How to survive your first Google Cloud Next conference
If you are going to Google Cloud Next for the first time, then expect a remarkable experience, it is a lot of good energy and a lot of great people! But going to a conference with 25000 people is no small feat and it is vastly different compared to any smaller conference with "only" a couple of thousands of attendees. So here are a few tips to how you can survive your first Google Cloud Next 😄
This is the advice that I wish I had last year (and also had listened to 😂)
Remember to pick up your badge
It is easy to think that you want to pick up the badge on the first day of the conference, the thing is, so do a couple of thousand other people also! So while you will be waiting eagerly to get into all the fun, you will see other stroll by with their badge from yesterday!
This year most things will happen in Moscone South and not being split between Moscone West and South like last year! But do still pick it up early to avoid the stress in the morning, the conference coffee is first after the check-in ;)
Moscone South Lobby, Level 1 7 AM–8 PM, Monday, April 8 7 AM–7 PM, Tuesday, April 9 7 AM–6 PM, Wednesday, April 10 7 AM–4 PM, Thursday, April 11 Moscone North Lobby, Level 1 7 AM–8 PM, Monday, April 8 7 AM–7 PM, Tuesday, April 9
The morning keynotes fill up early - wake up early
Each morning there is the main stage keynote where a lot of the excitement is kicked off and announcements made, you don't want to miss the live action of being there! However there is a limited amount of space and it fills up early, don't expect that you can come in 15 minutes before 9 and get in! If you do that you will most likely be guided to another room to watch it live-streamed, which is just not as fun!
So get up early and be ready for when the doors open at 8am to get into the main stage!
Don't plan to go to two keynotes back-to-back
It is simply not possible going from another keynote area to another keynote area in a short time. Whenever one keynote ends the hallways will be filled with a lot of people that makes it impossible to get anywhere quickly.
Some of the keynotes are also in different buildings and getting in and of them often requires security checks which generate queues and just the distance between takes time to walk!
Somebody needs to make an ML algo to calculate the optimal schedule for you! ;)
At most locations, there will be airport security like, where you will go through a metal detector and you have to open your bag to show what is inside. I do appreciate the security a lot, but it does make things a little bit more slowly.
Do check out the community area!
This is a leading question since I am one of the global Google Cloud Community organisers attending and I will be hanging out at the community area a lot, but I do think it is a great place to spark up a conversation, the people there is some of the nicest people I know and everyone there is sure to help you with whatever question you have or you just want to have a friendly conversation! 😄
There is very little seating area outside keynote areas
I think that is deliberate in getting people to walk around and get back into keynotes, and then the fact that there is a lot of fun activity and information areas.
But that means if you want to relax and sit down for a bit in-between looking at the sponsors and activities, you will have to find a chair inside a keynote.
Lunch is walk and talk
Since there are very few chairs outside keynotes, that also applies for when it is lunch time! Lunch is a neat thing where you get a brown bag with a handle and then you can pick between sandwiches and salads, and it is super delicious!
Talks will fill up before the day
You can reserve a spot for certain keynotes and that mean two things! If you have reserved a spot you can skip the line and walk in, if you haven't reserved a spot you have to wait in line outside for whenever it starts if there is still available chairs.
This can be a bit frustrating if you discover this too late and the talk has been filled up. You also can't sneak into talk since there will be Staff outside scanning your badge to see if you have signed up! So do spend some time looking through the app and reserve a few of the talks you really want to see!
Do try to find the swag early on
There are often a few places where you can get some awesome conference swag that is more than a nice tshirt and some cool stickers. Last year I got the second book of "The Site Reliability Workbook" for free and signed by all authors!! And I got a cool 2fa key by Google! https://landing.google.com/sre/books/
You can loan free smartphone power bank
There are these cool standers where you can loan iPhone and Android chargers for free, you just have to sign up on it and then you have a small powerbank for 24 hours. Remember to put it back!
Do go to the After hours party on the second day
Last year The Chainsmokers played an awesome concert if you like dubstep/techno/dance music you should have been there ;) There are buses going back to the city afterward, that is really nice if you have gotten a few beers at the place!
Have an awesome conference!
All the advice was best for last year and maybe this year it is completely different! But that is just part of the fun, in generally the Google Cloud Next is an awesome conference, the cloud has never been more interesting to get into and learn more about! Enjoy it and say hi if you see me! 😄
or say hi on twitter https://twitter.com/kevinsimper
Did you go there last year? What advice would you give new Cloud Next goers?