The Golden Hammer – Mental Models

I considered a couple titles for this blog post…

  • My Love Letter to the VMUG Community
  • Community Appreciation – Community Session / Keynote
  • Giving Back – Remembering Where You Started

If you don’t want the backstory (see below for that), here’s the video of my VMUG Usercon Community Keynote / Session (delivered 20 times or so as a session and 2 times as a keynote) – embedded below or click here to view on YouTube – The slides are also available here on Slideshare.

So…the backstory. For me this started way back when I was a customer going to VMUG meetings hosted at the Denny’s headquarters in Spartanburg, SC. I found that I enjoyed the presentations the most that weren’t just product pitches but taught me something about the larger industry as well.

Add into that a lot of reading I did when on sabbatical a few years back – one topic was around mental models (scroll down here to the “Books read” section for some links).

Next, when I started working at Rubrik in 2016 part of my job was to present at a LOT of VMUG Usercons – something I really enjoyed frankly.

But…I wanted to do more than just present the sponsored session on Rubrik although even that session was 1st half education about ransomware and 2nd half was about how Rubrik helped with ransomware recovery.

When I heard about “community sessions” it made total sense – I’d be there for Rubrik (VMUG organizers wouldn’t have to pay my travel costs) but could also present something entirely for the community. While (almost) no one wants to hear a philosophy lecture, many of the mental models reminded me of experiences throughout my career and stories I’d heard. What if I described the idea of mental models and then walked through several with IT stories and maybe a bit touch of pathos+motivational speech?

From that this session was born. As the description for it says….

Ever heard that IT is constantly changing? Or that we all need to be constantly learning? Simple in theory, hard in practice even if like me that’s part of what you love about IT. What if you could hack your brain to learn faster? To understand data, situations, and people more quickly? We’ll discuss how mental models can help you comprehend more quickly, explore some common ones, illustrate them with IT stories, and let you know where you can learn more.

I’ve had really good feedback and session reviews over the years and have delivered this so many times – 15+ VMUG Usercon Community Sessions, 2 VMUG Usercon Community Keynotes, at VMworld 2017 live, and other venues. When I was asked to do it again this year for a virtual usercon, posting on my blog felt right. 🙂

Hope you enjoy it and please don’t hesitate to reach out to discuss or give feedback via either LinkedIn or Twitter!

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