My #VMWorld Europe experience representing #EMC (part 1)

It might be day 1 of VMWorld 2014 but there has been a lot going on over the past 2.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon and caught up with people after checking in. Then it was off to the vRockstar event.

The EMC Elect and The ViPR community were one of the sponsors of the event this year. It was bigger and better than ever and gave us an opportunity to mingle with the social rockstars.


I was given a short spot to thank the attendees and I used it to promote EMC Elect nominations. I alos talked a little about how support Communities are changing / evolving at EMC. I did my best to be the best vRockstar I could be, simply by talking to many people and having great conversations. And I rocked the word out to nominate (quite literally).


It was a great event and there are plenty of photos on the social stream under #vRockstar. Many thanks to Patrick Rednap, James Bowling, Hans De Leenher & Marco Broeken for putting it together. And a big thanks to Rachel Foster for marshaling EMC as a sponsor to this event in a short time frame.

Yesterday was partner day. And it was the day Dennis arrived, so we got together to catch up and do some plotting and scheming for the EMC Elect program.:) Good planning, lots of exciting things coming up. More will be revealed in due course.


As it was a less frantic day, it gave me the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. I have mentioned this before, and do so again now by saying that these conferences are an invaluable experience for any attendee and the company or business that paid to send them.. Sometimes its hard for businesses, to grasp this and really see the value. And its especially harder in these difficult economic times to justify the spend. And getting to attend a conference in Q4, well thats a hard sell. Its hard to break what I call consensus thinking.    Now I don’t mean group think, but I do mean following traditional paths to things.  Its tough for people and companies to stop and take a skeptical eye on whats happening. But it does add up on anyone, be it a company, or person, if they continue in a consensus model. I will make a promise to expand on my thoughts on that in another blog post.


In any event the conversations are going very well. And what gives my heart a lift is the depth of those conversations. Be it the encouragement of outside the box ideation from Patrick Rednapp, or James Bowling, or the sage advice and calming but motivating influence of Amy Lewis or Josh Atwell, its all amazing. And there are so many other people too numerous to mention. People who are employees if companies that partner EMC, compete with EMC etc, thats irrelevant. Its the real people behind those roles that speak and converse. And this community of peers in my experience has such a spirit of generosity. They listen, share, validate, and set you straight. Ad believe me, the companies that these people work for, get a tremendous benefit out of it. Thats my perspective at least.

In any event, there is no time to stop. Plenty of sessions today including some hosted by #EMCElect memebers.

More on that in due course.

VMWorld Europe 2014 looms large


Well its almost upon us. VMWorld Europe 2014, in Barcelona from October 14 -16. I will be attending and its my first EMEA based VMWorld conference. Which is nice, no trans-atlantic long haul this time.

I’ll be there representing the EMC Elect and covering some technical things going down there too. There is a lot of EMC related events happening during the show.

If you are there in person do drop by The EMC demo stand. And for a full list of the EMC sessions at VMWorld Europe drop by our Everything VMWare at EMC community. There will be lots of exciting things happening, and I intend to be posting plenty of content, here on my blog and on Twitter via @DathBrun and #EMCElect.

I am looking forward to it and will be one of the speakers at the VRockstar 2014 meet up / party. Thats already sold out! It should be an exciting party and relax, I only speak for 2 minutes 🙂

And EMC & Intel are also hosting a great Customer Appreciation Event at a famous bull Ring. If you are attending the conference in person pick up your EMC party credential at the EMC stand D306 from 11:00-19:30 on Tuesday 14 October.

See you in Barcelona!

Finally Reflecting on VMWorld 2014

VMWorld 2014 in San Francisco was my first VMWorld experience. The following blog is my attempt to describe that experience from my own perspective. I’ll do my best to make sense as much as possible. But if I summarized it in one sentence, then I would say the following. VMWorld was a pleasantly and professionally overwhelming experience.

I have attended many conferences and established many peer to peer personal connections at them. What was a revelation at VMWorld was the ability to understand how deep those connections are. The best summary given of this and phrased better than I ever could is by Hans De Leenher in his blog post entitled “This is Sparta“. I certainly made friends, but also further realized the human element of the social connections I have established.

As well as the connections, I was able to have the VMWorld experience and get a feeling for how this show ran, compared to others I attended. Now this experience was not necessarily better than other conferences I attended, but it was certainly different. I had a lot more conversations with other vendors and other partners than I normally would have.

For the purpose of my professional reasons for being there, it was very successful. For the EMC Ask the Expert Program  we successfully executed a great ” EMC Ask the Expert Tweet Chat “on the new RecoverPoint release. It was a well engaged tweet chat and a prelude to the Ask the Expert discussion on the EMC Support Community.  So too was the EMC Ask the Expert discussion I ran covering the VMWorld event.

For the EMC Elect it was a great interactive event. We held a private briefing for the Elect just ahead of the RecoverPoint announcement. There were also a good number of the EMC Elect who spoke at breakout sessions, running hands on Labs and engaging as Social Champions at various breakout sessions. And as ever throughout the conference, we tweeted, met up, had numerous discussions, and good fun that can all be seen on twitter under #EMCElect and the few photos I include here.

And its worth mentioning too that the #EMCElect had a team in the #v0dgeball championship. This is an annual event that goes towards a great cause that is the Wounded Warrior Charity. We were knocked out in our first game 🙂 but were delighted to take part in such a noble event for a great charity. Well done to EMC Elect member Fred Nix for spear heading this event, year after year. And well done to my partner in crime on the Ask the Expert Program, Roberto Araujo for stepping up as a referee.

In summary, VMWorld US 2014, for me was a very valuable and fulfilling experience. I learned a lot, connected with some fantastic people, took part in a great charity event and had a birthday too 🙂 and in contrast to loosing our first dodge ball game I smashed my planned work goals out of the park !

And one final thank you is reserved for the brilliant EMC’ers, Erica McDonald, Will Quinn & Steve Knight.  who did so so much for the EMC events team and for the Elect team particularly.

Who will be the EMC Elect for 2015?


It’s my First VMWorld conference and by far its been one of the more exciting conferences I attended. And thats putting the earthquake to one side 🙂 That was also a first by the way. Waking to a shaking bed and wobbly hotel room 🙂

I’ll be sharing more on my take on VMWorld 2014 in later posts but i am delighted and quite excited to share this breaking news right now.

Today at VMWorld 2014, The EMC Elect team are announcing that nominations for the EMC Elect of 2015 are now open. It’s exciting to think we are already planning for 2015.  This year by opening the nominations now and closing them out on the 31st December gives people plenty of time to nominate those of their peers they wish to see recognized as EMC Elect for 2015.

For those who need a reminder or are just discovering the EMC Elect, here i what it’s all about.

EMC Elect is a community driven recognition and thank you for an individuals engagement with EMC as a brand over the calendar year. The EMC Elect are selected on their outstanding key characteristics of Engagement, Commitment and Leadership.

Engagement is measured on social participation on Twitter (or other platforms based in other countries), Blogs, the EMC Community Network , and in person community presentations (user groups, conferences, etc…)

Commitment is assessed on how an individual is being part of the EMC conversation day in, day out, offering thoughtful feedback and staying optimistic in their language.

Leadership is appraised by looking at the kind of people who take every opportunity to engage with their peers and represent others as part of the community.

So who do you think fits that bill. Is it yourself, is it the person next to you :). Who would you like to see recognized for helping out the EMC community peers. Make sure you nominate that person even if its you. Yes self nominations are perfectly acceptable.

But nominate now! It takes just a couple of minutes. Don’t put it off until December 31st. Don’t be lured into a false sense of Security. Do it now!

The power is in your hands, you decide who makes the cut for EMC Elect 2015! Have fun with it 🙂

Who’s going to be in here in 2015?

EMC Elect: The humble heroes and heroines


This is a short post that will do two things. It will let me talk about things that have been in my mind about the EMC Elect and will have a short but awesome announcement about the program.

I have seen some commentary out there about the visibility of the EMC Elect at the conferences. its been inferred the Elect don’t stand out enough. To me I think that’s a little unfair. And at the heart of EMC Elect it’s not what it’s about.  The members of the EMC Elect are people. They have friends, families, and very ordinary human stuff. What might be slightly different or distinguishing for an EMC Elect member is their curiosity about technology, their willingness to share what they learn in the social stratosphere and their helpfulness to their community. They did not become this after they became EMC Elect members. The fact is that is their natural default setting. We created the EMC Elect program to recognize these people and show our appreciation. We want them to be recognized as Rock Stars.

But EMC Elect members don’t necessarily want the adulation. In fact that’s not their style. Sure they enjoy the recognition, add the badge to their business cards, blog about it etc. But at lets say a conference, the Elect like to be approachable and don’t necessarily want to lead in with “Hey I am an EMC Elect member, yo!” . They don’t think of themselves like that.

For instance recently while @jasemcarty was visiting Cork at the EMC Executive Briefing center, he told me that he was being introduced to customers as an amazing individual who has written fantastic books on technical subjects, is a rock star in EMC and an EM Elect member. When Jase stood to address the customers he basically said “I’m just a Redneck, from the Bayou!”. And that epitomizes the Elect for me, they’re heroes and heroines who don’t see themselves that way. They love engaging with the community, and are ardent representatives of it and love engaging, but they do it on their own terms as the people they are, who happen to be members of the EMC Elect.

And with that I am glad to announce or rather share the announcement that Dennis Smith  is joining the EMC Elect Team as a Principal Engagement Manager. Dennis is a gentleman and a scholar and did great things with the Dell Rock Stars. I think it’s awesome to have him on our team and it means amazing things for the EMC Elect. And Sean Thulin and I are happy to have another member aboard to share the workload.

Amazing things ahead!

EMC World 2014 in review: My perspective

Talk about a crazy schedule. I am actually writing this as I attend Cisco Live 2014!

Its been two weeks since EMC World but I have had barely any time to draw breath.  Such is the madness of back to back conferences.

Anyway I will summarize the activities I was involved with over the conference.

I had two roles at EMC World, one was to support the ECN Support Community at our booth. The other was with my partner in crime, Sean Thulin facilitating the 35  EMC Elect attending EMC World. So our journey from the EMC Elect perspective started on Sunday, with our March on Vegas:

EMC Elect arrive in Vegas

We Marched then onto the Wynn and had a well earned Brunch. On Monday we started settling in to the EMC Elect Lounge  and the first of the Elect members attending started to arrive.

Mr Koper settles in

On that Monday we did an exclusive  tour of the Supernap facility for the Elect members as well as the Cisco Champions an VMWare  Vexperts. That facility is state of the art, world leading and effectively geek technology porn. I challenge any technical person not to be rendered speechless on their first visit.

The Solutions Arcade at EMC World opened up on the Monday evening so I was between here and the EMC Elect lounge.

Day 2 was where it got really technical and valauble for the Elect when the series of Private briefings for the Elect got underway.

EMC Elect Private Briefing underway

These continued throughout the day. We also had  our live ATE Tweet Chat on Isilon. It was a busy day. And the evening was busy too with our EMC Community Network Customer Appreciation Event.

The first part of that night was exclusive to the EMC Elect members in attendance. And it gave Sean and I the opportunity to show our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all that the EMC Elect members have done. With that out of the way the rest of the crowd arrived and well just look on twitter for the resot of the photos from the Elect members. We had a ball and a well deserved celebration of the Elect program and the wider EMC Community Network membership. It was great catching up with people. and the highlight of it all for me was when Chad Sakac (yes he is an EMC Elect member) thanked me for the wonderful letter we sent out with the welcome kit. He loved it. And when such illustrious members of the community tell you that  you made them happy, its pure gold.

It certainly rounded out a brilliant day.


Day 3 was busy too. I spent the morning in our booth in the Solutions Arcade. And had some great discussions with customers about the Ask the Expert Program. Funnily enough every time I asked a customer what Products that was top in their portfolio it was always VNX. No other product was mentioned. It was funny. We had organised another Tour for Super Nap for those that could not make the first one. A good number of people made that. All their minds were geeked  out upon their return 🙂  And with that we had a welcome reception hosted in the EMC Elect Lounge. We welcomed the SAP Mentors, Cisco Champions and VMWare Vexperts.

EMC Elect Welcome reception

And that concluded things from an EMC Elect perspective. Except for one final community effort led by the gentleman and scholar Dave Henry. We did a mass group Water Walk  for the EMC gives back charity water campaign. Its a great charity and was a lot of fun doing it. It really summed up what the EMC Community Network and the EMC Elect is about. Helping people.

EMC Elect, Cisco Champions, VMWare Vexperts, Sap Mentors Mass Charity Water Walk

Now while my summary is short, rest assured the Elect were kept very busy. And you can see that by just looking at the content they shared out. Their feedback to me was that we outdid ourselves. They were impressed by the briefings, most of all. They relished the opportunity to talk as a group and get their questions to those giving the briefings. Sean and I were thrilled with their reaction. We worked to make it happen and special thanks has to go to Sean and Mary Kilgallen to get the logistics lined up.

We certainly put the Elect in an even better position which is only to the benefit of the community members. The Digital Experience booth was also successful getting a lot of feedback through their surveys which will only help to improve our Customer support experience in the future.

It was by far the busiest EMC World I was ever at. I worked hard, met so many people, made new connections, caught up with old ones.  Now when I get a minute I might get to blog about whats happening at Cisco Live 2014. But if you can’t wait, just lookup #EMCElect on twitter. 🙂

EMC World 2014 draws near

Well I have been remiss as usual with my blog. Its a tough journey with a blog. I am not as confident or proficient as I’d like to be. But for anyone who takes the time to read my posts I am immensely appreciative of it . Its been busy and hectic but if you follow #EMCELECT #EMCATE on twitter you’ll see we have been hard at work on both programs. And along comes EMC World once again. It comes along so fast. Its a short conference but a darned full agenda. It gets bigger every year. And this year will be no different.  I will be there in person once again, and I look forward to meeting old friends, making new ones and delivering a great experience to our Customers, Partners and all ECN community members in person (and online) at EMC World.

EMC Elect has grown slightly in numbers from 75 to 80. But you’ll note an exponential curve in Elect activities of late. And this will be no less so at EMC World. There is a full agenda for them and I fully intend to blog out updates as regularly as I can.

As said, follow #EMCELECT,  sign up for the EMC World vPass and pop a question on our Ask the Expert discussion:  What’s happening at EMC World 2014?

And if you’re still thinking about going, don’t hesitate. Register now🙂 and I look forward to meeting you there in person, or online .

Everybody wins at EMC World 2014. See you May 5-8 in Las Vegas!




VMWare PEX 2014: EMC Elect’s legendary part in it!

This post comes to you from San Francisco as the VMWare Partner Exchange summit for 2014 is wrapping up.

It was a pretty hairy experience getting here but that’s another story.

EMC Elect is a program that facilitates a better connection between those who talk about EMC a lot and EMC itself. As the EMC Elect members are a trusted group it allowed us to invite them to a private partner boot camp on Feb 10th, headlined by Chad Sakac, who is as it happens an EMC Elect member.

It was very well attended and Chad shared lots of “Secret Sauce” to the partners and the EMC Elect. It was a packed day of content and we had a packed house of of an attentive and curious audience.

As well as the taking in the “awesome sauce” of a look under the hood at EMC’s road map and vision, some legendary fun was had that may have unintentionally created a rip  in the time space continuum.  But you knonw, this is how the EMC Elect roll 🙂

it was the EMC Elect twist on the #EMCselfie mission of the summit.

The EMC Elect were also invited to the Scale IO partners appreciation event which allowed for some refreshment, networking and catching up with old friends.

As well as the Road map and social opportunities, the EMC Elect were treated to a private Software Defined Services briefing held by Dave Nicholson.

This was a great briefing that led to a great blog post by EMC Elect member Brian Carpenter, after the details were announced to the public.

I am always humbled by the Rock star members  passion for this community that Matt Brender and I had the vision to build. When I look back I used to worry somewhat that we’d never get traction. But no worries are required. The members are a passionate community, that care and share. Such amazing people one and all. And it always fun and interesting to hang out with them

I’ll be heading home soon and many of the Elect are already on their way. But this post is to share the excitement, the passion and the value the EMC Elect community shares pretty much every single day. This always goes through the roof when you have a lot them around in person. And they hear this a lot from me, but I have to thank them.

Stay tuned to #EMCElect for more legendary adventures throughout 2014. 🙂

Welcoming the EMC Elect of 2014

Its hard to believe but yes, EMC Elect, that was officially announced on November 15th, 2012,  and launched January 15th 2013, has had a full year pass. It flew. And here we are now with the EMC Elect of 2014. The list is here Congratulations to all members. 

It was tough for the Nomination Selection Panel this year to choose from such a list of amazing people that made up the nominees.

Its been a whirlwind of fun, and hard work but an absolute overall pleasure working with the Nominee Selection Panel, the EMC Elect leadership team and the numerous EMC Business Units engaged.

Most amazing of all is the community behind EMC Elect. Such dedicated Community people, who are advocates of their Community and peers.

For me personally, I have benefited from EMC Elect immensely. And technically speaking I am not a member. I lead the program and facilitate it, and I love doing that. But even by doing that I became involved in an amazing community engaging with really erudite individuals. Seriously its been amazing to be in the presence of these folks, both in person and online. I have learned so much from them and the program.

For myself I have built a rich networking connection of great intelligent and helpful people.  I got to engage with customers, partners, employees and Business units I would not get to do in my normal working environment. And its made me better at understanding the business I work in.

But the benefits of EMC Elect  are not just for the members. It’s also to the benefit of people who engage with EMC Elect. They are community driven, socially active. They share tweets, blogs, pod casts, write white papers and publications. They speak at conferences, and might even be on you site conducting a installation or Service. It’s only right EMC thanks them ,and essentially that’s the main purpose of the program, to thank individuals for what they have done fro the previous year. But what happens when you get a group of such amazing individuals together in one place?  Well that’s what happened Last Year. Just simply amazing engagement.

2014, I am sure, will be even greater for EMC Elect. with 80 brilliant individuals, like we have in the EMC Elect of 2014, it cannot but be a fantastic year of engagement, collaboration, advocacy and fun!

Keep an eye on #EMCElect. You won’t be sorry 🙂

There are lot of people to than for amazing work particularly behind the scenes. @sthulin who just rocks as a lead for EMC Elect and for behind the scenes work on getting the Elect awesome stuff at conferences. Also @MaryKilgallen who is an amazing lady who does so much for us that it would take an entire series of blog posts to explain. Essentially if you are a Bond movie fan, Mary is Q and to some degree when we need it M rolled into one. A fantastic lady.

There many others to thank, but its getting late. But the final and most important thank you is to the EMC Elect of 2013. They blazed  a bright trail, setting a path and standard for other EMC Elect to follow. They did it very much in the spirit of community and collaboration. and it is down to these people that the program garnered so much attention.  Thank you so much. Adieu EMC Elect of 2013.  Greetings to the EMC Elect of 2014.

Long Live EMC Elect. 🙂

Happy Holidays, belated Merry Christmas and a recap of 2013 and into 2014!

Procrastination has been a bane of mine when it comes to blogging. And that has a lot to do with the way I feel. Confidence has not been with me to edge me into continued blogging. It’s been a very busy 2013, with my focus very much on two very important projects, EMC Ask the Expert and EMC Elect.And with being busy, free time to blog, is hard to find.

Anyway,  looking over the stats for Ask the Expert, they really do show how much the program has grown since 2012. in 2012 we hosted 27 events.

In 2013, we surpassed this with a total of 91 events with over 125,000 page views, and over 71,000 visits. EMC Ask the Expert is now an integrated production tool that is part of EMC’s Customer Service innovation offerings.It is is multilingual, and incorporated into all aspects of the product life cycle. We host Ask the Expert events for product launches as well as continuing those events throughout the life cycle of the established product. The phenomenal success of this program is very much down to the participating community members of the ECN. And particularly I would like to thank all of the experts who gave up their time and expertise to answer questions on the their hosted hot topics. Thank you all so much for making this program such a success in 2013. We will continue to grow, and expand EMC’s Ask the Expert program in 2014. We learned a lot in the past year and while we intend to continue to offer these events for new and existing products, expect to see us where you want us to be. We not that the Social Media evolution continue unabated.

We intend to offer these events where it is relevant for our community. We will continue to be based on the ECN but are happy to meet our peers on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest and other platforms that arise as relevant to Social Community collaboration.

While Ask the Expert has been successful due the community member, it is important for me to single out one contributor who I considered to be a joint Project Manager on Ask the Expert. That is Stephanie McBride. Stephanie did phenomenal work with Experts, with internal EMC business units and really helped us Market the program in a very relevant and community-centric way. She is very much responsible for integrating ATE into our launch process for products. I cannot thank her enough for her stellar work ethic and passion for the program. As you all know, Stephanie has moved on to Boston University. And while she will be missed very much at EMC, I know she will continue to do stellar and remarkable work in her new role.

Now to talk about EMC Elect. What a phenomenal success its been. Starting out in 2013 on January 15th as a brand new program it garnered a phenomenal response, attention and popularity. We recognized 75 people  in 2013, who on average had ~50,000 unique Social Media followers.

And these 75 people were the driving force behind the EMC Elect success. Within a short time EMC Elect went from new to something EMC cannot do without. Whether its at a conference, product launch or just a techie hangout, you see #EMCElect and you know some very relevant people are sharing very relevant information and community connectivity.

EMC Elect is quickly being seen as the equivalent of press or analysts. What they have to say, everyone wants to hear.  Matt Brender and I worked hard very hard to facilitate this within EMC. But the hardest work was done by the EMC Elect members and I would like to thank all of them for their contributions in 2013. Thank you so much for making this a success that amplifies Social Community and collaboration.

Very soon we’ll be announcing the EMC Elect for 2014. It’s been tough for the judges this year, given the scale of increase in nominations. Being An EMC Elect is a coveted title it seems. and in 2014 the program is sure to grow in popularity, attention and engagement.

And while iit is sad to see Matt Brender move on from EMC, I want to thank him for his immense contribution and drive for this program. I will miss him an awful lot, but rest assured what we built together will continue to grow and thrive.

I intend to see EMC Elect thrive and rest assured the EMC Elect team inside EMC has grown significantly too since we started. It is big focus for EMC and the team are very much behind executing and really providing the new EMC Elect even greater opportunities to engage.

Its been a tremendous ride in 2013. 2014 looms large and you can bet I will be a busy man with two amazing programs. But I will never loose sight of the fact that the success of these programs are dependent upon the community engagement of its members. There are a lot of you to thank, and I do so humbly. I look forward to working with you all again in the New year. Here’s to to a challenging year and great successes throughout. To you and yours all the best for 2014.