9. December 2017 11:56
by Aaron Medacco

AWS re:Invent 2017 - Day 5 Experience

9. December 2017 11:56 by Aaron Medacco | 0 Comments

The following is my Day 5 re:Invent 2017 experience. Missed Day 4? Check it out here.

AWS re:Invent winds down pretty quickly after Thursday night. There's a few last minute sessions, and things like the Certification Lounge are open for a little bit in the morning, but for the most part, things are over. After being out pretty late, I missed the sessions I had in the morning. I was wait-listed for these but I'm sure I would have gotten in since people who had them reserved would probably be hung over or have slept in. Oh well. More YouTube viewing. 

I chose to spend the day getting blog posts together and viewing the Keynotes I missed as well as some of the uploaded sessions. Therefore, this post will be sparse of happenings and somewhat of a post-conference overview. Since I was asked to stop recording more than once when walking around the hotels, I didn't get as much footage as I would have hoped. Here's a mashup / montage of what I did gather. Please excuse the bumpiness. I walk with purpose.

Note: Thank you Amazon Elastic Transcoder. Files were huge AVIs from the camera.


I actually decided to leave Friday night around 9:30pm, even though I had the room for the night. Just wanted to get home. For some reason, seemed like a faster ride home. More energy I guess.

Here's some random post-conference stats:

  • Times asked to stop video recording by staff: 2
  • Money lost from gambling: $1295
  • Steps taken walking around Las Vegas: Integer Overflow Exception
  • Days woken up by cleaning lady: 2
  • Shuttles taken: 2
  • Breakout sessions attended: 7
  • Days wishing I had lodged with the Venetian: 5
  • Casinos gambled at: 3
  • Number of times re-starting the re:Invent app to go check something: 40+
  • Number of times re-opening the re:Invent app and immediately closing it when asked to login again: 25+

And some lessons learned for next year:

  • Lodge with the Venetian. Most of the events and sessions are there. This means you won't be encouraged to skip sessions because of the walk or laziness. Plus, you'll be around more re:Invent attendees than otherwise.
  • Take the shuttles. They are usually located near the breakout sessions. Ask one of the re:Invent guides to lead you where to go. Your feet will thank you later.
  • Sanely schedule your week when the event catalog becomes available. Do not assume you will just go back-to-back sessions all week, especially if those sessions are in different hotels. Plan to have ample shuttle time, walk time, bathroom time, eating time, networking, etc.
  • If you are already learned or even certified in AWS, stick to the 400-level and 300-level courses. Most of the sessions will have a lot of information you already needed to learn for your certifications, so get the most out of your time by taking the tougher classes. 200-level courses can be good when a new service is announced and it covers it.
  • Talk to people. We're all nerds who are at re:Invent because we work with or enjoy Amazon Web Services. I found most people were friendly and legit. You could talk about AWS and they would understand you.
  • Show up early to registration. It's going to be a crowded, but the hoodie sizes go fast, and if you want to avoid trying to go back and get a different size later, just get there early. This goes for the Expo, too. Show up early and get your swag early in the week if that's important to you.
  • Keep coming back to check on the Event Catalog even after initial release. Multiple sessions as well as the Keynotes show up way later than the release of the reservation, so keep coming back if you want a spot. 
  • Spend money. It's Vegas. And remember that you get what you pay for.
  • Treat yourself to the Ask The Experts section of the Expo. This was huge value. You get to talk to AWS themselves one-on-one and there wasn't really any lines. Each booth I went up to had like 2 people in front of me max if there was a wait at all.
  • If you're going to do video-recording inside the buildings, use your phone. Seriously, the venues could never enforce this and you can just act like you're taking a photo, which they allow. Still annoyed by this, if it's not apparent.
  • Try to hit everything. And for things that overlap, I would opt to miss breakout sessions you scheduled. They get uploaded to YouTube very quickly. You won't miss that content, it's not going anywhere. Do the other thing.

Okay, well that's all I have. Hopefully, some found this helpful. If you're on the fence about going, just go. I paid for my ticket personally and it's worth it. And I'll be going every year from now on. 


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