The Importance of the #vCommunity – Part 2 – The Benefits

Hey everyone, it’s time for Part 2 in my #vCommunity series. Today I’m going to talk about some of the benefits that the #vCommunity can provide you as an individual.


You’re going to make friends.

I’m going to put this one first and foremost as it’s the most important aspect to me. You’re going to meet a lot of really good people. What is great about the #vCommunity to me is the fact that you’re meeting like minded individuals. I touched on this a bit during Part 1 of the series. Most of the people that I’ve come across that are involved in the #vCommunity participate because the genuinely want to be there. They are selfless and encouraging almost to a fault and always seem to be willing to lend a helping hand. To me, those are some of the most important qualities that I look for in my friends. I have been lucky enough to make a lot of friends in the #vCommunity that I plan on keeping for a very long time. It doesn’t just have to be people you meet in person, it could people you hardly ever or never meet that you talk to on Twitter. When people share a connection, it’s very easy for that to turn into a friendship.

Increased knowledge

You’re going to get smarter.

Whichever route you choose to engage in the #vCommunity, someone, somewhere is going to teach you something. It goes both ways too, you may teach someone else something. You’ll come across great training, blog posts, great speakers, study groups, hackathons, Git repositories, you name it. Once again, people will have a common goal and will look to work with others to get there. vBrownBag is a great example of #vCommunity members coming together to build awesome content that is by the #vCommunity and for the #vCommunity. Study groups have been pretty good to me in the past and I always try to share the knowledge whenever I can. You should too.

Career advancement

You’re going to get a better job.

Even if you love your job, there’s plenty of other ones out there. You may not have the skills today or have the right relationships to advance at your current spot but the #vCommunity can help with that too. The #vCommunity provides for awesome networking. Not the route/switch kind of networking but the LinkedIn kind. The more people you meet, the more relationships that you’ll build. Yes, skills are important to land a job but relationships are way more important. Having the right person recommend you for a position or even make you aware of a position is critical for landing the right job. Plus, having existing relationships at a company make the transition easier for everyone involved.


You’re going to teach someone else to be awesome like you.

I don’t know many people that have made it to where they are today without a little help or guidance. I for sure didn’t make it here alone. I’ve had a lot of great mentors along the way. Now that I am fortunate enough to have advanced in my career, I try to give back as much as I can. This is one of the main reasons that I became a VMUG Leader. It gives me the opportunity to meet new people and provide any guidance on how they can learn more about technology but also advance their careers. I’ve been through enough over the years that I’ve experienced lots of ups and a few downs as well. If sharing some of my experiences can influence others in a positive way than I’d be more than willing to do so. It’s also one of the reasons that I became of the Tech Level Up Project. I’d recommend checking it out. It’s just another way that you can give back to the #vCommunity. If you’re looking for a mentor, you just found one.

Improved public speaking

You’re going to talk to a room of people at some point.

This one may not be for everyone. I get it. Not everyone is comfortable getting in front of a room of people (especially a room of strangers) and speaking. That’s cool. You don’t have to be comfortable but it’s a great skill to have. It helps when you are comfortable presenting not only to your peers but to your management and customers as well. It takes practice and not everyone gets the opportunity to do it. I’m still learning how to be comfortable in front of a room. One of the best ways that I found to practice is to volunteer for a user presentation at a VMUG event or better yet, if your local VMUG does Whiteboard Meetings like we do at NYC VMUG, you’ll have the opportunity to get up and present to a smaller group of people to build your confidence and just get the repetitions in. Like anything else, practice makes perfect.


You’re going to get noticed.

Some people live for this stuff, whereas to others it’s still a little weird. There are different forms of recognition. It can come in the form of an award, such as vExpert, Cisco Champion, Microsoft MVP, etc. but this isn’t the only form. The most rewarding experience that I’ve had was when someone came up to me at a VMUG event and mentioned that my article on my certification experience helped them pass the test as well. Another great example is meeting someone that you’ve spoken to on Twitter at an industry event like VMworld or Re:Invent. It doesn’t have to be limited to #vCommunity recognition though. Sometimes your work in the #vCommunity will be recognized by your employer as well which will lead to getting paid more money. Last I checked, people usually like money. 🙂

As you can see, these are just a few of the many benefits that being part of the #vCommunity can provide you. I’m sure that I forgot a bunch but I’ll make sure to keep this updated as they come to me. In part three of this series I’ll dive a little deeper into VMUG and how you can get involved.

2017 – My Year In Review

Wow, a lot has happened in my life in 2017. A. LOT. I don’t even know where to start. I’m going to share my experiences with you all and hopefully inspire you all to do bigger and better things for yourselves in 2018. The easiest way to do this is going to be chronologically so I’ll do my best to keep these in order. It was definitely a year of firsts and new beginnings for me.

#1 (and most important) – Family

Last December I guess technically it was 2016 but since it was late December, I’m counting it. (My Blog, my skewed timeline. Ha!)

My wife Cara and I were fortunate enough to have another beautiful, healthy boy, Rocco Xavier Scuola. We just recently celebrated his 1st birthday. I don’t think the impact of this needs an explanation but I will say that definitely helped put things in perspective for me. My family is the biggest reason I do what I do and strive for success. They are the greatest motivation anyone can ever ask for. The support that they have given me over the years is unmatched and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.

#2 – vExpert Award


The year started off with a bang. I was award the title of vExpert by VMware for the first time. It is truly an honor to be on this list. It’s still surreal to me that I made the cut. I’ve already written a post about what it meant to me that you can find here.


Coming off being named a vExpert, things got even more exciting. My good friend Ariel Sanchez Mora and his lovely wife Amy decided to leave NYC for Pittsburgh. I was (and still am) sad to see them go. I wasn’t the only one though. Ariel was a co-leader of the NYC VMUG and left a HUGE void with his departure. The remaining co-leaders thought that I would be a good fit and asked it I would help out. I immediately accepted their gracious offer and I’m really happy that I did. We’ve done some amazing things in 2017 and 2018 is looking just as great. More on that coming up later.

#4 – Zerto


The hits just kept on coming after that. After years of being on the customer/partner side of IT, I decided to make the jump to the vendor side of things. Boy, am I happy that I did. I tell everyone that will listen that I should have gone into pre-sales years ago. Zerto has such an amazing culture and only hire top notch people. I’ve been using the product for over 3 years as a customer so it was an easy transition to an engineer role for me as I can speak from experience. Here is more about the move.

#5 – vExpert NSX Award


August was a big month for me as well. I was included in one of the vExpert sub-programs for NSX. I’ve been a fan of NSX for a long time. It’s nice to see that my contributions to the NSX community were recognized. It’s a great fit for nearly any VMware environment and works even better when the customer is using Zerto too. 🙂

#6 – vExpert


So I know what you’re thinking, I already talked about this. This time, I’m not talking about me though. This one is even more special because I was able to take someone under my wing and coach them on what they needed to become a vExpert. Best of all, THEY MADE IT! I was so proud. I still am. I literally did none of the work, I just aimed my friend in the right direction and answered the questions that came up during the process. This touches on something that has been discussed on Twitter a lot recently. Mentoring. It’s such an important part of all of our careers. If it’s not currently a part of yours, you should change that. It’s not just about being mentored by someone else, it’s about what you can do to give back. I’ll touch on this again in a few.

#7 – VMworld/VMUG Extra Mile Award

Going with the theme of firsts, 2017 was the first of hopefully many times that I was fortunate enough to attend VMworld in person. What made it even more special was the fact that the NYC VMUG was awarded the Extra Mile Award. We started doing Whiteboard Meetings in NYC with our members where we would dive deep into current technologies, projects we’re working on, home labs, etc. We presented the concept on a VMUG Leader Call and they thought that it warranted recognition. I was so proud to be there to accept in person.

VMworld itself was a blast as well. I learned a lot about what’s new and what’s coming next, I got to see a lot of my old friends that I haven’t seen for a bit and best of all, I was able to see my Twitter timeline come to life. Seeing people that I talk to on social media in real life was the best. I got to meet some people that I’ve only chatted with online, make some new friends and finally put some faces to names. There were also some awesome parties. I attended the Zerto party, the vExpert party and of course the closing party with Blink 182 which was nuts. I also got to take part in my first vBrownBag video. Overall, VMworld was an experience that I’ll never forget

#8 – vBrownBag

During my first NY/NJ VMUG UserCon as a co-leader, I was fortunate enough to do a lightning talk on the #vCommunity as the importance of it as a whole and also to me individually. I expanded on the talk in a blog post here (it will be part of a series) and the link to the video can be found here. I think vBrownBag is really important as it’s technology by the community for the community. The content is always fresh, current and focused on things that matter. I’m currently going through their API series to try and learn some automagic, errr, automation. 🙂

#9 – vExpert Cloud Award

My contributions to the community continued as the year went on. I was honored for a 3rd time to be named an inaugural member or the vExpert Cloud sub-program. I never would have guessed in the beginning of the year that I would end it as a triple vExpert.

#10 – #vCommunity/The Level Up Project 


I’m sure that you’ve seen a trend here. The majority of what I’ve talked about has been around the #vCommunity. I personally would not be where I am today if not for the help of others. I always try to do the same for others where possible. Whether, it’s sharing technical knowledge, giving career advice, or even trying to help friends find new jobs, I’ll do my best to provide assistance where I can.

That’s why I was drawn to the Level Up Project. It’s everything that I love about VMUG and the #vCommunity but it’s not just limited to VMware. Take a look at the website/Twitter and you’ll find the vTrail Map. This was an awesome resource I found at VMworld. It’s only going to get bigger and better next year. The people that are involved are really some of the top talent in the industry and I’m still wondering why they keep letting me hang around them. 🙂 Hopefully they never catch on.

2017 has been a phenomenal year for me and it’s going to be tough to top it but I’ll do my best. My focus for 2018 is going to be spreading the knowledge and helping to mentor anyone who’s looking for help. I won’t limit it to just technology as there are a lot of people out there that are much smarter than me. I can share career experiences in both large and small companies, as well as what being in sales is like now. If you’re looking to get more involved in the community, I know just the guys and gals that you should talk to. If I can help you, I will. That’s my promise to you.

I’d also like to say thank you to everyone who has helped me get where I am today and supports me everyday.

First off, my wife Cara. She’s the real MVP. None of this is possible without her love and support.

The NYC VMUG crew, you guys are the best. Not just the leaders but our regular whiteboard crew too. Ariel, Niran, Prabhu, Azarya, Anton, thanks for setting the bar so high and making me want to get better every day.

To my team at Zerto, thanks for showing me the ropes and making this an unbelievable experience so far.

To everyone in the #vCommunity, just keep being awesome as you inspire me to do better every day.

Happy New Year everyone! I’m really looking forward to what 2018 is going to bring us.


P.S. Bea Arthur was a Marine. 🙂