KubeCon/CloudNativeCon Guide and EU 2019 Recap

KubeCon/CloudNativeCon Guide and EU 2019 Recap

This post will be a short review of KubeCon/CloudNativeCon through the art I made for each day! I had intended to produce a drawing each day, but ended up being too busy and too tired. But I did come up with ideas for art for each day so I finally delivered a couple days later!

This post will highlight some of my favorite things about the experience of being at KubeCon.

Day 0: Co-Located Events, Lightning Talks, and the Contributor Summit!

Attendees of the Kubernetes Contributor Summit at KubeCon/CloudNativeCon EU 2019 enjoy their lunch break.

The day before KubeCon, attendees have the opportunity to attend related co-located events. These events aren’t included with admission and attendees must intentionally sign up for any they wish to attend. Each co-located event takes up pretty much the whole day so you can usually only do one.

This year I chose to attend the Kubernetes Contributor’s Summit! I am currently not a contributor to Kubernetes but I am always hearing wonderful stories about people finding friends and support in the contributor community, while contributing to an important and very visible open source project.

The Kubernetes community is made up of separate groups called SIGs, or Special Interest Groups. These groups focus on specific parts of the large, complex Kubernetes project. But one thing these groups all have in common is that they want to encourage new contributors to join in and help the project reach new heights! So at the Contributor’s Summit, they offered both 101 and 201 workshops, to help potential new contributors learn the ropes.

To sum up day 0, I decided to draw the Contributor’s Summit lunch break. Because while I would have liked to have said that everyone there was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to learn – but in reality a lot of people had just flown in and were sleepy. Or were they just taking advantage of the Spanish siesta culture? Hm…

Day 0 is also the day I presented my lightning talk of the “Explain Like I’m 5” containers as cookies comic! If you’d like to check it out, you can find it here:

Day 1: The Sponsor Showcase

I decided to represent the first day of KubeCon by drawing the Sponsor Showcase. This is a giant room full of booths where attendees can interact with company representatives and learn about projects or tools those companies are working on that might interest them.

This is a great opportunity for attendees to ask some questions they might not otherwise be able to find good answers for online. These are often questions that relate to what they‘re doing in particular, questions that just details on a page or general questions people have asked on the internet won’t usually cover.

Companies get the opportunity to show off cool new projects or products in this space. They might ask the community for help supporting a new open source project, or try to pique their interest with a new tool that can make using Kubernetes easier in specific ways or for specific use cases.

For-profit companies aren’t the only things you’ll find in the sponsor showcase though. You can also often find non-profit organizations related to technology, like CNCF (who run the conference so really that one’s just a given) or organizations which help support minorities interested in entering the tech field.

Day 2: Breakout Sessions

Attendees at KubeCon/CloudNativeCon watch a presentation by Phippy.

Probably the thing most people would think of when they think about a tech conference is breakout sessions. At KubeCon EU these were 25 minute talks or panels which pertain to some overall theme called a “track.” Examples of tracks would be Use Case – which mainly has talks about people’s real-life experiences using Kubernetes, or Deep Dive – which has talks lead by experts who dive into the details of how tools or parts of Kuberentes work. Talks could have one or two presenters, while panels would consist of a moderated discussion between several (up to 4 or 5, not sure what the limit was) experts.

Whether it’s in North America, Europe, or China, KubeCon is a very popular conference with thousands of attendees. Which also means a lot of people are interested in having talks there. KubeCon/CloudNativeCon EU had 1,535 talks submitted, while only 315 were accepted as sessions. This means that the talks should be expected to be of high quality, and that you should try not to feel too discouraged if your talk wasn’t picked. Although the committee is very selective with the talks they pick, that doesn’t mean new speakers can’t get in! In fact new speakers are strongly encouraged and many community leaders like Kris Nova, Kelsey Hightower, and Liz Rice often offer to review people’s talks before they submit them. This is a great opportunity for any aspiring speakers to get some feedback. It can take a while to learn what the conferences you’re applying to want to see in a submission, and that’s ok. If you want to speak at a conference, remember to gear your talk to be something you think that audience would want to hear, and be ready to adjust and learn as you refine your talks as well as your speaking skill!

Day 3: Bye bye KubeCon EU!

Attendees leave the conference venue on the final day.

I decided to represent the last day by drawing one of the pictures I took of the conference venue as attendees were leaving. It shows groups of people (or bunnies, as the case may be) chatting and walking together. People relaxing by the grass or checking their cellphones.

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