AWS re:Invent will be bigger, and expectantly better, than previous years. We can’t wait! Last year over 30,000 tech savvy specialists and industry leaders hailed to Las Vegas. This year we anticipate the number of attendees to grow, which we think is a safe assumption given the expanded campus. With so much going on, how can you ensure you don’t miss out? These are our top tips and tricks for how to prepare for AWS re:Invent.
AWS re:Invent is arguably one of the largest tech conferences and can be a logistical nightmare. The best way to mitigate this is research and preparation. If you are not sure if you should attend AWS re:Invent start by checking the agenda and identify relevant sessions and activities for your business or personal objectives. With keynotes, trainings and play time there are opportunities to learn, gain accreditations and build relationships with potential partners. We would be surprised to find anyone in the industry on the fence about the potential benefits. Once you understand what AWS re:Invent has to offer – REGISTER! Amazon provides a useful Justification Letter template to help you make your case.
2. Book early
Great – now you’re registered and it’s time to get booking. Sessions, accommodation, flights and restaurants fill up fast so it is important to book as early as possible. As part of the registration process you can sign up for bootcamp trainings. This can also be done after registration but remember to sign up as soon as possible as spaces are limited. You should also consider booking in for certifications at re:Invent while all your new found AWS knowledge is still fresh.
To make it easy for you, accommodation can also be booked as part of the registration process. If you don’t book accommodation at the registration phase, there are other nearby options but vacancy will be limited.
So how are you getting there? If you are flying you can benefit from flight discount codes provided by Delta and Alaska Airlines. Check AWS re:Invent Travel for more information.
At previous conferences, breakfast and lunch has been provided on conference days for free. What’s for dinner? Check your company’s expense policy and try to make restaurant reservations accordingly in advance.
3. Plan your schedule
Use the Agenda and Event Catalogue to plan your week. The Vegas Strip is LONG. To walk from Encore to MCG Grand is over 2 miles and would take over 40 minutes to walk. A shuttle service will be provided, but you will still need to account for transit time between conference rooms at the same venue and to other venues. The Campus map can help you navigate.
4. Pack sensibly
Las Vegas temperature is moderate in November but be prepared for over air conditioned event halls and stuffy hot overcrowded sessions. As the saying goes, dress in layers. Consider your schedule for the day and your expected whereabouts – i.e. if you plan on doing a lot of walking pack your trainers/sneakers! Other things to consider bringing with you throughout the day:
- Empty backpack – to fill with free swag and an emergency kit
- An emergency kit – you could include a hard copy of colleague phone numbers, any medications you normally take, bandages for the inevitable blisters, headache medicine, refillable bottle of water, snacks, mints/gum, etc.
- Chapstick/Lip Balm – we gave these out in the past and they were a huge hit. Stop by our booth this year to see what we have this year!
- Portable USB charger – this can be a huge lifesaver when your phone dies in the middle of trying to find your colleagues.
- Business cards – it seems like lately more people ask for my LinkedIn details, business cards are still worth having.
5. Connect online and offline
It is so easy to Tweet, post, share and connect online. AWS is on all the social media giants so look for additional information leading up to the conference on their sites and Matillion. During the conference there will be a lot of online noise which will make it hard for your voice to be heard. Besides making an online impression consider face-to-face networking. Conference offer a great opportunity to reach people directly.
So be prepared to network! How can you prepare to network? These are some ideas:
- Practice your elevator pitch – An elevator pitch is a short 30 second brief about your company’s vision and mission and what you do. It is short enough to explain to someone during a shared elevator ride but interesting enough to leave them wanting more.
- Identify who you want to network with – Check the agenda, event catalogue, and exhibitor list to identify strategic partners you want to network with. The conference will be busy and crowded and you won’t be the only person seeking time. Like a job interview, come prepared and know about the companies you want to impress to make a lasting first impression.
- Get in touch before the event – Everyone will be busy and inundated with sessions and meetings. If you can, get in contact ahead of time to secure a meeting time during the conference. Even if they don’t have free time at the conference for a formal meeting, you have already made an introduction and can continue the conversation in person informally at their booth.
- Reinforce your in person encounter online – post a picture of an exhibitor booth or write a Tweet about them. If you take the time to woo them, they will be more likely to return the gesture.
And that’s how to prepare for AWS re:Invent. Want to take it one step further? Download our eBook on Optimising Amazon Redshift Spectrum to become an Amazon Redshift expert before the conference.