Hey, casual internet viewers, DK here.
If you happen to read my blog or know me personally, you are aware that I’m one of the people behind the Veeam Vanguard Program. Among many other things, I’m developing the system of candidate evaluation and do the results reports.
Just now (January, 10th, 5 pm) I’ve finished the review of the new nominees for Veeam Vanguard 2017, and that is the reason for this post. I suspect it will be valid every year during the nomination process.
In this post I want to explain what the program is. In the second part, I’ll explain what this program isn’t.
Veeam All-Star crew
Every year starting in 2015 the Technical Product Marketing team here at Veeam opens the nominations for Veeam Vanguard Program (VV) for the next year. These people below are directly involved in running the program. Plus there are a few other Veeam employees who’s opinion is very important for us. Overall each application is reviewed by ~10 people.
Pictures are clickable.
Who the Veeam Vanguards are
Think of a Veeam Vanguard status as of an award. It’s not a certification or a credit. By naming you a Veeam Vanguard, we show our appreciation to you for you past year deeds. These include Veeam-related blogposts, videos, tech talks or any other forms of sharing your experience with the community. “Community” is a key word here. Are you contributing a lot to Veeam community? Let us know during the nomination process, and we’ll be happy to award you.
What’s the process
Every year we plan a date when we reveal the list of people who will be called VVs for the next 12 months. Based on this date we open the nominations 3-4 months prior this date. The huge gap is dedicated to signing the agreements, ordering swag, and administrating all the collateral background activities.
For the people who has been already selected as a Vanguard, we open a renewal page, for everybody else – welcome to the general nominations. If you want to be selected/renewed, give us the data! Show us what you have been doing within Veeam community.
The next step is the review. As mentioned, each candidate is evaluated by ~10 Veeam people who are actively working with the community. Then all scores are processed and discussed within the core team above.
Every candidate gets an email from Rick Vanover with all the information they need and signs the agreement, which basically says: “be nice to others and enjoy the swag”. Those who didn’t pass get an email also, but that might be a bit later.
What a VV gets
Our goal is to keep the group “manageable”, meaning ~50-55 people. We are not aiming to be as broad as some other community programs you might know. This way we can dedicate much more resources (time and money) to engage with Vanguards.
The main tangible perk is an annual VV meet-up. Usually, it’s tied to VeeamON or other Veeam Event. We provide all members with the travel, hotel accommodation and a full day of exclusive content. This group of people gets access to the company’s roadmap, internal betas, free keys, skips the line during support calls, gets the direct link with product management via closed part of the forum and more.
However, from the words of current program members the biggest perk is what I see as a hive mind. It’s the Vanguards + Veeam crew that together work on making the company’s product better. To be honest, my VV slack channel is always on mute, ’cause it would ring all the time. But I still try my best to keep an eye on the conversations🙃
Here is a note from Jim Jones with his impressions of the program: https://www.koolaid.info/magical-time-year-influencer-program-selection-season/
We also give the Vanguards the opportunity to expand their community influence. Those who want, can host technical webinars, create whitepapers, submit CFPs for VeeamON, we are always open to this.
Why we are doing this
Our team is very community-oriented. On the one had we really want to know the faces of those who’s contributing to Veeam community without working at Veeam. These people help us a lot by spreading the word, giving us their opinion on the product, creating content and so on.
On the other hand, we are still a commercial company, so by doing this we try to increase our influence on- and offline. I see it as a win-win situation, where the Vanguards get all the benefits of the program and the company gets the support of external people. However, it’s very important to note here, that we never tell Vanguards what they can or cannot do. We just want their honest opinion, that’s all, that’s the main pillar of the program.
What is our budget?
But to give a credit to Veeam’s top management we have never felt scarce on the money side. It shows that the guys distributing the money within the company understand the value of such community relations.
What this program is NOT.
This will be discussed in the next post.