How to do AWS re:Invent Like a Ninja


This year, the massive AWS conference will take place in Las Vegas from December 2-6, 2019. With over 50,000 attendees expected, it will take preparation and discipline to get the most out of your investment of time and money. To this end, I have prepared a list of properties you should hope to emulate, in order to re:Invent like a ninja.

Property 1: Preparation

Ninjas prepare for any foreseeable obstacles. As for registration, a prepared ninja might take care of that upon arrival at the airport, rather than find oneself caught in the rush right before the Welcome Reception on Monday night or before breakfast, Tuesday. You should also plan your schedule in advance by using the re:Invent Connect portal. Be warned that many sessions fill up, but the most popular sessions will be repeated. Check back regularly to see if additional sessions for your waitlisted topics have been added. There will also be overflow rooms for the busiest sessions. For a nice rundown of the reserved seating process, check out this Reserved Seating video.

Property 2: Mindfulness

Ninjas take care of themselves. You should too. Get lots of sleep in advance and remember to hydrate throughout the week - Vegas is in the desert, after all. You will also want to avoid the rookie mistake of trying to sprint between venues to make it to every one of the 2500+ sessions. Look for workshops, jams, hackathons, and night sessions, as opposed to regular sessions that you can likely watch a week later on the AWS YouTube channel. Remember to leave yourself plenty of time to get between your hotel and your first venue, and to move between venues throughout the day. It looks like this year you won’t even be able to reserve sessions in different venues with less than an hour travel time. If you want to know a bit about getting around campus, check out this Getting Around Campus video. I have found that getting up early after a late night in Vegas, just to wait in a long line to get into the room for a keynote, adds to my stress level. For the past two years, I have just watched the live stream of the keynotes from the hotel, in my black silk pajamas. Like a ninja.

Property 3: Mastery of tools

You should download the AWS Events app for your smartphone. It will hold the important travel schedules for shuttles, and you can have it notify you of surprise events. Another tool to master is Twitter. There will be hashtags that you can use to follow various aspects of re:Invent. In particular, if you fear missing out on parties, follow @reInventParties to keep up with parties thrown by AWS and various other vendors.

Property 4: Lifelong learning

Ninjas develop their skills by adopting useful tactics from everyone they meet. At re:Invent, you will meet people from many other organizations at various points of their cloud transformation. You will see some presenting their architectures in official sessions, but you will also meet people just sitting beside you at lunch. Take ideas from all of them. Carve out some time in your schedule to actually walk the Expo floor - most people do a mad dash through the expo hall during the Welcome Reception. Unfortunately, you can’t really get much of a sense of what products exist in the marketplace when so many people are just in a hurry to get swag. If you are walking the Expo floor, be sure to drop by the ExitCertified booth (#3036) in the Training & Certification village. 

If you want to spend a bit more time assessing your cloud transformation and training or certification needs, schedule a free consultation with me in our meeting room adjacent to the Expo floor.

Have fun, and I hope to see you this year in Vegas!