The Road to the VeeamON Stage (again)


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I’m returning to the VeeamON (virtual) stage this year, and I wanted to catalogue my journey within the Veeam Community so far and give thanks to the people that have helped me get to where I am today.

I’d been working with Veeam products for about 7-8 years at the time, and I’d seen the Veeam Forums, now known as the Veeam R&D forums. I’d asked a few questions in there, but it never really felt like a community. The relationship within the forums was that of a customer and business. Someone would seek advice with a problem, or request a feature, and a member of staff from the Veeam forums would reply. Very transactional.

Then, during the infamous lockdowns of 2020, Veeam launched their “Veeam Live” Event. During this event, Veeam revealed their new “Community Hub”. I remember frantically writing down the URL “community.veeam.com”. And I had no idea at the time how much my career was about to elevate.

As the event concluded, I opened the URL to see if this was a long-standing platform that I’d just happened to miss hearing about. But it wasn’t. The Community Hub was brand new!

So, I decided to write a little question into the community, “What was your favourite announcement from Veeam Live 2020”. I thought maybe someone would reply. But the response was overwhelming. Suddenly people that I’d seen from Veeam Events, and recognised names, we’re talking to me. And it wasn’t in a customer/business relationship either, or a simple question & factual answer. It was a conversation.

After registering, I kept getting emails from the Veeam Community, with more content being added by others. So, I decided I’d try my hand at sharing content, I’d blogged in the past but not for a few years. I started to write blog posts and then cross-post them to the Veeam Community Hub, and it felt different to my blog, as I was getting direct, positive feedback from my peers in the community.

And so, I kept writing content, and people kept asking questions of the community, and I kept providing input into the conversation. And round and round and round and round it went.

Then, a “Community Recap” video appeared. None other than Rick Vanover & Ksenia Zvereva were talking about the content that was delivered that week. And then, on the 3rd weekly recap, I got mentioned! It was a surreal experience to hear people talking about my content. It was hugely inspiring to keep writing when people were talking about your content in a positive way and sharing it onwards for others with their views.

But something I’ve omitted until this point was that, alongside the announcement of the Veeam Community Hub, was a new community program, “Veeam Legends”. The concept was simple, contribute quality content, participate in community projects, drive Veeam User Groups, and help your peers, and become recognised by Veeam as a “Veeam Legend”. Ksenia did a fantastic write-up of the program during its initial announcement if you want to read more about this.

Whilst it wasn’t the reason I was creating content, it still felt like something exciting to be a part of, the other people creating content were clearly so clever, and I wanted to be the dumbest person in the room with them so I could learn so much more!

And then it happened, in February 2021, the first intake of Veeam Legends was announced, and I’d made the list! From there, things accelerated quickly. Talks of community projects started, resulting in the Veeam Legends Pocketbook!

One of the brilliant perks to being a Veeam Legend, was the opportunities it enabled to participate in Veeam events & sessions. And, sure enough, I got asked if I’d contribute to a session with none other than THE RICKATRON for a humorously named “Hold My Beer While I Recover To The Cloud”. This was an amazing experience I recommend everyone should try to take part in. For me, the best part of learning has always been sharing what I’ve learned. The opportunities granted by this program didn’t end there, I also got to share content I’d written on Veeam’s official blog.

But it’s always easier to talk about success than setback. Around the time that I got the “Veeam Legend” status, I also got rejected for “Veeam Vanguard”. I was given great feedback and encouragement by Nikola Pejkova through the rejection process, being told that Veeam liked the content I was producing and to keep going and try again. Veeam cared deeply about the quality of their candidates, and I felt that was a good bar to set my aim to. It is never easy to reject someone, but Nikola truly made me feel like my time to apply wasn’t in vain, or unvalued, which kept my morale high.

Bringing this back around to the Veeam Legend program. The effects of Veeam Legend status extended beyond simply Veeam Community recognition. It provided me with a unique selling point. I was the first, and for a time, the only “Veeam Legend” in the whole of the U.K. I was headhunted for a new role at a brilliant organisation and being able to evidence my expertise through public community contributions spoke volumes to them.

As a result of this process, I started 2022 with a new job, and with both the renewal of Veeam Legend and the addition of Veeam Vanguard status. But to leave it there does a massive disservice to those that encouraged me to apply again. Craig Dalrymple, Falko Banaszak, Wolfgang Scheer for example were all hugely encouraging in applying for the program, and without their encouragement I might not have applied again.

I remember an impromptu Teams meeting being held when the Vanguard renewals & new intakes were announced, and I joined the call to cheering from everyone on there, that is when you know you’ve just joined a positive community.

2022 was an exciting year, I continued to get the opportunity to share content with the community, whether through Veeam’s Friday Tech Bytes presenting content I’d created, or even an awesome coincidence where I’d get to co-present with Kirill Zverev! 2022 even resulted in meeting up with some of the Veeam Legends that had grown to become firm friends of mine, Fabian Kessler, Jochen Meixner, and Max Maier. Alongside this was yet more content, both on my blog, and within the Veeam Community Hub.

Now 2023 has arrived, which has seen my renewal of Veeam Legend & Vanguard statuses, a LOT of presenting opportunities such as the Veeam User Groups, in person Veeam events, founding a new VUG focused on Cloud & SaaS, and of course, VeeamON!

Applying to speak at VeeamON was painless, I received a message that the “call for content” was open and I decided to pen a draft of a topic I’d wanted to talk about for a while. The draft was accepted and here we are, the final countdown to VeeamON.

This brings us to now, the slides are finalised, the recording for VeeamON is done and going through post-processing, and I can’t wait to share with you all my session “What I Wish You Knew About SureBackup”. You can read all about it and all the other content via the VeeamON website, and can begin building your own schedule and check out the awesome pre-VeeamON content available. If you’re struggling to think where to begin, Max Maier has put together a great schedule of suggestions, and I’m not just saying that because he put me on his list!

To close, whilst I’d like to thank and recognise everyone that’s helped me along the journey so far. I’d also like to add an extra thank you to:

  • Ksenia Zvereva & Rick Vanover for creating and leading the Veeam Community Hub and the Veeam Legend
  • Nikola Pejkova for her encouragement and kindness in helping me get into the Veeam Vanguard program and continued leadership of this program.
  • Madalina Cristil for her continued support within the Community as its leader, and for her invaluable work bringing events and new groups such as Cloud City to life.

And thank you for reading! I hope this inspires someone to take their first step to getting involved in the community, or their next step in their career.


14 comments

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Well done on your “Veeam journey” @MicoolPaul . Looking forward to catching your virtual VeeamON session after the Live event in Miami. Keep sharing great content!

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

A very inspiring journey and post.  I will definitely catch your session after the live event.  Best of luck as we all continue this Veeam journey as a community.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Impressive journey @MicoolPaul .
You are the most advanced member here with very good and useful content on many topics. 👍🏽

I'm glad to have met you and it's great that we see each other as a friend.
The Veeam Legends program has brought together a great group of people.

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

Thank you Michael 🙂 Can only say the same about you 👍

This community brought people from different countries together :) That‘s what I most like about this community.

 

Best,

Fabian

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

This is a great post, @MicoolPaul ! Thanks for all your support in my (newer) journey through the community.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

What a great story..thank you @MicoolPaul , and keep it up, you are an inspiration to all of us!

p.s.: I hope one day to be able to tell a story like yours too! 😊💚

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Thank you all for the kind words 😊 and I will be cheering for you all as you all continue your own journeys! We’re all learning together!

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

I still remember that first Legends call meeting, still deep in the pandemic! One of the major things that made living through that time so much easier was meeting smart and good humored folks like @MicoolPaul and the other legends!

Userlevel 7
Badge +14

You've really had an exciting journey and development. And you're the perfect example of how a community member should be; so Marco is right, you inspire us 👏

I'm also honored to call you a friend and hope we'll all going to meet again at some time. 😊

Userlevel 7
Badge +11

Very, very, very nice to read @MicoolPaul and indeed well deserverd the status you are having now !!!

Thx a lot for let us enjoy this article.

You and other Legends are an example for me and give me strenght to keep up the high level !

I couldn’t say it better than @Mildur  : This community brought people from different countries together :) That‘s what I most like about this community.

Absolutely agree with that and all with the same love and passion for the best backup product and IMHO : the best VENDOR by far !!!

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

Very nice inspiring write up.  This is an amazing community. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

What an inspiring and humble post, you are one of the inspiring people in this community. Can’t wait to watch this new virtual sesh and learn about surebackup!

Userlevel 7
Badge +6

Great, @MicoolPaul !

Userlevel 7
Badge +6

Congrats on the journey.  When I came across the Community Hub, I was astounded as well the first couple times I got mentioned in the Weekly recaps.  A few times for comments, but also for a blog post.  such a feeling to feel like you’re suddenly e-famous in our community.

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