General re:Invent Resources
There are many resources available to help you get ready for the conference. One resource that debuted last year is the “How to re:Invent” video series. The re:Invent team covers a wide variety of conference details and interviews key conference “celebrities” about new “Amazonian” experiences that have been added to the event. I highly recommend watching the videos to anyone attending re:Invent. If you haven’t already watched them, stop here and go watch them. Come back once you’re up to speed on all of the conference basics.
Building Out Your Agenda
Now is a good time to go through the session catalog and highlight the sessions and events that you’ll want to attend. Session sign-ups start on October 15— don’t forget to register before sessions fill up! AWS makes sure there is always something for you to do while at re:Invent, so filling your schedule should be easy. When browsing the session catalog, you can filter for sessions that focus on storage by selecting Storage in the Topics section. Many sessions—especially the most popular—are offered at multiple times (and in multiple locations). If one session doesn’t fit with your agenda, there’s a good chance a repeat session will be available. Pro tip: I usually favorite more sessions than I can attend. As soon as seat reservations open, I start signing up for sessions to build out a full agenda. I’d rather give up my seat later than be without a seat going into the conference.
If you’re new to re:Invent, the session catalog can be intimidating. There are 150 storage-related sessions in the catalog, and more sessions may be added after new products are announced during the conference keynotes. If you’re just learning about AWS storage services, start with the Intermediate level (session level 200) sessions. I seek out the chalk talks whenever possible, because they offer both a service overview and an opportunity for audience discussion. These are a great way to learn about a service while also being able to ask questions and network with others sharing a similar interest. The advanced (session level 300) and expert (session level 400) sessions are more service-specific than the intermediate sessions. Advanced sessions require that you have a basic understanding of what the subject service is or does. These are great to dive deep on a specific service you use or are considering. Along with chalk talks, I also seek out builders sessions for the networking and Q&A opportunities they provide. The following are the sessions I’m most excited to attend.
In addition to the sessions, there are a handful of fun events I look forward to attending at the conference.
Check out the Midnight Madness party at the Venetian. Here, you’ll find the Tatonka wing-eating challenge, the air-band competition, the scavenger hunt, and plenty of good music. This party has become a tradition at re:Invent and is a fun way to kick off the conference.
The welcome reception on the expo floor is more than a mad dash for swag. I use this time to circle the show floor and figure out which vendors and products I want to explore further. And because I’m a storage enthusiast, you’ll find me talking to experts at the storage booth and watching their demos.
Are you using NetApp storage? If so, they have a reception at the TAO nightclub that’s worth checking out.
If you have passed an AWS Certification exam, make sure to check out the AWS Certification Appreciation Reception at Brooklyn Bowl. Music, food, and an open bar make this a great opportunity to network with other AWS Certified peers. Come meet me there—I’m usually out on the second-floor balcony.
Don’t miss the re:Play party. Amazon knows how to throw a party, and the scale of this party is mind-blowing. Don’t expect to find out who is headlining the event until the Thursday morning keynote. This is one of the best kept secrets in Las Vegas.
Pro tip: The Certification Lounge is a good place to take a break between sessions. It’s stocked with snacks, drinks, games, and places to sit and relax. Make sure to pick up your exclusive AWS Certified swag on your first visit! Also, the expo floor has a Developer Lounge open to everyone. I’ve heard that a large number of the AWS Heroes hang out there. The full list of special events is available at https://reinvent.awsevents.com/play/
Staying Connected at re:Invent
Once you’ve got your schedule planned, you’ll want to install the AWS re:Invent app and set up a Twitter account to stay on top of conference updates. The app, available in both the App Store and Google Play Store, gives you access to your conference calendar and updated event announcements.
Once you have Twitter set up, I recommend following @AWSonAir, @awscloud, @AWSreInvent, @jeffbarr, @AWS_edu, @AWSCLOUDCERT, and @AWSUserGroups. And though it’s not an official AWS twitter account, check out @reinventParties. You can also follow me (@davebuildscloud), as I’ll be tweeting storage news and announcements throughout the event.
Something else you should do in preparation for re:Invent is block off time on October 15 to reserve your session seats. This will help you avoid potential waitlist lines for the more popular sessions.
Good luck picking your sessions, and have safe travels to the conference. If any of the events on your schedule cross paths with the events I’m attending, let me know—it’s always nice to meet new people at these events.
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