Content Preparations for VMware Explore 2024

One of the highlights of my professional year, is the VMware Explore conference. A week of personal development, networking, presenting, and taking in the trends in IT for another year. VMware Explore gets me beyond excited, and preparing for the conferences (both US and EU) has already started. In this post, I’d like to share my content preparations for 2024, but I also like to share some video and podcast content I (co)created for the previous editions.

VMware Explore Preparations

Prepping content for maximizing the trip

To get the most out of the trip, I always work on a couple of things before actually booking tickets, hotels, etc. This is a list of the content preparations I take:

  • Linking my year goals to topics at the Explore conference
  • Figure out what technologies I would like to learn about
  • Setting up meetings and conversations with people tied to the tech I would like to learn about
  • Submit session proposals
  • Setting up preparation meetings with vendors to work on shared collateral
  • Prepare pre-event content, such as preview videos and blog posts (like this one)
  • Work with the ITQ marketing department on a cool idea for a t-shirt and stickers
  • Prepare for podcast recordings
  • Prepare for video recordings
  • Setting up meetings for customers
  • Setting up NDA meetings for the teams at ITQ

What really helps me personally, is to also define per item when it is successful. For instance, when is a podcast episode about VMware Explore successful? It’s not always just about the number of listens, sometimes it’s also about the story you would like to tell. In case of last year’s Explore conference in the US, I made an episode with recordings with people at the event, including the former CEO Raghu, but also Chris Wolf. Something I’m really proud of. And thus, it was a succes.

Things to learn in 2024

I have a passion for tech, which was primarily focussed on two things in the last couple of years: End-User Computing and Artificial Intelligence. Since VMware Explore has no EUC content this year, my primary focus will be on AI and platform engineering. I have been working with NVIDIA extensively in the last decade, and a big part of that was focussed on deep learning and machine learning. The VMware Private AI Foundation platform, powered by NVIDIA accelerated the general interest at customers and I’m really curious to see what Chris Wolf and his team have been up to. One of the things I’ve already seen at the Dutch VMUG UserCon, is a specific set of Aria Automation workflows for ML-focused use cases presented by Chris Wolf (with a shout-out to Frank Denneman), and with the GA of the platform, Aria Operations is now also taking care of some observability aspects. So, plenty of stuff to be excited about.

Session proposals

I’m hopefully going to talk about AI myself as well, but that’s up to the session gods 🙂 This is one of the aspects of VMware Explore that I take really serious. Most of the preparations on the list don’t require a lot of work. But, some do, like the session proposals. The sessions I submit, are not new ideas. The last 5/6 years or so, I have worked on session ideas that follow a certain process. Throughout the year, I write down ideas in a notebook. This is a continuous process, and quite often leads to inspiration for a session. Between December and Februari, I write the script for a session, find slides, create matching demos, and submit them as ideas for different VMUGs and other events. Between March and May, I will present these sessions at as many events as possible. such as the different VMUGs, but also customer meetings, and internal meetings as well. Initial session ideas sometimes seem really good, but need some improvement after presenting them a couple of times. When presenting them at such a large event, you need to be sure that the session is really good, hence all the preparations.

Podcast ideas

Together with Duncan and Frank, we host the Unexplored Territory Podcast. In 2022 and 2023, we recorded some episodes focussed on the Explore conferences, with my favorite episode being the one I mentioned above. Planning the episodes, finding the guests, and writing the show notes is also something we do in advance. You can imagine that guests like a CEO or CTO have a full agenda during the events. So, approaching them ahead of time to ensure they have availability is essential. If you would like to listen to the review of 2023, you can find the episode here:

If you would like to be a guest on the podcast during VMware Explore, drop me a DM on X or LinkedIn!

Video content preparations

During VMware Explore US, I focus mostly on podcast content. But, at Explore EU, the main focus is on video content. In earlier years, I also did video there, but it’s quite cumbersome to plan, record, edit, and publish videos while also trying to enjoy the conference. This is much easier with just audio. In Barcelona, however, the ITQ video crew is present. And this is where all the video magic is happening. Two years ago, we launched a new concept called “ITQonversations Live!”. In this video concept, we live-stream videos that contain interviews with guests during the actual conference. The concept is highly successful and fully streamlined, so we were able to publish 34 videos during Explore 2024 as apposed to one single video I published in 2017 on the ITQ channel. To give you an idea, these are some of the videos we published in 2023:

If you would like to be a guest in such a video, drop me a DM on X or LinkedIn!

What’s next?

The call for proposals for Explore US is closed, and I’ve submitted something really cool to show to the public. We have just wait and see. In the upcoming months, you can expect some more content from me targeting VMware Explore. Hope to see you there!

Johan van Amersfoort

Johan van Amersfoort

Johan van Amersfoort is a VCDX-DTM, VMware EUC Champion, vExpert, and NVIDIA NGCA member, working as a Technical Marketing Architect and EUC Geek at ITQ Consultancy. He is the author of the VDI Design Guide. More about Johan can be found on the about page.