re:Invent - A serious business trip. In Las Vegas.

Ever tried to explain to someone that you’re going to Las Vegas for a serious business trip? Good lord it’s difficult. Something about the Nevada desert seems to make everyone assume you’re on ‘a jolly’. What’s the truth?

Vegas baby!

First up, it’s not warm in December in Las Vegas – so forget any ideas of sunbathing and outdoor parties. Pack something reasonably warm if you’re going outside. Sorry.

Vegas is one of the strangest places on the planet. The spend on electricity alone must be immense.

The ringing sound of slots never ends on the casino floors (which you will walk through a lot to get to wherever you want to go). There’s not many places on this little blue planet one can visit where you get up and people are gambling. And you go to bed and people are gambling. It doesn’t matter what hours you keep, it’s still the same. And Journey will almost certainly be playing in the lift.

Location, location, location

Amazon must have done some form of multi-year deal with the Venetian Palazzo hotel as it hasn’t moved venue for a few years, and shows little sign of doing so. I think I could navigate my way around that hotel with my eyes shut.

Having said that, it’s a marvel of engineering if nothing else. Where else but in Las Vegas, would one build a canal on the second floor of a hotel. With gondoliers. Paddling down a canal lined with designer shops.

Truth be told, there’s some really interesting things to see in Vegas as a tourist, and it is worth a look around if you have time to do so. Perhaps take a trip up the Eiffel Tower.

I mentioned "going outside" earlier. Those of you staying at the conference hotel, à la Team Cloudreach, will find it ridiculously easy to avoid any daylight (excluding the false Venetian sky painted on…). Do try and get out somewhere else for dinner, or a coffee break during the day if you can.

How it’s changed?

re:Invent has changed somewhat over the years since our first attendance in 2012. From 6,500 attendees, the numbers have skyrocketed to 20,000+ this year. Whilst it’s easy to get lost in the crowds, it shows how the market has evolved and accelerated. Beyond the numbers, the feel has changed as AWS has adjusted to its changing customer base. Much more focus on the ‘Enterprise’, increased opportunities to learn & get certified and deeper dives into new ‘cloudy specialisms’ such as IoT. Even the entertainment has changed – "The Rock of Ages" is leaving / left The Venetian – I wonder what delights await us this year!

 

Any tips?

PLAN

 There are a *lot* of sessions you could attend if you have a full conference pass. Think about it in advance which ones you want to attend, and pick an appropriate level of complexity so you’re not disappointed. In years gone by, you had to queue outside the rooms, this year you can register in advance for the most interesting ones. Expect anything linked to new services released recently (or during the conference) to be massively oversubscribed.

PLAN AGAIN

 There will be a lot of people you’ll want to meet. You can deepen relationships with AWS, with your peers, with partners of choice (cough). Book in meetings in advance so they’re in the diary, as the time will fly by otherwise. There are tons of coffee shops around if you don’t have access to a meeting room as part of your package.

KEYNOTE

 The keynotes are typically interesting, and full of new releases, trends and announcements. As we’re privy to a fair bit of NDA info, I won’t speculate on what might arrive as I forget sometimes what I’m speculating on and what I know about! But expect interesting news, and some big name enterprises speaking. There will be thousands upon thousands of people trying to attend, so do get there early and join the incredibly well marshalled queue if you want to be able to see more than a dot of Werner’s head in the distance.

Note: If you plan to meet any ISV partners, brace for a few of them sobbing after the keynotes, as AWS often release new features which stomp all over their business model. If anyone needed reminding, the rate of innovation in this ecosystem is intense.

THINGS TO TAKE

 As above, something warm if you’re intending to be outside much. Some comfy shoes as you will be walking a lot – just one side of the main conference hotel to the other is a long way (it’s one of the largest hotels in the world). Lip balm – that Vegas A/C and a lot of talking will ruin your lips. If you’re into fitness, do expect a few organised runs for the non-hungover folks, so bring your running gear.

WHERE TO GO

 Everyone has their favourite places in Vegas. I’m a fan of the Chandelier bar in the Cosmopolitan hotel. The Country Club restaurant (themed as you would expect with wingback chairs and a roaring fire) at the Wynn has a comically impressive backdrop – a golf course with waterfalls. Perhaps a visit to see some live music in the bars at NewYork NewYork? Or even just settling into the Grand Lux cafe for a healthy plate of waffles & fried chicken (served with icing sugar, maple syrup, and nuts…).

See you there

Cloudreach will have a big contingent of people in Vegas this year, covering all of our countries and skillsets. Do come and talk to us about cloud adoption, whether you’re struggling with cloud cost allocation or interested in discussing your next programme of change.

And remember, no matter how big this conference gets, there’s always a bigger one. Last year we met a lot of people from ‘World of Concrete’. I jest not – 60,000 people in attendance. 60,000. Cloud has a way to go yet.

See you next month. Don’t stop believin'.