Category Archives: Blogging

VMworld 2010: Day 1 – Virtual Roads. Actual Clouds

VMworld 2010: Day 1 – Virtual Roads. Actual Clouds

Although the opening reception was not until 4 pm, the excitement was already building here at Moscone Center in San Francisco at 8 am. There were hundreds in line at that time, though it was pretty efficient: step up to a computer, type in your first and last name, step over to pick up your badge, then down the hall for The “Swag Loading Zone” and bag collection.

John Troyer, VMware

As in years before, VMworld is very “social media friendly” and there is a “Social Media & Blogger Lounge.” My old friend from VMware, John Troyer is setting up his list of experts. VMware will be streaming 6 hours of video a day.

The earliest sessions are around Partners. The Partner Super Session was huge, I’ll tell you about it in my next blog article.

The facilities at the Moscone Center in San Francisco are well organized and there is free WiFi connection for all. However, the reality is another thing. Virtually everyone (no pun intended) here is carrying at least one and probably two WiFi devices, so the router access points were soon saturated.

The handhelds on hand (pun intended) this year look like this: BlackBerry, iPhone, Android devices. Auxiliary devices: iPad (which I’m writing this article on), laptops and kiosk Wyse terminals around the venue.

The Solutions Exhibition is huge. Cisco is front and center, flanked on either side by EMC and NetApp. In the center are several VMware booths with lots of other companies both large and small surrounding.

This is the second largest convention of it’s kind, only Oracle OpenWorld is larger. This week the number of attendees at VMworld:

17,021

This is my 4th VMworld, the show has been running since 2004 when there were only 1,400 attendees. Last year there were 12,500. This year, there are 85 countries represented.

Stay with me, I’ll be here all week. You can follow my Twitter stream here.

Thanks for coming along,

BillPetro.com

How to Raise Your Visibility on the Web, Part 2

How to Raise Your Visibility on the Web, Part 2

We’ve talked about how getting your own domain name can give you immediate exposure on the Web in my previous article, for my friend who wants to use the Internet to find a job. It’s a first step, that provides the virtual equivalent of an online resume. Now, what’s the next best way to “get your name out there?”

2. Get on the major Social Networking Sites

They’re no longer considered “greasy kid stuff” and recruiters and employers are searching some of them. I’ll mention just two, to keep down the noise level, and the activity required to get value from them.

It’s the “buttoned down” version of social networking. It’s no-nonsense, professional, and has a relatively good signal to noise ratio. It’s been reported that most executives from Fortune 500 companies network here along with over 30 million other members. It works on the premise of “6 degrees of separation” — that through six levels of connections that you have in your network, you likely know someone who knows someone else… who knows Kevin Bacon, or that hiring manager at the company you’re interested in. You create a “profile” which is essentially an online resume, which features your distinctives and job history. This profile is found at www.linkedin.com/in/YourName. See mine by clicking the link above.

So, in my case for example, I have over 500 direct, or first-level connections, that ultimately connect me through their connections, to over 6.5 million professionals. You can recommend people you are connected to, and ask the same in return. Similarly, you can connect to organizations, companies you used to work for, or your old school — as a way of networking with people you know with the intention of connecting to people you’d like to know. LinkedIn has also added your company and industry news, notifications of who your contacts have connected with, and other more popular “social media” features that include suggestions of contacts and job postings you might be interested in. The “Q&A” feature allows you to ask questions of subject matter experts, or to offer answers from your own experience.

While not as robust as Facebook, LinkedIn also features “groups” that you can associate with, if the moderator of that group approves you, that include discussion threads. These appear as “badges” on your profile. They may be associated with your company, alumni associations, your industry, or your interests.

Very recently, LinkedIn has added an “application” platform to their stable of services, not unlike MySpace and Facebook before them. Initially they offered less than a dozen, but among them is the ability to add a feed from one’s blog or Twitter feed.

TIP: Fill out your LinkedIn profile as completely as possible, listing all past companies, schools, and associations. Then you’ll be notified of new members from those organizations, as they join LinkedIn. Also, LinkedIn offers job agents that look for job openings for you, based on filters you set up. Some job listing are only offered on LinkedIn, or appear on LinkedIn first.

Check out an excellent article on Mashable called How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn.

Sure, it started at Harvard as a virtual whiteboard for student’s dorm room door, but it has evolved, and is now the fastest growing social network with 120 million members. And not just among college students. While the largest demographic is 18-24, the next largest group is not teens, but 25-35. And many articles on Business Week have discussed how the 35-and-over crowd is flocking to Facebook as an augmentation to their business networking.

For example, many companies and brands have “Groups” on Facebook. Some have a variety of different groups around special interests, products, and issues. Groups allow association, photo sharing, discussion threads, etc. But “Networks” are a bit different. You can join your company’s network if you have an email address like YourName@company.com. Similarly, you can join your school’s network if you have an email address like YourName@school.edu. Finally, you can join a network associated with your city or geography, if it is part of your profile’s address.

Facebook offers a very rich set of “applications” that permit everything from tie-ins with other services to various “tag-you’re-it” games. While some might be considered a bit adolescent, others are very useful in connecting to job opportunities. It is said that there are some 280,000 applications in use among all Facebook members.

TIP: Not only fill out your Facebook profile completely, listing schools and professional associations, but check out some of the applications for ways to connect to more people you know, or might like to know. Be careful of privacy settings for each application however, as some of them reveal parts of your profile that you may not be aware of when you turn them on.

Caveat 1: Though social networking is popular in the US, ironically, we lag in the usage of this kind of technology worldwide. The leader in this is Asia, with South Korea being one of the top users, in much the same way as it is with SMS or “text messaging” on mobile phones.

Caveat 2: The current Social Network Sites (SNS) are growing at different rates. While Friendster was popular years ago, it was eclipsed by MySpace. Though MySpace is still quite large, Facebook, at least in the US is growing faster. But these are all, for the most part, “walled gardens”. While there is some openness to their APIs, most of the social currency that one invests in the site remains with the site and is not portable to other sites. I expect that this will evolve until social networking becomes a “feature” of most Web 2.0 experiences.

Opportunity 1: Many people use several Social Networks to build out their “social graph”, how they’re interconnected with others. The two I’ve mentioned are by no means the only two, nor are they the most popular, but in terms of raising your visibility for employment by “getting your name out there,” they are perhaps the best available… for free. Other popular Social Networking sites include Flickr, YouTube, Orkut, Bebo, Hi5, Ning, Xing, BigTent… the list goes on.

Opportunity 2: As mobile devices evolve, these Social Networks become alternatives to older Web 1.0 technologies. For example, the iPhone has applications for both LinkedIn and Facebook that are sufficiently mature enough to be useful. LinkedIn becomes the professional address book and Facebook becomes the alternative to email and instant messaging chatting.

How will this raise your brand-name awareness? Increasingly, HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers are scouring all possible online resources to learn about potential employees. LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most popular locations for employers to find out about people, and vice-versa. Many employment consultants recommend maintaining a current LinkedIn profile.

Beyond the personal, major US online retailers are using Social Networking Sites to promote their brands.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

VMworld 2008: Day 2 Review – Virtually Anything is Possible

VMWORLD 2008: DAY 2 REVIEW – VIRTUALLY ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

VMworld is not just a trade show about virtualization, it uses virtual technologies and Web 2.0 technologies in a way I’ve never seen before. Here’s an example:

Blogging:

IMG_0145Not only is blogging encouraged, but it is honored. There is a special set of tables in the keynote auditorium for bloggers to set up their laptops for blogging. Or in my case, I was Twittering about the keynote with my iPhone. Indeed, during yesterday’s keynote with with VMware CEO Paul Maritz, the announcer invited attendees to use Twitter to send in their questions. The person next to me was from Denmark and didn’t understand what I was doing. He had never heard of Twitter, so I sent him to Twitter.com. By the way, my real-time “Tweets” (noun form of Twitter) on this show can be found at this link. Note, they’ll appear in reverse chronological order, most recent at the top.

Podcasting:

IMG_0153John Troyer of VMware, blogger and podcaster extraordinaire, was doing several podcasts live from the Communities Lounge at the Solutions Exchange on the show floor. John is very involved in VMware’s blogger community and end user communities. He has lots of community management experience. Here you see John interviewing user moderators from VMware’s communities. You’ll find John at the VMTN Blog and his podcasts here.

Virtual Pavilion:

MainFloorWhile this is a show about virtualization, there is also a virtual show going on at the same time. Eric Nielsen, VMware’s Director of Web Communities showed me around the virtual, online pavilion.

You can access it directly from the VMworld.com website, or from here. It is a two dimensional virtual world that an attendee can navigate through and visit various rooms.

As an attendee navigates around the Virtual Pavilion he or she can see other attendees, participate in contests and games, gain points for answering questions on multiple choice questions, etc. This virtual navigation system is a 3rd party module for Clearspace, the social networking technology that VMworld.com uses. There are even “Expert Sessions” non-synchronous “events” — talks that you need not be present to hear — where a speaker will provide audio, video, content or a whitepaper which is then attached to a forum. The expert will visit daily for the next two weeks to answer any questions.

restroomThe Virtual Pavilion also features 15 “hidden rooms” where you can find special clues, quiz answers, and secret codes for a free t-shirt at the Communities Lounge. One of these hidden rooms is the Restroom, which itself has a portal to a hidden room.

Eric manages VMworld.com year round. It is active not just during the semi-annual shows, but throughout the year. Various Partners have “booths” here. Can you find the “hidden room” in the Dell booth?

Blogs:

And as I mentioned before, the VMworld.com website features attendee blogs as well, found here.

Thanks for coming along.

BillPetro.com

EMC World: Day 3 Recap

EMC WORLD: DAY 3 RECAP

Q: How can you tell a conference is a technical conference?

A: When the ratio of PDAs to attendee approaches 2 to 1.

The amount of IM, Twitter, SMS, email, and phone calls was amazing. All kinds of devices: iPhones, Qs, Nokias, and of course Blackberries. Lots of people doing the “Blackberry Prayer” with heads bowed and hands folded over the keyboard.

Get_Proven.JPGImportant to engineers is their professional certification. Not only is this important in peer review, but for career purposes as well. The industry leading, award winning EMC Proven Professional program was on hand at EMC World. As I mentioned in my Twitter stream on EMC World, certification tests were being offered for half price during the show, and within the first two days 122 tests had been taken. They were expecting 250 total by the end of the week, with many new specialty certifications conferred for the first time.

Tom_Clancy.JPGWednesday afternoon, on the main stage, the Proven Professional Awards were given. VP of EMC Education Services, Tom Clancy was on hand to launch and EMCee (pun intended) the ceremonies. Tom set the audience at ease by introducing himself humorously and presciently by saying “Hello, I’m Billy Crystal and welcome to the Academy Awards.”

Frank_Hauk.JPGTom introduced Frank Hauk, EMC Executive VP and executive sponsor of the program spoke of the importance of this program in the industry and academia. He mentioned that the program has grown from 20K to 30K certified professionals in just one year. He also mentioned that EMC would continue to invest in the program. Last year’s awards at EMC World in Orlando were presented in a rather small room… that was overflowing. This year and into the future, the awards would be presented as a main event.

Alok.JPGAlok Shrivastava, Senior Director responsible for the Proven Professional program awarded the Knowledge Sharing Awards — white papers on Best Practices in storage. He and Tom Clancy also awarded raffle prizes to the assembled Proven Professionals. They each had on their Proven Professional shirts, a light blue, not unlike the Science Division in the original Star Trek.

Web 2.0

One thing new this year is the amount of Web 2.0-style coverage of EMC World. The conference website itself uses a Flash-based “information growth ticker”, social networking opportunities, AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) based agenda builder… and links to EMC bloggers, some of whom are blogging about the show itself.

I’ve mentioned Twitter a few times. For the first time this year, Twitter has been used by attendees to “micro-blog” about EMC World in real-time. These posts, hash-tagged with “#emcworld” could be aggregated and sorted by a variety of tools, creating a virtual news stream. See my link at the bottom as an example.

On Wednesday, a special lunch gathering for those Twittering about EMC World was convened impromptu. And in a rather solipsistic manner, it was set up using Twitter. Half a dozen of us collected and spent an hour and a half discussing social media as a way to connect, enhance and improve communication with Partners and Customers.

Customers

One of the reasons customers attend is to save money, lots of money, on how they manage their information infrastructure. I spoke with one presenter who said he had spoken to a customer after his talk, and was able to show them how to consolidate in a way that would save them half a million dollars a month in energy costs.

Keynotes

Mark_Lewis.gifLewis1.jpgOn Wednesday, Mark Lewis, President of EMC’s CMA Division did a presentation on what’s coming from the Documentum division of EMC. He showed Knowledge Worker, using the Firefox browser, a powerful web-based tool for code and content development teams to create and manage custom enterprise applications The Web 2.0 integration was impressive. Also demoed were a variety of mashup, social networking and folksonomy tools. He discussed “Project Magellan”, which will be released in Q3 for free.

StephenHerrod1.jpgThursday, Dr. Stephen Herrod, Chief Technology Officer of VMware offered a fascinating tour through VMware’s product stack, and a demo of the newly announced “Site Recovery Manager” which virtualizes an entire site for the purpose of automating the work flow of a “run book” in restarting a business in a remote site.

In conclusion

Q: How can you tell a conference is a technical conference?

A: Wednesday night, the show’s entertainment was Billy Crystal, Emmy winner, Tony winner, and past host of the Academy Awards ceremonies. He began the evening by greeting the room with:

Billy_Crystal.jpg

“Good evening and hellooo nerds!

There are attendees here from 79 countries. It’s like being at Angelina Jolie’s house.

Nothing says Las Vegas like 7,000 engineers.”

A great conclusion to a great show.

By the way, I’ve reported more details via Twitter. These can be found in the news stream when you click here

Thanks for coming along,

BillPetro.com

Las Vegas and EMC World

vegas.jpgLAS VEGAS AND EMC WORLD

I’m in Lost Wages, Nevada for the EMC World event being held at Mandalay Bay. The first night’s entertainment, the Goo Goo Dolls. 9300 attendees so far. While I’ll be writing daily about this huge show on this blog, for the first time, another technology will be used to update information more quickly: Twitter.

To follow my “tweets” or my more frequent posts, you get them at http://twitter.com/billpetro

I have written about it before, but the use of the technology continues to evolve. It is at least 3 things:

  1. Micro-blogging technology that allows one to write just 140 characters
  2. Broadcast Instant Messaging that is not just one-to-one, but one-to-many, as many chose to “follow” you
  3. Presence-management or status-management as it is often used to tell others where one is or what one is doing

More recently companies and professional bloggers are using Twitter to make product announcements, press releases, and references to news stories. There are technologies, for example, that sent out “tweets” (Twitter posts) to all followers after a blog article has been posted. This is true on my group of blogs. Other tools allow presentation of blog posts to social networks like Facebook.

For EMC World, there is a group of bloggers and twitterers (is that even a word yet?) who will be writing posts about the event, and their adventures in Las Vegas during the event. These can be tracked by the “tag” that is used in tweets of “#emcworld”. So, you can use a Twitter aggregator to filter all tweets with the tag “#emcworld” and see what the twittersphere is discussing. For example, a visit to http://twemes.com/emcworld will show who is talking about emcworld, including me.

Thansk for coming along,

BillPetro.com

EMC World

EMC WORLD

This year’s EMC World, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas May 19-22 promises to be the event to showcase EMC’s products around hardware, software and solutions. Having attended last year, it’s the best place to get access from EMC’s engineering, marketing and executive staff. Expecting about 10,000 attendees, the exhibit floor will showcase solutions from EMC and Partners.

I’ll be in attendance this year, blogging about what’s hot from the keynotes, sessions, and entertainment.

An added bonus will be the Sunday evening concert with the Goo Goo Dolls, and Wednesday evening’s event with comedian Billy Crystal.

Will there be a test? If you want, EMC Education Services will offer discounted EMC Proven Professional exams right onsite.

Come along with me.

BillPetro.com