This is one of my regular disclosure posts. You can read more of them here. This one is about VMworld 2018.
Flights and Accommodation
PivotNine paid for my flights, accommodation, car parking and sundries. TheCube/Silicon Angle helped to cover some of my expenses.
I flew Qantas and stayed at The Luxor, which was conveniently nearby to the Mandalay Bay which is where VMworld was being held again, though I can’t say I’d recommend it. The air inside there played havoc with my sinuses and I felt like I was coming down with a cold the entire week.
I received an Attendee pass to the show from VMware in exchange for reviewing a bunch of session proposals as part of a VMUG thing they ran several months before the show.
Food, Drink, Etc.
Sunday 26 August 2018
I drove out to the airport and had breakfast in the Qantas First lounge, relishing the last proper coffee for a week.
I had dinner in the target timezone on the plane, then some tea and fruit for the plane breakfast at 4am or whenever it was. I had a proper breakfast of poached eggs and mushrooms at the Qantas First lounge in LAX after a shower, and an attempt at a flat white that didn’t quite work.
A hot shower after a long journey always makes me feel so much better.
After a short hop to LAS and checking into the hotel (The Luxor) I made it to the last part of VMunderground Opening Acts and caught up with some people, and got some moisture into myself (tonic water and lime, very refreshing) after walking over in the sunshine. It was 38 degrees Celsius outside, but sunshine helps to reset my body-clock, so it was worth it. Not that you’re actually outside for that long, because most of the walk was through connecting casinos.
Dinner was back at VMunderground happy hour at Beerhaus: a couple of hotdog things, some fries, and a couple of Belgian strong ales but I can’t find the name of the specific one on the online menu. It was the first one on the menu, and after a long day it was just the thing to tip me into an early bedtime.
Monday 27 August 2018
After a much needed refreshing sleep, I was up at 5:30am local time to deal with some client work before heading out for the first main day of VMworld. Surprisingly I just made it over to the conference for the last bit of the official breakfast, so grabbed some eggs and sausage and a ‘coffee’. I’ve discovered that a bit of vanilla flavouring syrup makes conference coffee vastly more palatable, though it does add sugar and I’m being a lot more careful about weight gain from over-conferencing these days. The curse of ageing.
Dinner was at Pure Storage’s reception held at Top Golf. I had a couple of gin-and-tonics and a variety of nibbles such as mini-sliders, crab cakes, and various dim sum type things.
After dinner I went to Rubrik’s VMworld party at Hakkasan nightclub to see Run-DMC play. My circa 12-year-old self was pretty pleased with this eventuality. I left after The Roots came on, partly because I’m not that interested in their music, and partly because I had to get up for the conference in the morning.
Tuesday 28 August 2018
I chose to sleep in a little rather than rush off to breakfast, so I just grabbed a coffee around 10am from the refreshment stands and then headed into meetings.
For lunch I grabbed the conference lunch, which was Mexican style today from memory. Again, chicken, salad, and vegetables and some iced tea. The selection of fresh leafy greens and vegetables was pretty good this year, I must say. It definitely made it easier to feel properly nourished rather than craving sugar constantly, though I did indulge in the odd cookie mid-afternoon for a bit of a pick-me-up sugar hit.
In the evening I stopped in all-too-briefly at the Influencer Marketing Council reception put on by my friends John and Kat Troyer at Border Grill. I had a margherita and some chips and guacamole, plus a couple of nibble things the waitperson brought around.
Then I had dinner with Druva at Charlie Palmer Steakhouse, sitting diagonally across from Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, aka The Mountain from Game of Thrones. Druva had hired Björnsson to appear at their booth to draw the crowds, and by all reports it worked. I had no idea Björnsson was going to be there, and sadly I haven’t actually watched that far into Game of Thrones, so I don’t know his work. However, from the portions of conversation I overheard he seems a lovely, patient, and gracious person. He is enormous, and his tattoos are real and very cool.
I had a lovely eye fillet, cooked perfectly (medium rare) and some mushrooms and spinach on the side. I had a glass of the table red wine with it, which was an American cabernet of some sort and quite nice.
I cut the night short there and was in bed by 10pm, as I was due to start interviews on TheCube at 9:30am.
Wednesday 29 August 2018
Wednesday breakfast was at the conference, my usual scrambled eggs, coffee, and a few lighter accompaniments. I tend to avoid American bacon these days because it’s always so disappointing compared to English-style bacon.
Lunch was conference food again, Italian today, and the bulk-made lasagne was actually pretty good. I also indulged in a rocky-road brownie dessert thing that was much more substantial than I had bargained for.
For dinner I went to the Lotus of Siam off-strip dinner organised by Howard Marks. This is traditionally paid for by vendor people with expense accounts who happen to attend. This year we had a bunch of vendors chipping in, so thank you to: VMware, Druva, ActualTech Media, Cohesity, Zerto, Datrium, Pure Storage, Turbonomic, and Rubrik.
This was my first time at the new venue since the roof fell in at the old one last year during big rains in Las Vegas. The food was the same festival of deliciousness, and the conversation was excellent. I had a couple of Singha beers that go well with Thai food.
After dinner I went to the after-party thing at Stephen Foskett’s suite in the Delano for more conversations and nightcap of 12-year-old Macallan in a solo cup, which is a bit wrong, but circumstances provided few options. I left about 2am.
Thursday 30 August 2018
I skipped breakfast in favour of sleep, though not too much because I wanted to be decently tired for the plane flight home that night.
I checked out and had lunch at the conference, then hung out in the VMvillage trying to make a dent in emails that had accumulated through the week before heading to the airport around 2pm.
Dinner was at the Qantas First lounge in LAX with fellow VMworld travellers from Australia. I had the salt-and-pepper squid and my first and only burger of the trip. I also had a glass-and-a-half of Penfolds red wine with it, and finished with a plate of cheese, which I sadly had to abandon without finishing all of it because my shower slot had arrived.
Then I sat and did some work, drinking sparkling water before doing the usual plane routine home to Melbourne.
- The VMware conference bag (with a notebook inside) that will probably replace last year’s because the water bottle pouch on it has ripped so much that it doesn’t hold my water bottle any more. My usual one was an old Neverfail branded aluminium one which has done many trips with me, but it fell out this trip and cracked a bit so that it now leaks. Sadly, it has gone to be recycled.
- The VMware vExpert pack of a Thermos cup, a 4000 mAh USB battery pack, a vExpert branded BrightTravels travel power multi-adaptor thing, and some stickers.
- A JetStream-branded microfiber cloth.
- A Nexsan-branded microfiber cloth.
- A Pure Storage branded vacuum-flask type water bottle with a Bluetooth speaker in the lid, for some reason.