The very first KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Virtual took place on August 17-20, 2020 with lots of excitement and unique experiences.
How did you feel?
The great interactive event platform helped us feel the same, like a real conference with the new normal.
Yes, we all know that uninvited COVID-19 has affected all aspects of a business, even networking with partners, competitors, end-users, and customers.
We miss those days …
Let’s listen to a piece of music together: Those were the days – Mary Hopkin
Thanks to CNCF for creating this new norm adventure with the very first virtual event. Looking forward to the next one, real soon in November.
Keep reading, we want to share our experiences with you …
Table of Contents
Keep Cloud Native Connected
Let’s start with the end, the new beginning …
We enjoyed the Happy Hour Session hosted by Priyanka Sharma at the very last moments of KubeCon, on the overtime. Thanks to the enthusiasts who joined this session. It was a great pleasure meeting you all.
We like to have more breakout sessions like this HH session. Let’s hope for more virtual networking opportunities, why not?
Thursday, August 20, was the last day of KubeCon and we were really sad, but also happy. We achieved a great target together, “Keep Cloud Native Connected”.
The whole conference containing Co-Located events started on Monday, August 17th. Other than being available in our booth, we were able to attend different talks and visit other booths. Very nice to meet you virtually.
Our team Experiences
Here are the experiences of two of our team members who’ve attended KubeCon:
Martin Valencia-Flores – Platform Engineer
To me, KubeCon EU 2020 was a “first” bundled up with a handful of “firsts”:
- The first time attended KubeCon + CloudNativeCon
- The first time attended a virtual event, and
- The first event attended as a member of anynines.
As a new arrival, I relished on the 101 talks and the ease of access to them.
Two of these stuck with me the most: Kaslin Field’s(@kaslinfields on Twitter) and Samuel Davidson’s (bit.ly/SamK8sSec for the presentation document). Both those presentations had a fun upbeat tone to basics on Cloud Native technologies and Kubernetes (respectively) without losing the appeal of being in a conference.
Other aspects were not as positive though, such as the messaging system having the same tone for all notifications, both broadcast and private, which lead to some alerts being missed or overlooked.
It was interesting to see the community sense that KubeCon CNCF tried to bring into the event, and the perfect example of this was their recognition of Zalando. Zalando, although being an end-user has been active in the community (mainly with their PostgreSQL Operator), and as such their contributions were recognized.
During the acceptance speech, the representative from Zalando mentioned the importance that they give to being active in the Open Source community, going as far as making workshops on standards to contribute and knowledge sharing part of their onboarding process.
Something I personally learned from this experience is that no matter how much communication tech advances, a one-on-one personal chat goes further than it seems. Even for us in the computer science fields, human interaction remains one of the most important needs.
Samaneh Nasihatkon – Digital Marketing Manager
I remembered the day that I asked my team leader to join KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU 2020 and he said YES, plan for it.
It was supposed to be my first attendance as an attendee not just supporting the team and preparing marketing materials. I was really excited to finally achieve this exciting experience, meeting the Cloud-Native Community and people whom I follow on Twitter or have monthly meetings with on CNCF Marketing Committee. I was looking forward to it very very much and then!!!! Ooooops, COVID-19 is here and it ruined my whole plan.
We all waited so long for the new decision. And the good news was, CNCF planned a virtual event.
The new norm gave us some challenges and also many opportunities.
Remember the old days:
- Planning the trip to the destination (Booking accommodation and transportation)
- Yes, some of us would rather have online communications
- Preparing marketing materials (Publications)
- Trying to visit every booth with distances an not having enough time
- And what else comes to your mind?
- No need for traveling, extra time and money is saved
- We can join the event from our comfort zone, even from our beautiful garden, having our pets around and communicating with others easily.
- No need to print anything. The trees are happier now, I mean the whole ecosystem. No paper brochures or roll-up banners.
- Visiting the next booth is just one click away.
- Gathering all the information, contact details, vCard, etc. is faster, easier, and in a more effective way.
Anyway, let’s go back to the attendance experience itself:
Attending my first kubeCon was Cool! And I had a great busy time during the 4 days event and the most fun was meeting people even though it was virtual.
Cloud-Native Community is like a world-wide family for me, in which you feel belonged and an important part of. No matter what job position you have or what level of membership you’re in.
Priyanka and other CNCF members made sure that everybody felt welcome and comfortable.
The world was moving toward digitalizing different aspects of our lives, and by the appearance of COVID-19, events were the very first one to coincide with the new normal, as the need for global conversation is a must.
We have to get used to online events. To be honest to ourselves, this pandemic may stay at least for 18-24 months. And of course, we are part of the “Digital Transformation” movement.
It’s time to prepare ourselves for online networking to get the best out of the virtual events.
Anything in the world has its challenges, even attending a virtual conference.
At a virtual event, people may choose to stream the content at a later time, and thus not be present for live interaction. Even if they log in during the live event, you may be reduced to a small window at the top of their screen and you are facing the challenge of a potentially unfocused audience.
- That awkward moment when our child is dancing behind us and audience are there
- Pets running around.
- Our partner needs something from us.
- We are getting bored/tired of sitting in front of a screen the whole day.
- We are not out of the office for the conference, customers’ tickets coming in anytime.
- Not being able to follow up every session we want to.
- Your technology materials are unstable by a storm, your internet connection for example.
- Online event platform limitations and quality
- The world-wide event, different time zones
- No body-language = less emotion for memory building
Booth staffs’ challenges
- Keep the audience engaged
- Prepare videos for the front screen
- Prepare demos, the best duration is 3 to 5 minutes
- Attract the audience
- Swags (Virtual like e-books, be creative for physical swags)
- Answering all in time
- Busy booths receive many messages. Keep people engaged with a welcome message.
- Not the exact feeling of a face-to-face event
- Use other communication tools than the event platform, a Zoom meeting with video, for instance, let’s humanize the event a little bit more
Preparation for an online event
Although the sense of an online presence is different from face-to-face interactions, there are some ways we can get the best out of our time attending an online event:
- Think positive, attending an online is ecosystem friendly
- Prepare a cozy environment, drinks, and snacks
- Check out the platform before the event starts
- Update your profile with valuable information
- Prepare and share your agenda
- Design the structure of the meeting
- Prepare a checklist for your goals, what do you want to gain at this event?
- Save vCards as fast as possible. It’s an online event for God’s sake
Are you a sponsor?
Don’t forget to follow-up with the audience and booth visitors as fast as possible.
Here are some tips for marketing and other teams who are involved in the event marketing process:
- Give quality time to the virtual platform and learn it all, some features may be hidden. Not everything is perfect.
- Have you planned to play a demo video for visitors? Make it as short as possible, 3 to 5 minutes is suggested.
- Interact with all visitors, even with a small welcome message, let them feel noticed.
- Don’t send bulk emails to all visitors, try to personalize based on available category such as job title
Keep the Cloud-Native Community around the universe connected.
- 13 Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Engagement
- 4 Problems with Virtual Meetings that You Can Fix
- Top Three Challenges of Virtual and Hybrid Conferences
- Five Challenges of Virtual Events
- 8 Common Challenges of Video Conferencing for Virtual Teams
- 4 Challenges of Virtual Meetings and How to Overcome Them
- 5 Common Problems with Virtual Meetings – Plus 5 Solutions
- The 10 most common issues in online meetings explained
- Keeping Attendees Engaged Is the Biggest Challenge for Virtual Events
- 3 Challenges of Virtual Events (And How to Surpass Them!)
- Switching to a Virtual Event? Here’s What You Should Know
- 2 Million Professionals Polled On How To Make Virtual Conferences Better— Here Are Their Top 10 Hacks
- The New Event Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities
- Moving events online: Platforms, strategies and challenges
- A look back at our FIRST KubeCon + CloudNativeCon virtual conference
- KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2020 Keynote Summary