VMworld 2016 Session Approved


Yesterday many people started getting their notifications about sessions that were approved and denied.  I submitted two sessions this year and of the two one was accepted.  I was pretty excited about the fact I have had a streak going of submissions and acceptances that I tweeted this out.

The really sad thing about it is that a number of people started replying about how it’s easier or at least there is the assumption that it’s easier to get sessions accepted as a VMware employee.  I was more than a little offended to say the least, but being a day later I wanted to properly address this assumption, at least from my personal perspective.

VMworld Submissions Are All Treated The Same

Regardless of what you THINK you know about the process, employees follow the exact same submission process as everyone else during the open Call For Papers.  We have to log into the same site, submit the same forms, and follow the same process.  There may be a different process for event sponsors, but that’s a completely different story since they are paying sponsors.  I am strictly referring to the call for papers.  Once I submit my session(s), it goes into the same review cycle as all the others.

The bottom line is there is no back door process, no special treatment or favors that happen, at least when I submit mine.  In fact each year for me it becomes harder to come up with something compelling to speak about and submit.  It’s why each year I submit fewer, and have fewer accepted.  I know people are going to believe whatever they want about the process, but for me I’ve never leveraged any internal connections.  Good ideas, good abstracts, and compelling topics are what get noticed.  That actually is the key, getting NOTICED in the sea of submissions.

Now, there may be people on the content side that recognize names on submissions, and maybe that does help, but then that means maybe you need to become a little more well-known in the community as well.  It’s not posturing, it’s making sure people know who you are and what your expertise are.

Tips To Make Your Abstract Better

  • Have a very compelling topic that is relevant to a large number of people, don’t make it laser focussed
  • Make sure people know who you are in the community
  • Make the title powerful, it’s the first thing people read.  There is a feeling that “Deep-Dive” in the title will always get it noticed…I don’t think that’s the case these days
  • Spend time on the abstract.  This is your pitch to the content people.  All you get is this to catch their attention.
  • Make sure you pick the best track you can.  Sometimes there is no great option, so pick the best.
  • Make the key take aways VERY clear, but CONCISE.  You can’t get wordy on those, make sure it’s as powerful as the title
  • Have someone review it that has been successful before.  To be honest, I’ve never once been asked to review an abstract….

My 2016 VMworld Session Information

Here is the exact details of the submission that was approved for me this year.

On the Front Line: A VCDX Perspective working in VMware Global Support Services
How many people get the opportunity to ‘walk a mile in their colleague’s shoes’. This panel of four well-known VCDX’s had the opportunity to spend a month working in VMware Global Support Services (GSS), where they were involved in closing nearly 400 support requests. During this period valuable insight and feedback was shared with customers and GSS, and valuable lessons were learned all around.  The lessons learned during that month has been translated into discussions intended to help YOU our VMware customers.  Their perspectives, on what they observed from customers and the common themes of architectural design challenges was eye-opening.  Come and hear from those VCDX’s some of the most common issues they identified and the ways to mitigate.  Take advantage of their time on the Front Line with GSS to help you design better VMware solutions. During this session they will also unwrap the GSS processes to help you better understand them overall and clarify common misconceptions about GSS
Panel Discussion
Software-Defined Data Center
SDDC – Plan, Build and Operate
Appreciate the most common failure scenarios and how to mitigate them
Increased awareness of valuable assets to support production of better designs and implementation plans
Understand how the GSS Processes real work under the covers.
Please leave comments to help others!

About Chris Colotti

Chris is active on the VMUG and event speaking circuit and is available for many events if you want to reach out and ask. Previously to this he spent close to a decade working for VMware as a Principal Architect. Previous to his nine plus years at VMware, Chris was a System Administrator that evolved his career into a data center architect. Chris spends a lot of time mentoring co-workers and friends on the benefits of personal growth and professional development. Chris is also amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#37), and author of multiple white papers. In his spare time he helps his wife Julie run her promotional products as the accountant, book keeper, and IT Support. Chris also believes in both a healthy body and healthy mind, and has become heavily involved with fitness as a Diamond Team Beachbody Coach using P90X and other Beachbody Programs. Although Technology is his day job, Chris is passionate about fitness after losing 60 pounds himself in the last few years.


  1. It’s great you posted your submission. I’d like to see more of that. When you submit there is very little guidance provided by VMware on what they want. Plus it has a tendency to change year over year.

    But…. 🙂

    While VMware people must go through the same process that process is not public and at some point VMware people make the final decision. No one argues that. It’s VMware’s conference. So while the process may be the same the bias isn’t. Even in your example you, a VMware employee, submitted a session with the other VMware employees talking about VMware’s GSS.

    I have some thoughts that I’ll try and put together on this plane ride that, I think, would go a long way to help people and VMware work together better.

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