3 Tips for a Winning Time at re:Invent Las Vegas

AWS reInvent Las Vegas
A post on how to get ready for Amazon Web Service's largest annual conference: re:Invent in Las Vegas. 3 tips on how to prepare while squeezing in some time for non-techy events as well.
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It’s that time of the year again! Amazonians and mere mortals will gather in Sin City for a week of Amazon Web Services festivities at six of the city’s most iconic locations. This year, the Aria, MGM Grand, Mirage, Encore, and LINQ resorts join the Venetian/Palazzo hotel in hosting the gathering. If you’ve had a chance to look at the agenda, it might seem a bit confusing and overwhelming at first, but have no fear! We’re here to help. Be sure to download the mobile app in advance, available now in both the Apple and Android app store. Here are three main tips that can assist you in planning your attack on the strip.

Know what’s ahead

There are various session formats. It might be helpful to familiarize yourself with the kinds of sessions being held for the topic of your interest, as different participants may prefer a particular type of format. Below is a brief description of what to expect at the different sessions.

  • Lectures: This is the traditional session format. A speaker spends most of the time delving deep into a topic and allows for a short, formal Q&A session at the end. Lectures last approximately one hour.
  • Workshops: These sessions allow for a more hands-on experience. Workshops begin with a short talk, and then participants split into groups to problem solve. These sessions tend to last for approximately 2.5 hours. Proctors are always on hand to answer questions.The number of workshops has really grown this year – 135 workshops to choose from up from around 30 last year.
  • Chalk Talks: These are brand new this year and are more interactive and conversational style. They start with a short talk and then allow for a longer, informal Q&A. They tend to last around one hour. You can really hone in on your specific interests in a small group setting. A solutions architect will be on hand to help you work through problems.
  • Skill Sessions: These sessions are also brand new this year that will take place at the Aria. You will have the opportunity to sit down with an AWS expert along with two other customers and acquire hands on learning for any tools in the following tracks: Alexa, Big Data, Containers, IoT, Machine Learning and Serverless. To reserve a seat, just walk in and sign up at the Aria.

Bootcamps (sign up by logging in through your account – but do it soon! These fill up very quickly!) and AWS Certifications Exams kickoff at the Mirage and will be ongoing throughout the conference. Bootcamps and Certification exams require an additional fee. AWS Certified participants have entry to Certified Lounges as well as the Appreciation Reception which is a great way to network and kick back with fellow recognized participants. We suggest trying to hit the following: Industry Day Sessions (Monday only!): If you’d like to get a deep dive on a particular AWS service for a specific industry, be sure to stop by the Venetian. There are 12 industries that will be focused on including media, telecommunications, financial services and more. Technical Bootcamp: Building an AWS Cloud Adoption Business case. This will cover migration costs, benefits of migration, cost optimization for a hypothetical customer and much more to help you with your own business case. Technical Bootcamp: AWS Well Architected Framework. This bootcamp is for advanced participants and will take you through architectural examples as well as the five pillars of a well-architected framework. Global Partner Summit: this is open to everyone this year and will have various tracks ranging from introductory to advanced technical sessions, business sessions for marketing and sales managers and more interactive Chalk talks that focus on various AWS technologies. The Global Partner Summit Welcome Reception will take place on Monday evening 6-8pm. If you’re a night owl, don’t forget to check out the late night sessions and hackathons. And we can’t forget to mention the Expo which will have expanded hours this year. You will have three full days to chat with AWS partners and experts. Other than that, you have keynotes and of course the fun, networking events. Also, don’t forget to check out the Expo at the Venetian for some cool displays and projects.

Strategy is everything

How to fit all of these events into a 24-hour day?The right place to start is by figuring out what you want to get out of the conference. This can dictate everything, for example, where you stay, and even when you get to sleep.The best way to get the most from re:Invent is to know what events you want check out and where you can find them. The first step of planning is realizing that you won’t be able to participate in all the events that might be of interest. That’s OK, because you’ll definitely be able to learn about the topics that are the most important to you. Luckily, the re:Invent session and event agenda is organized according to different tracks— each track is centered at one of the resorts.This is convenient for attendees that have a particular focus or want to learn about specific topics at the conference.If you manage to find a room at the venue hosting your preferred topic, you might not even have to leave your hotel (Except to go to the re:Play party, of course). Note that the tracks are primarily organized according to sessions and certain events, like keynotes, might not be grouped with them. From the re:Invent presentation If you do have to move between venues, remember that, while on most days navigating the Amazon Strip is more arduous than navigating the Amazon Jungle, the re:Invent team has you covered. Several shuttle lines ensure attendees can get from point A to B as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Even with the shuttle, it’ll take around 30 minutes to get from venue to venue, so make sure to take that into consideration in your planning. If you don’t make it to your session, don’t sweat it! Key sessions are scheduled multiple times during the conference. Some of sessions are even streamed across the different venues, saving you the trip on the Strip. There’s no need to fret all that much if you miss a lecture as all talks will be posted on the AWS YouTube channel after the conference.

Work hard, Play hard

Let’s not forget the fun activities that re:Invent has to offer between sessions: anything from a 4K run to a pub crawl, and of course, the annual broomball tournament. Here are our recommendations: Re:Invent 4K for charity on Tuesday morning at the Mirage. Be sure to register ASAP. A great way to get some exercise in for a good cause before sessions begin. Spinning challenge at the Mirage for soul cycle enthusiasts. Another great way to break a sweat mid-conference. We Power Tech Inclusion Happy Hour – check out the diversity page for more information on this.

See You at re:Invent at Booth 611!

Between workshops and sessions, feel free to stop by Booth 611 to say hello and chat with our team members.We want to see you! We’ll be on hand to answer any questions about N2WS, the leading enterprise-class backup & DR solution for AWS. See how to easily and efficiently protect and improve your cloud resilience and find out why we are the top-ranking backup and recovery product on the AWS Marketplace. You are also invited to take part in our drone giveaway! We’ll be handing out HD camera quadcopters to whomever holds the magic key, so be sure to get in on the action and try your luck! There you have it. If you follow these tips while planning and attending re:Invent, you’ll be able to get the most out of the experience and maybe even have fun along the way.

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