Sometimes Dragons

KubeCon North America 2019: Day 1

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This is part of a series of daily posts on my experiences at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2019. You can read more about the conference and the series in my Day 0 post.

After a series of receptions yesterday evening and a well-attended RedMonk beers event, I woke up this morning looking forward to the first conference keynote and the slate of client and vendor meeting I on today’s schedule. I also woke up hungry, because with all of the receptions and chatting, I forgot to have dinner last night.

Luckily my first meeting was a breakfast meeting with a client. As we all sat down at a lovely proper restaurant (a luxury, as most meetings are scheduled at coffee shops or hotel lobbies where everyone is fighting for space), it eventually came out that nobody at the table had a chance to get dinner last night; it was nice to see that I was not alone.

Keynote Highlights

I was then off to the first keynote of the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon conference itself. The keynote was largely comprised of foundation/project updates as well as vendor-led talks. While you will be able to watch the keynotes yourself once they are posted (sessions from past CNCF events can be found here), I offer the following social media perspectives on the morning keynote session. 

A general feel for the keynote space:

On Bryan Liles emphasizing that not everyone in the room is a developer (which matched a thread running through the keynote that the success of open source projects rely very much on elements such as documentation):

Erin Boyd making a time-of-day appropriate metaphor of Rook and “caffeinating” Kubernetes

I also offer the following slide from Boyd’s talk (because coffee metaphors work for me):

On the excitement around Web Assembly:

On the developer-focused tone of the keynote program (and also a look at attendee demographic data):

And, finally, on the excellent job MC Vicki Cheung did running the show:

This morning’s keynote also encouraged that attendees pay attention to self care and emphasized that the conference has a Wellness Track (including Puppy Pawlooza/Paw Therapy sessions).

On Attendance Numbers

This afternoon’s schedule included a press/analyst program that both Rachel and I attended (with client and vendor meetings both before and after). The program addressed a topic that I have heard from almost everyone I’ve talked to in the past two days: the growing number of conference attendees.

Graph depicting KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Attendance numbers

While the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America numbers jumped 4000–a 50% increase–from last year, it is worth noting that attendance in Europe increased by 3400–almost 80%–from last year while attendance for the China event also saw considerable growth.

The growth in attendance across all three events can be read positively: as a mark of the still growing interest in Kubernetes and other Cloud Native technologies. However, many of the attendees I spoke to also expressed concern that KubeCon + CloudNativeCon will–or already has–become too big to navigate in a meaningful way, especially from a developer/practitioner point of view. While this is a legitimate concern (and my colleague Stephen has written about the advantages of smaller conferences), for now it appears that the benefits of the growing communities (for instance, the CNCF job board also launched today) surrounding the conference outweigh the downsides of larger crowds.

Related posts:


Disclaimer: The CNCF is a RedMonk client and paid for my T&E to KubeCon + CloudNativeCon 

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