October 15th to 18th 2018 saw Veeam assemble members of its Veeam Vanguard program for a technical summit, held in Prague. This summit saw Vanguards travel from far and wide, with every content on the planet being represented.
The purpose of this summit was to give the Vanguards access to Veeam’s Product Strategy team, R&D and Product Managers for an overview of upcoming features and products. The content of the sessions held during the summit were split into Green (free to share), Yellow (embargoed content) and Red (Strict NDA), and there was certainly plenty to learn/hear about. Honest feed back is pure gold for a Product Team.
However I am not going to cover the actual technical details of the green sessions nor talk about upcoming features. Some of my Vanguard associates , Karl Widmer and Luciano Patrao, have both brilliantly summarised some of the sharable content over on their respective blog sites :-
Having been fortunate enough to have been involved with the Veeam Vanguard program since its inception in 2015 and I like to share my thoughts on the program has developed over the past 4 years.
As an inaugural member of the program, I have had the good fortune to be invited out to 2 VeeamOn events. Las Vegas 2015 and New Orleans 2017. The program has to date also organise 2 dedicated summits for Vanguards, London 2016 and the more recent Prague 2018 event.
In my opinion the summits are the more appealing and beneficial of the 2 ‘options’. With the VeeamOn attendance, there is little interaction between the Product Strategy Team, Product teams and the Vanguards outside of the general sessions, due to presentations etc.
There have been dedicated NDA sessions at the events, but due to time constrains there is a lot of content to digest in a relatively short period of time. Don’t get me wrong attending VeeamOn is a huge honour and benefit to the program.
To me it feels like less ‘focused’ on being a Vanguard and more on a general attendee. Apologies if that comes across as entitled, certainly not meant in that manner. Again very, very honoured and grateful for the opportunity to attend.
The 2 summits thus far have been excellent, with Rick and his team building on the London 2016 event for the Prague event this year. London was an opportunity for Vanguards to partake in beta training for Veeam Certified Engineer – Advanced: Design & Optimization course. During the summit Vanguards could feedback on the content for the Education to tweak accordingly.
Fast forward to 2018 ,Prague, and this year’s summit was 2.5 day’s worth content with direct access to a collection of Product Managers, Developers and most of the Product Strategy Team. The sessions were just the right length, with enough time for the presenters to put their content across and to allow for a liberal sprinkling of healthy discussion. Rick and his team managed to put a very slick, tightly run and informative event.
That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement, which was fed back to the team by all who attended. One of the most refreshing points was there was next to zero marketing slides. This just wasn’t one of those events.
After the trip an external colleague made the comment:
“fresh batch of Koolaid in Prague?“
Now I know it was an a reference to Czech beer , but that’s one of the great benefits of the Vanguard program, we can drink the Koolaid and it’s ok for us to say “this tastes funny“, as long as we feed back why, so the recipe can be tweaked 🙂
While attending the summits it really felt like you were part of the extended Veeam global family. With members of the Product Strategy going out of their way to talk to everyone and getting to know them a little better. The socialsing was good to see, joining in with the festivities.If anyone deserves to let their hair down once in a while, it’s certainly Rick and his team.
A huge thank you to Rick Vanover and his Product Strategy Team for creating and collecting some truly interesting features and products to discuss. An extra special mention for Kathie O’Brien and Aubery Galen, the real stars of the show. Organising an event, travel and social engaments for ~40 Veeam Vanguards is no mean feat. Especially when you consider how far flung we all are.