VMUG Insights from Japan

Photo Credit: Kaz Igarashi

Recently, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the VMUG Japan UserCon. While in Tokyo, I experienced VMUG hospitality on a new level from both longtime friends and newcomers to the VMUG community. Japan UserCon had countless great moments and activities, two in particular stuck out: the lightning round presentations and the peer-to-peer mentorship within the community.

Lightning Round Presentations

This year I had the privilege of judging the annual Japan UserCon Lightning Rounds. Community leaders manage subcommittees, and each committee presents a 15-minute discussion on topics such as vSAN, VDI, and Hybrid Cloud, allowing the wider audience of attendees to digest niche topics in an easily understandable format. While the concept of subcommittees is not new, these short “lightning rounds” by community members with specific expertise are lively, detailed, and prove to be very effective. One thing I found particularly interesting is that the subcommittees meet throughout the year and present their findings to everyone annually at the UserCon. By meeting throughout the year, members of the subcommittees become experts on specific topics that are helpful to the larger VMUG community.

Peer Mentorship

Another dynamic I observed at this year's Japan UserCon was how experienced attendees served as informal mentors for the newer members of the community. While VMUG veterans serve as great advisors throughout the world, the VMUG Japan community really encourages mentors to be candid and direct in setting expectations, making goals, and giving career guidance.

Again, I’m sure you know it is not unusual for VMUG members to motivate each other to innovate and achieve, however, the direct approach taken by VMUG Japan members was refreshing and constructive. Offering this type of blunt and clear direction is a transparent leadership style that we should all think about incorporating as leaders in our local VMUG community.

I encourage leaders across all VMUG communities to consider including these ideas into their own local VMUG groups. Creating a fun and constructive environment elevates us all as a larger community. This was not my first trip to Japan, and it certainly will not be my last. If you make the trip, take time out to meet the great VMUG Japan leadership team of Kaz Igarashi, Kunihiro Yamazaki, and Hikaru Shimamura.

See you at a VMUG,

Brad Tompkins


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