2023 In Review

2023 In Review

Happy 2024! It’s a new year with new opportunities for growth and for finally doing things I’ve been meaning to do forever – like blog more. Let’s start off strong with my 2023 in review.

Quick Stats

2023 was my biggest year for content creation yet, thanks to the Kubernetes Podcast from Google. I’m extremely proud to have received the very prestigious Chop Wood Carry Water award from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). And I even got promoted this year! This was my first time getting promoted in-place (without moving laterally to another team or company) in my career.

2023 in review – By the Numbers

A pie chart showing my 2023 in review content stats. Interview image by Luke Schlangen and speaking image from the KubeCon NA 2023 Flickr here.

Open Source

2023 was a huge year for me in open source. I became a co-chair of SIG-ContribEx in Open Source Kubernetes, designed all the artwork used at Kubernetes Contributor Summit NA 2023 in Chicago in November, was featured in a Humans of Cloud Native blog post by the CNCF, was selected as a continuing CNCF Ambassador in the newly revamped program, and won the coveted Chop Wood Carry Water award at KubeCon NA.

6 people, 3 men and 3 women, stand on stage at KubeCon CloudNativeCon North America 2023. 5 of them are holding small buckets with a piece of wood sticking out.

The Chop Wood Carry Water Award winners pose with their awards on the main stage during the KubeCon NA 2023 keynotes, alongside Chris Aniszczyk of the CNCF. Image from the KubeCon NA 2023 Flickr here.

Chop Wood, Carry Water

The Chop Wood Carry Water award is a very prestigious one in the open source Cloud Native community. The concept behind the award is essentially that chopping wood and carrying water are very un-glamorous jobs, but they’re critically important. The award exists to recognize folks doing that kind of work in the community.

Supporting the Contributor Community

My job is largely about supporting the community of technologists around Kubernetes. When it comes to Open Source, that largely means the community of contributors who are using their time and skills to make Kubernetes what it is.

I took a big step in that in 2023 by taking on more responsibility as a co-chair of SIG ContribEx. This means I have new responsibilities like scheduling meetings and managing zoom across the SIG (and sometimes beyond), reviewing and approving PRs in SIG-ContribEx-owned areas (which I’m still getting a handle on), leading meetings to make sure all SIG chairs and Tech Leads across Kubernetes are aware of things that impact them (like changes to Github processes). It’s a lot of learning and a lot of “buck stops here”-type work of keeping things running smoothly.

Content

My teammate Abdel and I became the new hosts of the Kubernetes Podcast in October of 2022, and the last year has been a whirlwind of figuring out how to keep up with a regular posting schedule and learning all the ins-and-outs of running a podcast. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, from deciding topics and finding guests, to managing the website, to publishing episodes and promoting them on social media. I spent a lot of time in the last couple weeks of 2023 putting together some stats to understand just how huge of a project the Kubernetes Podcast has been over the last year, and condensed a few of the key ones into this graphic:

A graphic of stats about the Kubernetes Podcast from Google in 2023.

Events

In 2019, events were the bread and butter of my job and I was traveling at least once or twice a month for them. The pandemic was certainly a big shift with regard to in-person events. For me, 2023 felt like the year events really returned after the pandemic. At least for larger events. KubeCons felt normal again, with a sold out KubeCon EU with over 10k attendees and over 8k attendees in-person at KubeCon NA. In total, I attended 6 in-person events in 2023: Cloud Native Security Con, KubeCon EU, Southern California Linux Expo, Google Cloud Next, WasmCon, and KubeCon NA. And I spoke at 4 out of those 6.

My team and I at the Google booth at KubeCon NA 2023. Image from the KubeCon NA 2023 Flickr here.

2023 in review – small events

Smaller events and the local meetup seen in Seattle are still struggling from my perspective. I was an organizer for DevOps Days Seattle for my second year in 2023 and we ended up having to cancel the event due to low attendance. I attended one local meetup in the Redmond area in 2023 and it was packed. Granted- it featured one of the Kubernetes founders, Brendan Burns, as a speaker. And it was on Microsoft campus, so a lot of Brendan’s org seemed to be in attendance.

I started to look into the meetup scene in the Seattle area and I’m getting the sense that it’s still slow, though there has been some recovery since the pandemic. Lately I’ve gotten a few questions about running meetups. The Seattle tech community is definitely still around, but I look forward to the challenge of trying to find them in 2024.

We are running DevOps Days Seattle 2024 on May 14th and 15th, with the CFP open until January 15th, so do get those submissions in and plan to join us if you’re in the area!


This post is partially inspired by my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss, Richard Seroter’s 2023 in review post. He does a great job of reading a lot of tech (cloud) industry stuff and posting about it on his site, in his newsletter, and on social media, so you might consider checking out his work too.

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