A non-green view of (tech) Conferences

A non-green view of (tech) Conferences

I attended KubeCon EU 2023 in Amsterdam and I have been having this recurring thought of how it looked like from my not-so-interactive side.

Money, money, money

Even though I am a huge fan of listening to and seeing new stuff, more so if they are about IT and Cloud, I often feel awkward with sales pitches. Mostly because I never consider myself as the person who calls the shots moneywise in a company - I love playing with tools, implementations, fixing problems, give me a pain point and I will make it better eventually.

(big) Conferences are all about sales pitching and badge scanning to send an email afterwards or have your information in a vendor/3rd DB - which is expected and completely ok, I mean, don't get me wrong, it is a business after all. Open source is backed up by big and no so big corporations that spend a lot of money to set up these events and sponsor other big Organizations like the Linux Foundation or CNCF.

So, all in all, anyone that puts a booth at a Conference is paying a fee, hoping to get something out of it. How do they do it? well, it is basically with your information and, in many cases, a sales pitch that eventually leads to a sales meeting and in some cases to a product demo/purchase. They will talk about how their product could help your software lifecycle, make it more secure or completely take over your infrastructure overhead.

And then you get a sticker. Who doesn't love stickers, right?

Hint: they put up a sticker wall for a lot of Open Source projects☝️

Colour system

But what happens with people who are not so into this (or any) interaction? well, in this particular case, the CNCF implemented a colour-based system of pins that you could stick to your badge and would be quick info to anyone about what kind of interaction you are comfortable with:

  • Green is "talk to me".

  • Yellow means "only whomever I know".

  • Red "please, don't".

Pretty good and well thought in my opinion.

My experience

How did I like it? It was great, got to spend some time with my teammates out of the office, met and had a drink with the guys from the CNCF Glossary Spanish translation group (to which I recently started contributing), attended very interesting talks and got my phone Chrome tabs full of new terms and tools to try out.

I also shortlisted 4 new things, some of which I heard for the first time:

And lastly, I (re)confirmed that I have A LOT to learn. There are tons of tools and technologies I do not know about (remember impostor syndrome?), and it's OK, that's where the fun is - you will probably never get bored working in IT.

Happy surprise(s)

One of the speakers at a WASM workshop overheard a comment a colleague of mine said and came by our table to talk about it. This guy was so passionate about the topic that it was fantastic to hear the arguments, and not only the evident reduced overhead but the reasoning based on low level OS and containerisation architecture processing times.

"Forget about <company this person works at>, I want you to implement WASM because it will reduce your deployment and operational times by 10x and...". It was a delight to be there hearing.

My point is: you never know what you will see or who you will meet. And I was not even an active participant in the conversation 😂.

My suggestions for non-green people

If you, like me, are between green and yellow, how can you enjoy the most? (At least this is what I did).

  • Go to a talk where the topic is something you never heard of or maybe did hear about and never worked with.

  • Even though we are all kinda doing the same thing, it is never the same. You can always find someone doing something different and you can learn from that.

  • It is always better if you attend with someone you know, but if that's not the case, it is still worth the experience.

Some takeout links

Thank you for stopping by! Have you attended tech Conferences? Please let me know in the comments, I am always up to reading about different experiences.

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