This is my first time attending the AWS re:Invent conference, which is a five-day conference held in Las Vegas focused on all things Amazon Web Services. There are over 1000 breakout sessions, as well as a ton of hackathons, bootcamps, workshops, and more hands-on experiences with AWS experts.
After my first day at the conference, I have to say, while the speakers are smart and the content is great, what I’m really blown away by is the Herculean level of logistics that must be necessary to pull this off. There are hundreds of sessions across 5 locations dispersed throughout the Vegas strip.
Even though I encountered some issues in the first day – the shuttle buses were very slow, I had to choose between sessions and eating, and there were massive lines for any standby attendance to sessions (made worse by the issues occurring previously during registration) – I was still amazed by the police support, the multitude of workers outside directing walkers between the hotels, and the thousands of people inside the hotels and casinos, ensuring that the intentional “maze” of Las Vegas hotels can be navigated with ease.
Going into day one, I had reservations for 5 different breakout sessions, which are essentially information presentations focused on one topic. I was able to attend all 5 sessions on my first day, although due to travel (and the aforementioned shuttle) delays, I missed my first reservation. Luckily I was able to watch the session on a television screen in a lounge area (with a few dozen of my new closest friends), while listening to the audio via a dedicated app. Granted, the audio was exceptionally spotty, but I’ll take that over nothing at all.
I was able to successfully make my other sessions, and I must say, while the breakout sessions are good, the workshop I attended – Architecture Rodeo – was outstanding. Having the opportunity to sit down with 5 other cloud-minded people and apply knowledge from our different backgrounds to a real-world scenario was exceptional. We had incredible discussions around using SQS vs. Kinesis vs. SNS and how that would be applied in a limited connectivity environment, while a fleet of AWS solution architects would sit in, pull the conversation around a bit, and then leave us to chew on the problem some more.
Day one is in the books, and while there were some bumps, this is hands-down one of the most useful conferences I’ve attended. The one small change I would offer would be to reduce the number of tickets sold – the standby lines were so long that a lot of people weren’t going to be able to attend the sessions they wanted to. But despite that, I’m looking forward to day 2!
Are you here at AWS re:Invent and want to meet up? Connect with me on Twitter at @MrDanGreene to follow along with my live-tweet of my experience and to set up a time to meet. Or just keep an eye out for me in the sea of thousands upon thousands of fellow re:Invent-goers.