Not sure if this was day 0, day -1 or what, but this is where it all begins for a serious percentage of the VMworld attendees that I know. The normal approach for most people who are going to TAM or PEX things on Monday is to get in on Sunday and then head to the vRockstar party.
This year I’d got an early flight out of Gatwick so was in BCN before the shuttle buses started running, but there’s lots of ways to get from the Airport to both the conference site (particularly via the new-for-this-year Fira metro station, which is on L9 Sud along with the airport terminals) and also in to town itself, usually by bus. The aerobus isn’t the cheapest option but it is the fastest and one pulled in as I was walking past their ticket machine, so easy sale.
I had my Airbnb apartment and my VMworld registration, bag, metro ticket all sorted before 4PM, so I was in time for the pre-vRockstar party, which was organised by the vRockstar guys as a warm up and was sponsored by the kind folks at Cohesity. This was a nice get-together in an English/American pub and started my weeks theme of meeting VMUG Leaders. First ticked off the list were Iceland and admittedly, ex-UK :-) The theme seemed to be to start earlier on Sunday this year, so if there were more “pre” parties in future, then that would be a nice thing to see. I liked the more sedate atmosphere of the Obama English Pub too, good for some conversation. I had another pre-party meet on the list also - ”PimPam burger with Italian vMafia” which scored me a few more VMUG Leaders. I get on well with Pietro Piutti from the Italian VMUG, so it was great to catch up with him and a whole bunch of the Italians early in the week.
The other funny thing about VMworld is that you meet the same people again and again (across the four days of the show I mean, not from year to year) so the early candidates for this were Chris Bradshaw from pre-vRockstar and the Italian VMUG Leaders. Each of which turned out to be the case.
Then what’s the highlight of the evening, the official unofficial kick-off to the week, the vRockstar party, I hadn’t got a ticket this year as they “sold out” in 38 minutes, but I did happen to be sporting a vRockstar t-shirt from 2014, so I was hopeful :-) If you don’t know vRockstar, you’re clearly living under a rock, as the ticket popularity shows what everyone thinks about it. Kudos to Marco Broeken and Patrick Redknap for producing another great event - or events - this time. Thanks very much guys! The community as a whole really appreciates what you do here.
It turned out to be a good night, mostly cos I did get in (yay!) but also due to a lot of good conversations with friends old and new and also another VMUG leader ticked off, the leader of them all, Brad Tompkins, who bought me a beer. He was very kind! I met a whole bunch of the VMUG staff as well, which was great.
I spent a chunk of the evening with a bunch of folks from vendors who I’ve worked closely with over the past year, but this was a chance to get out and have a social, for a change, which was very enjoyable! Plus I ran in to the guys from @OpenTechCast, the podcast arm of the OpenHomeLab initiative which itself was spawned from a user session at LonVMUG. Still with me? good! Give the podcast a listen and check out the site. Both are good community centric stuff with a lot of fresh content and a dedicated team of contributors.
I did follow my own advice for a change and took it relatively easy, as Monday morning is very early in the week to have a hangover and the heat down in the metro is not considerate of thick heads. A coffee on my balcony and that was me done for the night.