So currently I am sitting in the airport getting ready to fly out to SFO a few days before the conference for training. This is probably not the right time to start a prep list for VMworld but better late than never. Hopefully next year I will post early enough for this to be useful to everyone else.
- 1 Year out from VMworld
- Get a pass and hotel in your corporate IT budget
- Book a hotel room, you can always cancel later but the cost will be much less ahead of time, even 1 month before VMworld and hotel rate will be upwards of $450 a night for a standard room
- 3-4 Months out
- Get the early bird pass and combine it with any other discounts you can, I saved $500 with my discounts.
- Book you flights and adjust your hotel as required
- 1-2 Months out
- Start setting up your schedule, I always wait until the week before and sometime miss out on sessions that are packed full. There are also tons of VMworld parties you can sign up for if you work with vendors that are exhibiting at the conference. I am triple booked on parties a few nights.
- Grab a VMunderground ticket (I managed to pick up 3 of them for some friends)
- Check your business card stock and order more if you need to. If you don’t have a company business card, make one just for yourself with your contact info. When I say make some for yourself, I mean using vistaprint or a professional website like that. Nothing fancy but at least made from card stock.
- 1-2 Weeks out
- Finalize your schedule
- Share your schedule with others and create a list of people you want to meet or topics you plan to discuss
- What to pack
- Business cards – bring a large stack with you and depending on how social you are, carry about 50-100 on you each day. As above, bring your self created cards if you have them
- Comfortable clothing and shoes, you may be walking a lot when you are out here, either between sessions or from hotel to Moscone. Check the weather but at night it can get a bit chilly so have layers available
- Bring a battery pack, I have a 1000mA with a USB port. If you don’t have one, buy one. I constantly charge my phone and any other devices while out and about. Between searching for wifi, using GPS to check in on foursquare, snapping photos, snapchatting, twitter tweeting, vining, auto uploading, and using all the mobile apps, VMworld will suck your battery dry by noon if you are not careful.
- Get social – Join and follow all the hashtags, YouTube videos, Instagram, and G+ everywhere. At the very least just join twitter and follow me and #VMworld
- Your wife, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, just not all of them at the same time. Check out Spousetivities for more information but they can also get a city pass for about ~$80 and allows you access to a good list of museums and local attractions.
- What not to pack
- Everything! And by that I mean travel light, especially during the conference. If you can get away with just a phone and a compact USB charger the better.
- I also forget this every time but empty your wallet. Just bring cash, 2 or more credit cards (primary and a backup) and a photo ID. Leave your Sam’s Club, Costco, discount cards, VA card, Freemason card, or any other card that you won’t ever use.
I am going to post another update about what to do and not to do while at the conference but hopefully this is enough to get your bags packed.