Many hardware and software vendors frequently organize international events to announce new products and to outline new trends and developments. How important is it for customers or partners to attend these conventions? I would like to share my personal experiences about visiting VeeamON that changed my whole view on traveling to global conventions. This is not going to be a VeeamON sales pitch. I will try to explain how VeeamON became a game changer for me.
I’ve been using Veeam Software for more than a decade and whenever I rolled out a vSphere Cluster, it was coupled with Veeam Backup to guarantee Availability.
In recent years I went to regional Veeam events like the VeeamON Tour, or I took part in VeeamON Tour Virtual events. I thought that this should be enough to learn more about new features and developments in progress and there would be no need for me to travel far to an overseas convention. But I was wrong.
In late 2016, a friend convinced me to visit VeeamON 2017 in New Orleans. There were two factors that triggered my decision to go there. First, I was curious about the event and second, I was attracted by the amazing location. New Orleans Louisiana a.k.a. NOLA. Gators and Jazz, French Quarter and steamboats. Cool software in a hot city. Let’s do it!
There are a couple of reasons that might keep users and customers from coming to international conventions. Usually it’s time and money. Project schedules are often tight and it is difficult to get some spare time off. But the bigger obstacle is money. You need flight tickets, accommodation, and a conference pass. Not a big deal for large enterprises, but many customers are SMBs with a limited budget. Freelancers like me have to pay the expenses on their own (but at least they don’t have to ask a boss for permission).
Looking back, I must say it was totally worth it and I should have considered coming to VeeamON earlier.
Although I’ve attended a lot of regional Veeam events so far, I can confirm that you cannot compare them with the original VeeamON. Nowhere else you will have the chance to meet so many experts from all over the world in a single spot. You can get in touch with Veeam product managers and developers, get some firsthand information and ask them detailed questions about features or address feature requests. They will happily listen.
It’s also a great opportunity to socialize and network with customers, partners, expert bloggers and leaders from all over the world.
There are more than 80 sessions to attend. You have to choose wisely, because you can’t see them all as there are several sessions held in parallel. Attending in person is the ONLY way to get in touch with the speakers, follow the discussion and ask questions. And that’s the most important point about coming to VeeamON: getting firsthand information and an outlook to new developments and features. If you’re lucky, you might get some insider information.
Besides the sessions, there is also the expo. A technical exhibition about the whole Veeam ecosystem. There are partners, cloud providers, and hardware and software vendors. Great to learn more about Veeam and partner technologies.
As I mentioned above, it’s important to socialize. There are many occasions to do so. For example, the breakfast and lunch breaks where you can randomly join some other visitors at the tables. Don’t be shy, start a conversation. You might be surprised and find out that the person next to you does something very cool, or turns out to be product manager of a software or hardware you’ve been using for years.
On every conference day there’s an evening program. Either in the convention center or in locations outside. It’s nowhere easier to chat over a beer with a developer or a product manager. I’ve met a couple of very interesting people. By chance I’ve found myself chatting with some well-known bloggers, whose posts I used to read for years. Without visiting VeeamON, I never would have had the chance to meet them. After the conference I kept in contact with the Veeam IT Pro community and I was also invited to join the expert’s panel during VeeamON Tour Virtual.
When VeeamON 2018 registration opened, I didn’t hesitate. I booked my trip to Chicago.
If you haven’t already done so, go to the VeeamON 2018 registration page and think about buying a ticket.
If the decision is not yours, ask your boss for support. I know in some companies this isn’t easy. But maybe you can remind him/her that you’ve done a good job with a project in the past and you want to improve your knowledge. At the end of the day, both you and your company will benefit. More knowledge, more sales opportunities, more expertise. Knowing someone personally, makes it a lot easier to ask him or her directly if you encounter a special question in the future.
If your current company refuses to support your visit to VeeamON, there’s also a slight chance to win a free ticket. Veeam and partners sometimes have giveaway draws (unfortunately I didn’t win – but good luck to you). All you have to do is follow announcements on the Veeam website and in social media.
For those who do not have the time, or the funding to go to VeeamON this year, make sure to watch at least the recorded sessions, which will be available shortly after the convention. Try to visit a local VeeamON Tour in your region to get an abstract of VeeamON by your domestic Veeam Team. And maybe you’ll get the chance to visit VeeamON in the future.