Not Really an Expert, but I enjoy Hanging Out with Them

This past year has been simply amazing on so many levels.  Professionally things have really begun to kick into overdrive and I am having a blast.  2014 is a year I will never forget.  There are so many people to thank for the opportunities that I have been presented with, not the least of which was the honor of being part of the vExpert community. Despite the name, I really don't feel like an expert much of the time, and more closely resemble the following:

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

None the less, I have really enjoyed getting to know and hang out with some real experts - the IT and virtualization community is full of them.  The easiest places to spot one is on Twitter, at a VMUG, trade shows like VMWorld, or in an RSS feed.  Despite their status, what makes them really 'experts' is that they enjoy hanging out, talking shop, and contributing back to the community all in different ways.  That for me is the most rewarding part of being active in the community.

One of the small ways that I was able to give back recently was to speak on a panel discussion with some awesome people at the Boston VMUG.  I got to share a little about my recent career move and the transition associated with moving from Fortune 500 IT to startup sales engineer. Much kudos to Matt Brender (@mjbrender) for providing me with the opportunity.  It was a lot of fun and based on the interaction during the Q&A and personal discussions afterward the community benefited from it.

In the career transition, travel has been more of a consistent thing I have been afforded the opportunity to attend some local VMUGs in other parts of the country.  In addition to Boston, I was able to attend Maryland, Central PA, & Western PA local meetings over the last couple of months as well at the New England and Chicago VTUGs.  One thing that resonates true for each of the local groups is that there is no lack of experts at any of these events.  The community is rich with people from all different backgrounds, managing different size environments, with all different levels of interest and hobbies.  Most have some great stories to share that others would benefit in learning from.  The challenge however is getting these experts to step up and share. Probably a slew of different reasons for this, but I am going to make a stronger effort this upcoming year to assist others in being brave enough to step up and share their experiences with one another.

Being an 'expert' does have it's perks. Free software licenses, subscriptions to learning, invitations to otherwise close door events, as well as enough pieces of apparel to easily fill a couple drawers in my closet. My favorite was the act of generosity by Bryan Krausen (@btkrausen) who went out of his way to create, print and distribute vExpert stickers for everyone in the community.  They came out great. 

So I look forward to carrying on the tradition for another year and contribute in small ways. Humbled to be a part of the program this year and we will see where next year brings us - I just submitted the application this morning.