Since its first occurrence in 2012, AWS re:Invent has been one of the cant-miss, marquee events on the tech world calendar. Every year after US Thanksgiving weekend (not counting the pandemic-canceled years), tens of thousands of cloud professionals descend upon Las Vegas for four days of education, networking, new business opportunities, and maybe a slight amount of partying.
With the 10th re:Invent (remember, there wasn’t one in 2020 or ’21) coming up in just a few weeks from November 27-30 – and fresh off of DoiT’s new five-year partnership with AWS – we’ve put together a guide of do’s and don'ts to help you navigate the week’s events so that you can get the most out of your time there.
DO plan plenty of time for transportation
Getting around Vegas is a bit hard to describe for someone who hasn’t been there before, but those who have can tell you that the Strip is almost an optical illusion. You step outside of your hotel and see your destination, and think, ‘Oh that’s just a short walk away.’
Then as you set out and start navigating sidewalks, street overpasses, hordes of tourists, panhandlers, and street performers, you suddenly realize that 15 minutes have gone by and your destination still looks the same distance away. Then you finally get to the hotel and realize that it’s the size of a small town, and your destination within will take another 10 minutes to get to.
Point being, plan for at least 30-45 minutes to get from one hotel to the other.
DON’T overbook your session schedule
You obviously want to take advantage of all of the sessions that are offered. re:Invent poses one of the best in-person learning opportunities of the entire year, and a cloud professional can get a bit spoiled for choice when looking at the session catalog. So if there are any sessions that you really don’t want to miss, make sure you book them early to guarantee your spot and then fill it out from there. Yet there are a number of reasons why we caution you to not schedule too many sessions.
For starters, you want to plan for plenty of time to walk the expo show floor. Yes, there are dedicated hours for this, but some of the best conversations happen when booth staff aren’t inundated with thousands of other people walking through and can really focus on an individual level.
You also need to have some flexibility for ad-hoc meetings and conversations. Remember that in addition to the education opportunities, re:Invent is one of the best environments for building relationships across the industry. You’ll want to have at least a few windows in your schedule each day so that you can get coffee or have a sit-down chat with an interesting new connection.
DO bring comfortable shoes
Even if you Uber everywhere, you’re still going to be walking a lot throughout the hotels and convention centers. Save those new Italian leather loafers for your night out.
DON’T rely on the convention shuttle
AWS operates shuttle buses between hotels, but they can take a long time while they wait to load up, and then are often getting stuck in traffic. If you don’t want to walk, rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are much faster, and you can be picked up wherever it’s most convenient rather than getting to the designated shuttle stop.
DO reach out to your vendors
Chances are that you have at least a few third-party vendors who will be sponsoring and exhibiting at the conference. Take it from a third-party vendor – we really want to host customers at events, so don’t feel shy about emailing your points of contact and asking if they are hosting any special events where you could meet in person. Who knows, they might have a really cool invite-only event that you’ll remember for years!
DON’T just hope to bump into people
Let people know that you’re attending re:Invent. Put up a LinkedIn post telling your network that you’ll be there and ask who else might be going to see if they want to meet up. Go to specific networking events with the goal of meeting at least one or two new people. Beyond that, put yourself in places where conversations can flow naturally, e.g. shared taxis, blackjack tables, happy hours, etc.
DON’T miss AWS GameDay
GameDays are collaborative learning events in which teams of system administrators, solutions architects, technical account managers, developers and other technical roles of all skill levels work together to solve specific AWS technical problems. Not only are they great learning environments to build both soft and hard skills, but they’re also ideal for making connections with like-minded professionals. It’s hard to imagine an environment with more people that do similar work as you, so make sure to take advantage of it.
This year, DoiT will be there at booth #263
Book time with one of our team members here. Our senior cloud experts will help you accelerate your business, drive innovation, and increase your knowledge of basic AWS services.
Come explore the new technologies with presentations, use cases, and demos — as well as a chance to win fun prizes!
If you’re a DoiT customer, reach out to your account manager to let them know you’re going, and be sure to stop by the booth!