KubeCon + CloudNativeCon sponsor guest post from Amanda Katona, Cloud Native Community Engagement Director at VMware

We are fast approaching the first ever virtual KubeCon. What started a few years ago with a handful of people in a hotel conference room evolved into thousands crowding convention center hallways. And now, it’s a party of one as we all have our own virtual experience.

At this point we have all attended multiple virtual conferences so far this year. With hundreds of hours of programmed content, it risks becoming an overwhelming (and occasionally numbing) experience. So, we wanted to share some ideas for how you can get the most value from the time you invest in KubeCon this year.

Build your agenda

It’s worth stating the obvious … don’t miss that all-important session (if it’s your first KubeCon, you might start here). Explore the KubeCon agenda and pinpoint the top few sessions you must attend. Create invites on your calendar and protect the time. When attending remote, it’s easy to let other responsibilities infringe upon your session time, so be prepared to defend it from meetings and fires that can smolder for a few days (if you were in Amsterdam, they’d have to wait).

Prepare questions for your top 5 sessions

Dig into the KubeCon agenda and pinpoint the 5 sessions that you find most compelling. Rather than come with a clean slate, reflect on what resonated and write down questions you want to ask the presenter. Either ask them in the session, or follow-up directly with speakers to request more resources or recommendations of peers with whom you should also connect. And for additional perspectives, bring your questions to the CNCF project maintainers at the Project Pavilion.

Take incredible notes

Open up an Evernote file or a moleskin notepad and scratch out everything that makes you think. And don’t stop here, the best note-takers add their own color commentary and opinions. That additional context adds a ton of value when it’s time to circle back through those notes days, weeks or months later and draw insight.

Get your swag on

The expo floor at a physical conference is like Halloween for adults-tech or treat. While you won’t be collecting any new swag this year, it’s a chance to show off your favorite swag from yesteryear. Pull out a vintage KubeCon 2017 t-shirt, don your branded socks and guzzle from your most envy-inspiring water bottle.

Be extra social and extra positive

Since we can’t be there in person to trade stories, we’ll need to be extra diligent about using Slack to engage. Find the Slack channels for your favored KubeCon tracks and hang out there to trade ideas with peers. Highlight standout ideas, important projects and opportunities to contribute. Most importantly, use social to spread positivity and celebrate the incredible effort that goes into nurturing this vibrant community year-round.

Eat french fries with mayonnaise

Cause hey, if we were in Amsterdam, that’s what we SHOULD be doing. You can take the KubeCon out of Amsterdam, but you can’t wrestle that last french fry from me. Put a batch in the oven and bring a little bit of the experience to your home office or kitchen table.

This isn’t what we expected. It’s a remarkably challenging time. And yet, we have little doubt this community will find ways to make the best of it. See you at KubeCon soon!