After years of procrastinating, last week I gave my first vMug community talk in Melbourne. After years of saying I can do that and constantly nodding my head to the Melbourne vMug committee to get more involved, I finally decided to step up. Now that it’s over I can finally say that it was well worth it!
The decision to finally give a talk came at the end of vBeers in Melbourne a few months back. After a few beers and some great conversations. I left with the determination to get up and give that community talk. There was just one issue though, I had no idea for a topic. So I spent the next few weeks thinking of an idea and asking friends for suggestions.
In some ways the hardest part of the talk was just coming up with an interesting idea. Something that not only other people would find interesting but me too. I finally settled on VMware Flings. I’ve been interested in VMware Flings for a few years now and this year they’ve really taken off with some really great Flings. I put together a presentation abstract then reached out to the Melbourne vMug committee with my idea. The @mvmug committee liked the idea and slotted me in as one of two committee presentations for Melbourne’s final vMug of the year.
Over the next month I put together my talk. I’m not a big fan of the ‘Death by PowerPoint’. So I worked on a talk where after I introduced myself I would pull up a web browser using the VMware Flings website as my slide deck. Then lead into some demos in my home lab. A format I think worked out really well. Staring at slide decks can be hard after a long vMug. So being able to interact with something on the screen keeps the audience engaged. The biggest curve ball I got thrown was coming down with a virus two weeks prior to the talk. Over that period I had blocked sinuses, constant coughing, and even a loss of voice for a day. Disappointingly I was in no position to rehearse my talk over that period. What was becoming a very exciting time became an extremely frustrating period 🙁
The day before the talk was nothing short of miraculous (either that or the upping of medication). I woke up feeling like my old self. It meant that I one good college cram session in the night before to rehearse my talk. Not ideal but I’d take it 🙂
I felt that the talk went well. I managed to use the full 45 minutes allocated to my session. I tried to keep the talk moving along without dwelling on any one area for too long. A had a short introduction, a brief overview of what VMware Fling are with some examples. Then moved onto three demos in my home lab. The ESXi Embedded Host Client, followed by PowerActions for the vSphere Web Client, and finishing up on a slightly less popular and more obscure Fling, the ESXi Google Authenticator.
I learnt quite a lot from the experience with a number of key take aways for the future. Firstly, don’t rely on the facilities, not even as backups. If you require Internet access, bring your own, then bring your own backup. Bring all your own cables and dongles to connect to projectors. I naively expect HDMI or DVI connectors. Imagine my surprise when I got VGA. Fortunately a VEEAM presenter from an earlier session leant me his VGA dongle. Finally stay relaxed. If you can interact with the audience, even just a little, it goes a long way in creating a positive atmosphere to present in.