As I mentioned in my previous post recapping VMworld 2018, there was nowhere near enough time to complete my entire checklist for the week. I succeeded at most of it, but definitely let a few things slip through the cracks. That tends to happen when you mix a good bit of planning with many go-with-the-flow moments. I always like to go back and catch some of the post-VMworld content, whether it is missed sessions, blog posts or podcasts to take in some of the stuff that may have flown by or just didn’t hit my radar at the time.
One great resource for this is the Virtually Speaking Podcast, which just posted their VMworld recap epsiode. I went on a bike ride the other night and had the chance to take in this episode, featuring interviews with the winning team from the VMworld Hackathon, Frank Denneman discussing Project Dimension, Peter McKay, the Co-CEO of Veeam, and both Michael Dell and Pat Gelsinger. The front half of the episode was great, but is was the back half featuring Michael Dell and Pat Gelsinger that really inspired this post. One thing that got a bit lost in my recap and certainly among all the tech related announcements was the focus that the leaders of both Dell and VMware have on doing good in the world.
During the first general session, Pat Gelsinger made mention of Mercy Ships, an organization that gives free medical care to “the poorest of the poor.” It is a floating NGO consisting of medical volunteers that runs completely on VMware and Dell technology. He also gave a spotlight to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, another organization that utilizes VMware to help take the focus off their infrastructure needs so that they can do good for their patients.
The VMworld episode brought all this back into focus for me, and expanded on that during an interview with Michael Dell. Last year, VMworld happened at the same time as Hurricane Harvey, which devastated much of Houston, TX. In the interview, Michael Dell talked about how he saw the neighborhood in which he grew up submerged under flood water, and it sparked him to raise money via his family foundation. To this day, over 50 million dollars have been distributed by the foundation to help victims of the disaster, with over 50 million more raised on top of that. Michael Dell is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, and hearing him talk about his philanthropy and desire to do good with his position of power was truly inspiring.
Pat Gelsinger was interviewed next and of course delved into the big VMworld announcements, focusing on ESXi on ARM. Later he talked about a fundraising climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, which helped raise money for a girls high school in the slums of Nairobi. Hearing him discuss his backstory with this project and his passion for the work that he has done for disadvantaged people in one of the poorest parts of the world only helped to further hit home on the nature of doing good that comes from the very top at VMware.
As I was riding my bike through the quiet streets of Apex, NC, I couldn’t help but shake all of the tech stuff that was rehashed during the episode and feel some inspiration from those final two interviews. Here are two giants in the tech world who are spreading good throughout the world and actively promoting it as not only a personal principle, but something that represents part of the core of the companies they lead. It is refreshing to see that money isn’t always the only bottom line. With another hurricane currently bearing down on where I now call home, it made me really think about my place in this crazy world. Of course, my immediate thought over the last 24-48 hours has been the safety of my family, but when going through the scenarios in my mind, I started expanding my frame of reference. All of my neighbors are also concerned for their safety as well. If we lose power and go through some kind of ordeal, then certainly the people around me will be experiencing the same thing. And then what about the next neighborhood over? Or the people who fled from the coast where it will probably be worse off and are hunkering down here, which is actually better than where they fled from? And so on…It is very easy to think about only yourself or people/things within a very narrow frame of reference, but I truly believe that most of us are able to break through that and consider a greater good. In a world where we usually only hear about the bad stuff, it was a extremely inspiring to hear that these titans of tech are the some the good guys, pushing both themselves and their companies to do good for the rest of humanity.