I attended the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC last week. This was actually the first conference I have been to since the 2017 Summit. The event has grown quite a bit. Mentioned at the keynote that there was 18,000 people registered. Would be interesting to see how many people actually attended. The event has grown a lot with only about 7,500 attendees on the first day of the event in 2017.
The silent disco for presentations has to be one of the worst ideas ever for a tech conference. Though, I think it’s a neat idea for a dancing party. The ballroom for the silent disco could be partitioned into three rooms and there were plenty of other event space to be used. I am not sure why Amazon chose to do a silent disco. The audience might as well have been at home since no one could even ask questions during the presentations. Some speakers were naturally loud so I could hear them when I was sitting at the adjacent stage’s audience. Then the sound was often crackling and the staff running the silent disco could not fix it. I still thought the content of the presentations were great.
There was a lot of great companies on the vendor floor. AWS had a DeepRacer track and a huge prize for the person with the best time; an all paid expense trip to re:Invent. The AWS certification lounge was a nice touch. They made it easy to verify a certification and get back in. The lounge had some extra snacks, swag, an open bar, and entertainment. I was very lucky and won an Amazon Echo Show from Dynatrace.
I enjoyed the event overall. Though, I hope the silent disco style of presentations does not catch on to other conferences. Next year may be even bigger considering what Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, said during his fireside chat on the second day. He said he thinks the public sector adaption of the cloud is still in the early days.