We've heard from some of the other teams (EMC vSpecialists, XaaS Badgers) and some of the fans (@sthulin, @mjbrender). Now it's time to hear from the BEST vendor neutral v0dgeball teams at VMworld this year (sorry vSquirrels): the Cloudbunnies.
Who are we?
We are a group of women from six different technical companies. The idea came from Caroline Orloff, now of EMC Consulting. Instead of fretting that women are under-represented at big tech conferences, why not round up some ladies and wail some balls at their colleagues.
I stepped up to be team captain. One thing that really disappointed me was that I had a very hard time finding enough techie women to make up a dodgeball team. Per the rules, we needed at least 6 members and at max 10. To date, our team only has 8 members, even after a blog post, bugging all of my contacts, and all of our partners. Some women decided to play for their companies (ahem @friea), so the pool of available technical women was very small.
One takeaway: techie women just aren't coming to these conferences. Maybe VMworld is hard for women since it happens right after school starts. Maybe women aren't asked by their employers to attend these events. My friend Alistair Croll, who organizes many tech conferences (Enterprise Cloud Summit at Interop, Bitnorth, Startup Festival) pointed out that if companies would submit speaker sessions led by women they would have a greater chance of having the session accepted, in large part because conference organizers are looking to diversify their speaker profiles. Big vendors, you know you have some lady tech superstars, get them presenting at these shows! Do your part to change the ratio.
Why are we doing this?
I'm proud of our Cloudbunny team. I think our collaboration across vendor lines shows what can happen when we as an industry work together. I personally feel this work cutting through the bs and uniting the practitioners of our craft to work as a team is the real "women's work".
But don't think for a minute we aren't coming to play. We are looking forward to skillfully handling our balls, and dominating all other teams.
And in all serious, we are playing this game for a really good cause: the Wounded Warrior Project. My brother is a disabled vet from the Iraq war, so I am totally behind this effort! If you are at VMworld, come watch the game and cheer on the Cloudbunnies! A $5 dollar donation to the Wounded Warrior Fund gets you into the festivities (register here) – games start at 7PM on Sunday. If you aren't coming to VMworld, please consider donating to the cause, and let them know the Cloudbunnies sent you!
UPDATE: We're also proud to announce that one of the referees will be Kevin Plaisance – he'll be bringing the hot vSauce from Louisiana!
Before I introduce you to the team, I'd like to give a nod to Christian Reilly aka @reillyusa. He is the one who coined the term cloudbunnies. We thank you sir for the inspiration!