You have likely heard the news that VMworld 2022 is now VMware Explore 2022. That’s 6 different events across the word that kick off with VMware Explore US in late August 2022 followed by events in Brazil (October), Europe, Singapore, Japan, and China (all in November). Regardless of your feeling about the change, consider this an opportunity to make a name for yourself. That’s right. It’s time to submit that session abstract and grab hold of this kind of stage. For those ready to seize the opportunity to share your knowledge with the greater community, here’s some guidance on speaker submissions and deadlines. By the way, this is a hybrid event, which means there are options to speak in person and virtually. All screenshots below can be clicked to enlarge them if needed.
Focus Your Answer to the Call
Though not publicized extremely well from what I have seen, the call for conference speakers has already started (with a submission due date of May 10, 2022). Before you begin, make sure you know the 5 focus areas for the event:
- Accelerate Cloud Transformation
- Build and Operate a Cloud Native Platform
- Secure and Empower the Hybrid Workforce
- Connect and Secure Clouds and Apps
- Expand Your Horizons
Minimize Your Workload for Now
I’ll say this 100 times to people if I have to do it. You DO NOT need to have an entire presentation written to submit for a call for speakers (at this conference or any other). You need a solid title and a good session description submitted by the deadline that you think fits into one of the 5 categories. That’s it. There is no need to worry about giving the presentation until it gets accepted (if it does at all). Submit session(s) you feel you will have time to create between the date it is accepted and the deadline for submitting your slides / recording to the events team (probably a month or so before the conference happens). Don’t do more work than you need to do right now. Wait and see.
Find Your Way to the FAQs
If we revisit the VMware Explore site and scroll down to the bottom, there is a FAQs section. And yes, the treasure lies buried here. Expand the section that is labeled Sessions and Speakers. Go ahead and click the link to “fill out this form.”
NOTE: There is also a US-specific FAQ page here that outlines submission deadline and when the content catalog will be live. That likely means we will have the same for the other regional events once registration goes live. The submission deadline as I understand it is the same for all events (May 10, 2022).
Now we are asked to login to VMware Events as shown below. Use your Customer Connect (formerly MyVMware) credentials to gain access (which can also be used to gain access to the VMworld Video Archive here). If you do not have an account, you can create one for free. As I write this, VMware Explore US is the only one whose registration is live. None of the other Explore events are in the list at the moment, so there’s no need to change the event.
After entering the proper credentials, click the Log in button.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Look at that. The submission deadline is May 10, 2022! Whether you knew that or not, never fear. Click on START to begin.
A Tale of Two Session Delivery Options
Every session needs a title and a short description, but wait a second. We have the option to select In-Person or Pre-recorded.
Let’s add some information and walk through the work flow using the In-Person option. Remember, this is for the Explore US event, which means I’d be planning to deliver a talk in person in San Francisco. After setting delivery to In-Person, we can select one or more regions in which to deliver the presentation. I’m guessing that means your session gets considered for every regional event you select. For fun, I’m going to select US and Europe just to pick more than one.
Now that the regions are selected, we can click CONTINUE.
Now we need to list participants. It could be several folks. Let’s click the option to ADD PARTICIPANT.
All we need to do is pick whether we are an external speaker (non-VMware employee) or a VMware employee speaker and add an e-mail address.
Let’s go with External Speaker and click NEXT.
Now we need to fill out all relevant participant information. The role of External / VMware Speaker can still be changed here if needed. Once all details are entered, click ADD PARTICIPANT.
With our participant submitted (just John Smith for now), go ahead and continue.
When walking through this I wasn’t quite sure when I’d reach the end of the workflow. That looks to be it because we got a Proposal Submission Completion message. Wait a minute…I never had to pick a category or track. That was less laborious than previous year submissions. I assume the content team will categorize based on the submission and where it fits the best.
After submission, an e-mail was sent to my Customer Connect e-mail address with more information. It clearly states the end of the call for proposals is May 10, 2022 and that I will be notified a couple of weeks later as to whether it’s a go or no go on session acceptance. Again, there is no need to do more work until I get the answer (unless I wanted to submit another session, of course).
Notice also the bit about being able to make changes to the proposal up until the deadline. If we go back to the Submission home page (see button 2 screenshots up or click Home in the far left of your browser window), we can easily see that our submission is there and marked as complete. If we wanted, we could click the submission title and make any necessary edits (including changing the Delivery field). You can also click on the name of the participants to make any edits or add a speaker.
If we click on the title of the session I submitted above, notice delivery is still set to In-Person.
If we change the Delivery field to Pre-recorded, the regions for delivery disappear, and we can click CONTINUE.
And after this we get redirected back to the submissions home page again. So the only difference between In-Person and Pre-recorded is region selection being required for In-Person. That tells me one submission could get you a speaking spot in multiple regions.
Do It for Your Career and for the Community
If you’ve ever thought about giving a talk at a conference, this is a big stage and a great chance, even if you have never submitted a session. VMworld 2017 changed my life and boosted my career trajectory in an incredible way. Having a session at a conference that is recorded is proof of work that you can point to for evidence of thought leadership, technical acumen, and the impact you’re making in whatever role you happen to be.
Don’t forget the community benefit. If you speak, I have the chance to learn from your experience. There are so many people who can benefit from that knowledge that I bet you never realized. Don Jones said it best that teaching is repackaging information (see this podcast episode from the Nerd Journey catalog). You, my friend, have something to share…no matter what job you have in the realm of what the conference covers. My encouragement to you is to be brave enough to share it because the community needs you.