The astute of you may realise that there isn’t really a day 6 of VMworld USA. The venue and conference runs from Sunday to Thursday if you have a standard full conference pass.
My journey at VMworld and visiting San Francisco didn’t end on the Thursday, to me it ended Saturday afternoon. The reason for this, is that I was talking to Eric Nelsen (@ericni25) on the Tuesday night vExpert/VCDX party and mentioned that I was sticking around after the conference for a few days. I told him of my plans to take a tour on Saturday, as I had rented a Harley Davidson FatBoy, around Palo Alto to go take some pictures of myself stood outside VMware HQ and a few other well known technology institutions. Without hesitation he told me that he’d do one better than that and meet me there on his Vespa to give me a proper tour!! I had to ask multiple times if he was sure, to give up personal time on a weekend is quite a big commitment but he was insistent!!
So my day started at the rental place getting my FatBoy sorted (so awesome). Then I had little time to rush off to meet Eric at VMware HQ. Some would say that it would have been a wise move to rent a sat nav for the day but I had my phone and I managed to get there with only one stop. I took Eric’s advice and headed down the 101 which was a fairly scenic highway through the mountain range.
I met Eric in the VMware car park and entered the building. The first thing that hit me was the very open outdoor feeling; this was evident by the decor in the building. From that point on, as we toured around, the sheer scale of the entire campus was evident. Eric was casually dropping numbers such as $500 million into conversation, I think the end result was that entire estate cost VMware roughly ~$2 Billion(!!) for land and building costs. I work for a University and have a fairly large campus by UK standards but it is honestly nothing in comparison.
So as we progressed through the “Prom” side of the campus, we took a walk outside and I noticed that there were several signs up for a turtle crossing. This was indeed the area where the famous VMware Turtles were! Great to see them as I know they were not out the day before, in fact, upon first glance I though they were statues as they were perfectly still on the rocks soaking up some sun!
Eric then led me across campus to the newer area known as Hilltop & Creekside. This is where all of the coporate service people live, including VP’s, Finance, HR and even Eric himself! It was getting hot at this time and it was only 11am, but it was certainly a beautiful campus!
I then had a tour inside the building, I got to see such sights as Pat Gelsingers office (from outside) which had a great view! Eric also took me to where they record the VMware Communitiy Podcast. It was a very impressive recording room, that is fully soundproofed, where they also now do a lot of their markting videos.
Finally it was our time to walk back to where we started around the edge of the campus. I took the opportunity to grab some pictures of me outside of one of the signs to prove I was there! Also, I had to grab a selfie of Eric and I to commemorate the morning. He is a really great guy; explaining the history of how things developed at the campus over the years and what working is like there day-to-day. He truly is one of the people at the heart of VMware and it is evident why he does his job and how he’s so good at it.
With a handshake as a parting gesture, I left Eric to commence my tour of California as much as my 200 mile allowance and time restrains allowed for. I managed to cruise from Palo Alto over the mountains and down the coast into Santa Cruz. This journey was epic and I must thank Tina Kim of Pernix Data(http://pernixdata.com/) (who lives locally in San Jose) for being my guide for the afternoon by joining me for a ride on her bike! A great way to end my time in San Francisco and fond memories of VMworld USA will stay with me forever!
I just hope I can come back and visit VMworld in Las Vegas next year!