Building VMworld by Proxy
Envision is a fun place to work - which should be obvious by some of the other entries in this "culture" section of our website. It's not all fun and games, however. The team at Envision works very hard for our clients and our company, and no event is more evident of that hard work than our annual VMworld By Proxy conference.
Our 5th VMworld By Proxy event took place yesterday (10/11/12) at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island. This event has grown each year that we have held it, and this year proved no different. VMworld 2012 was our biggest and best event to date - but what does it take to put on an event like this each year? As we planned for, set up, and delivered this year's show, we decided to also document the process of what we do to produce this popular conference each year.
Planning the Event
Months before the event, we begin brainstorming what that year's theme will be. That theme helps dictate the visual design that will be carried through various aspects of the event - from our "Save the Date" notifications, to the event's website and online promotional campaigns, to the slide decks used on the day of the show. This year's theme was "We Build The Future", using a fun "retro look to the future" design. You can see this theme below on some promotional materials and the website design, which was made responsive to accomodate registration on a variety of different devices.
You can't hold the area's most successful VMworld recap event without first attening VMworld, so a huge part of preparing for the event is heading out to San Francisco for this year's VMware conference. That conference is a busy time for the Envision engineers who attend, as we work to see as much as possible and bring back the best that we see for our event. At this year's VMworld, Envision's CEO/CTO, Todd Knapp, met with over 250 vendors on the show's floor while also attending numerous sessions and panels. He even spoke on one of this year's panels, beside some of the biggest names in the industry.
There is normally about month between VMworld and VMworld By Proxy, a time in which we finalize what content we will present at the show, what vendors will be invited to participate, what demos will be shown, etc. At the same time, we are working with the venue on event logistics, from plans for the room to food to timeframes for us to get in prior to the event to begin setting up.
Set-up day is the day before the event, and we put together an event team to get everything ready at the venue. This includes issues from decorations and promotional banners to demo units and any technology needs the show will have, such as wifi, digital signage, etc.
The Event Itself
As the morning of the event arrives, any last minute preparations are set and Envision's team heads to the venue early to get started. Signage is set up to direct attendees to the entrance, the presentations are given a final test and registration is set up as we get ready to welcome this year's attendees.
As 10:00 rolls around, attendees take their seats and the day begins. A recap of VMworld is followed by a presentation on "Big Data" and then some lunch. This year during lunch, we tried something new and held a "fireside chat" with a panel of vendors. Moderated by Todd, we also took questions from the crowd and via Twitter in what turned out to be one of the highlights of this year's event (yes, that is a video of a fireplace behind our panel of presenters - how can you have a "fireside chat" without a fire).