Home » VCDX » My VCDX Journey (and stumbles along the way) # 2

My VCDX Journey (and stumbles along the way) # 2


If you missed Part 1, here it is.

So I was in SFO for VCDX defence. My wife and kid joined me on the trip. She has family in Cali, she went to see them, I stayed back. I was nervous, didn’t know if I will make it. After sleeping through most of the day, decided to catch up with people whom I’d known only on twitter and via webex. It was late, so I caught up with Brad, Kalen, Garette and Mark. Had a couple of beers and went back.

Nutanix (@nutanix) had offered to provide us with a meeting room where we could do mock sessions. We did some mocks when quite a few VCDXs dropped in and gave us a lot of tips. We attended the VCDX bootcamp. Next day we did the same, only change was that we did design scenarios and TS scenarios. We had fun, Kalen Ardnt gave us TS scenarios from his experience at VMware Support. A word of caution, he is mad, absolutely mad. So if you see him in TS scenario you can be rest assured that he is going to fry your brain and have it with some sauce (along with a few laughs for sure). That was the Sunday, Monday came and went, I was holed up in a hotel room studying.


Tuesday morning and I was a nervous wreck, couldn’t breathe or stay put. I was pacing up and down the hotel room. It was time to leave and I walked to the Hilton where the defence was scheduled.

Mark Brunstad and John Arrasjid met with me and took me to the holding area. There were 2 panels happening at the same time. Also in my defence room were an observer and 2 new panelists in training. John introduced me to everyone in the room. And it began. I was nervous, my hands were sweating and I was fidgety at best for the first 5 mins. Then I began to enjoy myself in the defence. It went reasonably OK, though I was still disappointed with my effort. I enjoyed the defence and TS scenario a lot more than the design scenario.

I couldn’t answer some questions that the panelists asked me and skipped over a couple with vague answers. It was done. I came out, met Magnus Edh (@vTerahertz, #140) and we exchanged how it went etc. I wasn’t happy with my design scenario and thought could’ve done better in design defence. That evening, I was smuggled into the VCDX/vExpert Party by Brad and had the chance to rub shoulders with the giants of industry present there. Also saw VCDX-Alpha being presented to CEO Pat Gelsinger for his vision and contribution to the program.

Thursday evening, went to visit my wife’s family and got a text from Brad asking if I had made it. All along I thought I would get the result when I was back in Australia. I opened the email and it wasnt good news. I was furious with myself and couldn’t enjoy the family time. I still had to do Vegas, LA and Disneyland. I wish there was a hole for me to curl up into and not come out. Next day, I thought ‘you know what, I am going to try again. Its not the end of the road’.

VCDX Attempt #2

I enjoyed the rest of the trip to US, didn’t really like Vegas, loved Disneyland and spending time with Family. I came back pulled up my socks, starting working on my design again. I submitted the same design incorporating the feedback given by the panel. I got accepted to defend it in Singapore, July 7.

Sleepless nights began again. Mocks with Josh Odgers, Grant Orchard week before defence. I gave it a final push. Saturday 5th July, I injure my big toe in a stupid accident and had to get half the nail taken off (yep it happened).

Flying out Sunday Morning I was completely under the influence of pain killers and could barely walk. That 9 hour flight was the longest and the most painful flight of my life. After landing, I caught up with Andrew Brydon (@sidbrydon, #139) and had McDonalds for dinner.

D-Day #2

I woke up in immense pain and took the pain killers again. It was time to get ready. I tried to put shoes on and it was impossible to take a step or stand with shoes on. I decided to go in Sandals. It took me 25 mins to walk to the defence location and it was less than 5 min walk. It wasn’t looking good.

I defended the design well and was ok in TS scenario,  and in my opinion didnt do as well in design scenario. I was limping all the time, walking up to flip chart to draw something back to the middle. It was painful, so much so that after my design defence I took 4 more pain killers to numb the pain. I couldn’t think straight for the first 10 minutes in the design scenario. I felt stupid taking those pain killers, I cursed myself in my brain, I couldn’t bring words to my mouth that my brain was processing. It was Hell. I thought ‘If I don’t make it this time I am done. I am so done’.

I walked back, changed the blood soaked dressing on my toe, had a drink with Andrew and distinctly remember saying “I f****d up the design scenario as I couldn’t think for the first 10 mins”. We did a quick design scenario mock and I went back to Changi to catch my flight back. My flight was delayed by 3 hours. So more painkillers cos of the walking..

2 days later, I woke up and glanced at my phone blinking green. I saw Andrew Daunce’s tweet congratulating me. I check my email on the phone..NOTHING. Check it on my mac..NOTHING. I felt as if there was a knife in my chest. I sent a quick message off to Mark Brunstad asking for an update. Then someone posted the VCDX directory snippet with my name in it. I’d done it. Yes it is an achievement..

For everyone and anyone who thinks failure is a step back, no for VCDX its not. You’ll learn better from it and not make the same mistakes.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

A special thanks to all the people below in no particular order

My wife (@harneet_brar) and my 4 year old son (Pillars of my life), Josh Odgers (@josh_odgers), Grant Orchard (@grantorchard), Arron Stebbing (@arronstebbing), Andrew Brydon (@sidbrydon), Derek Seaman (@vDerekS), Brad Christian (@bchristian21), Josh Coen (@joshcoen), Jeff Mercier, Sean Howard, Richard Arsenian (@richardarsenian),  Kalen Ardnt (@kalenardnt), James Charter (@Davesrant), Tim Antonowicz (@timantz), Mark Gabryjelski, Michael Webster (@vcdxnz001), Manish (@mandivs), Mark Brunstad (@markbrunstad), John Arrasjid (@vcdx001), Duncan Epping (@duncanyb), Frank Denneman (@frankdenneman), Andrew Mitchell (@amitchell01), Rene (@vcdx133) and everyone in the VMware community.

This is your victory too 🙂



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