InfoWorld: Your company is obviously proud of the strong partner ecosystem you've created. And the exhibit hall is always packed with partners showing off their latest technologies. Personally, I'm always interested in the show's pod section for new innovators and first-time VMworld sponsors. Are there any new companies showing up as a first time sponsor this year that people should be sure to check out?
Matlock: VMworld has a very strong sponsor network, and our Diamond and Platinum sponsors have been very loyal to the show. For a full list of sponsors, I would encourage people to visit VMworld.com.
InfoWorld: Education is always a major factor at VMworld. And each year, the hands-on labs area seems to get better and better. But it's also had its share of growing pains. Are you expecting the number of labs and the number of attendees wanting to participate in these labs to grow again this year? If so, what are you doing differently to make this attraction successful and keep the crowd happy?
Matlock: The educational tools we provide at VMworld offer attendees opportunities for a real, hands-on experience. Last year we delivered more than 240 exams in San Francisco and Barcelona. We find that a lot of our attendees like to take advantage of the trip to San Francisco to get certified at a discounted rate. This year we have pre-conference courses for those who don't want to miss a minute of VMworld, as well as sessions during the week for 75 percent off the regular price. More information can be found on the VMware site.
We're also kicking off our Hands-On Labs Hotspots. We've created three hotspots throughout the VMworld campus for attendees to take a lab and showcase how easy it is to take a lab anywhere, anytime.
InfoWorld: VMworld always proves to be a good time no matter where it's hosted. This year, it's once again in San Francisco. What types of social events should people be prepared for this year? And have you set up a way for people attending the show to stay in touch with one another?
Matlock: Fun is always a key component of VMworld. In fact, there are almost too many social gatherings to count! In addition to the now-famous Hall Crawl in the Solutions Exchange (Sunday night, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and the VMware Customer Appreciation Party at AT&T Park (Wednesday night, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.), there are countless gatherings, everything from tweet-ups to charity dodge ball tournaments.
This year we are crowd-sourcing a calendar of all the gatherings so that attendees don't miss a thing. Another great way for people to stay in touch at VMworld is through social media. During the event you can find up to the minute tweets by following @VMworld, and can find the latest highlights and videos at VMworld.com.
InfoWorld: Finally, did you receive any attendee feedback from last year's event that you've incorporated into the show this year?
Matlock: VMworld welcomes attendee feedback and absolutely utilizes it to enhance the show. A few highlights based on our past feedback include:
- Executive roundtable: Due to the popularity of the CEO roundtable last year we brought back the session again this year. We haven't announced who will be participating but this year's panel promises to be a good one.
- Hands-on labs hotspots: We've created three hotspots throughout the VMworld campus for attendees to take a lab and showcase how easy it is to take a lab anywhere, anytime.
- Social media: Every year we interact with thousands of VMworld attendees via our social channels. We love the feedback that these discussions provide and look forward to engaging the community on conversations.
The big thing to keep in mind: VMworld is truly a community event. So keep the suggestions and feedback coming.
We look forward to seeing everyone in San Francisco the last week of August!
You can keep up with live coverage of VMworld 2013 by following me on Twitter at @vmblogcom.