Day 1 at re:Invent: Sold Out

acquia
Day 1 of re:Invent is wrapping up, which has been mostly a soft pitch for attendees arriving for the official kick off tomorrow. There was a hackathon, bootcamps, partner meetings, and an evening reception, all generally low key. I must confess to feeling like I walked into a rock concert this morning upon entering the registration room, with a live DJ blaring music that had a little too much affinity for the years 1980-1984 for my tastes. Within minutes of arriving, the registration line grew to 100+ deep as everyone lined up to get their pass and swag (and good swag it was).

Usually when a conference host tells you it is “sold out”, I take that as meaning: look at how well we did in getting attendees to the conference, but of course you can get a last minute pass. But when Amazon says this event is sold out, they really mean it. We tried to get an extra pass for a colleague through front and back channels, but had no luck (Amazon to me: “No soup for you!”).

This afternoon I had an interview with Jeff Barr, Amazon’s cloud evangelist. I had never met Jeff, so we gathered in a small video booth in the exhibit hall shortly before the shoot. There was a surreal moment pre-shooting as we chatted about his recent AWS meetup tour across the U.S. while a coordinator dusted makeup on our faces (note: I don’t look any better with makeup). The actual interview went surprisingly quickly, and and should be up on the site tonight. I’m hoping it comes out well.

I took in only one session today, having most of my day taken up with planned meetings in our suite. We went with a low profile this year, being too new a company to justify buying a booth, and clearly too cheap to buy enough exhibit hall passes for all our attendees. ;) I was glad to see some good local Boston companies here though, including Acquia, Basho, Brightcove, Cloudant, CloudTP, ParElastic, Cloudbees, NuoDB, and Stackdriver. But I will confess to thinking we should have had more of a presence from Boston though (only 10 of 173 booths), especially given our region’s hardcore enterprise / infrastructure heritage. But maybe next year.

The reception tonight was in the exhibit hall. It was jam packed and hard to talk with so much noise in a confined area. Several companies had brought out big crews to man the booths, and it made for an impressive sight. Amazon and RightScale had the biggest booths, but Amazon’s had a lot more activity due to the bartenders lining the booth. Overall it was a great reception, but hard to network.

If you didn’t already know, I’m a big believer we are at the beginning of a 20+ year transition that will be as pervasive and disruptive as the internet from 1993-2013. I believe that like the internet, this disruption will impact every industry, with ITSM only being one I most recently have liked to discuss. I had mentioned this to Jeff Barr while we were making small talk before the interview, and he told how his journey from 2001 to now hit home for him last year when he walked on stage at re:Invent to 6K attendees. That must have been quite a rush for someone seeing the cloud from those early days.

So I’m glad to be here in the middle of what promises to be a loud, imperfect but highly productive conference, that we will some day reflect on as a key mile marker in our journey that results in a seismic disruption in the industry. It's been a long day though, so going to sign off early. More tomorrow.


Picture taken before the opening of the exhibit hall, as everyone was setting up.