimp. I also had 3 Kolsch beers. We then retreated across the road to the bar at the W Hotel where I had 1 Cal Lager. This was paid for by Stephen Foskett. I then took a ride-sharing service back to the hotel with Becky Elliot. This was paid for by Becky.
On Thursday my colleagues and I attended a NetApp EBC in Santa Clara. NetApp paid for our transport to and from the city. We had breakfast there, consisting of coffee, potato gems, bacon, quiche and a muffin. We were also given a NetApp-branded notepad and socks. For lunch we had 6 cheese mac and cheese, beef short rib, grilled chicken, mashed potato, salad, and water.
I had 2 Stella Artois beers and some crumbed prawns during the happy hour. We then headed to Birk’s Restaurant for dinner. I had 3 Firestone Pivo beers, blackened ribeye and mashed potatoes, and a shrimp cocktail for dinner. This was paid for by NetApp.
When we returned to the hotel we checked out the Tonga Room. I had a Fog Lifter cocktail, which seemed to have a lot of rum and crushed ice in it. This was paid for by my colleague.
We went for breakfast at Lori’s Diner and I had the Blues Burger. The blue cheese worked pretty well I thought. We then headed over to Pier 39 to check out some of the tourist shops and ended up having lunch at the Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito. I had the Tartare Tacos consisting of four wonton tacos (2 ahi tuna and 2 salmon tartare) with avocado mousse, summer slaw, chili oil, soy lime vinaigrette, and chili aioli. It was really nice. I also had 3 Kolsch beers. Once we were back at the hotel I took a cab to SFO and flew home via LAX. Please now enjoy this photo of a baseball card with my likeness on it – thanks Rubrik!