My personal look back on KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2023

Posted: 2023-04-30 14:16:26 |
Last update: 2023-04-30 14:16:26

What is KubeCon + CloudNativeCon?

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is an event that takes place multiple times a year in different parts of the world.
The CNCF describes it as their flagship conference which "gathers adopters and technologists from leading open source and cloud native communities."
So basically like the events I usually attend but with corporate sponsors and people trying to sell stuff and without custom vehicles made from hoverboards 🙃.

That may sound negative but it really isn't. The conversations I had with software vendors were actually one of my favourite parts of the whole thing!

How did the conference go for me?

It is difficult to put into words just how much I enjoyed my time in Amsterdam.
The city is absolutely beautiful and one can really feel that the traffic planners there know how to do their jobs. The public transit is amazing and even though I did not have a bike, I could see just how great of a mode of transport it is there.
I haven't been in Amsterdam for a long time, which is why I decided to add two more days to my stay after the conference had already ended, which was a really, really good decision.

I did not actually attend that many talks during the conference. The talks may have been the thing that got me interested in the first place, but they are also the only part of it that is recorded and can be enjoyed afterwards as well.
The talks I did attend left me really motivated to submit to next year's call for participation though. I always felt I was too much of a beginner in the CloudNative space to have anything to add to the conversation, but that simply is not the case.
I no longer am just a beginner and even if I were, many of the talks were pretty entry level, which is great.
Absolutely nothing there felt elitist or like beginners are not welcome.

What I did do a lot was talking. Which, if you know me, you know is not necessarily one of my stronger skills.
Software vendors were really quick to start conversations with anyone who stood near their booths, so I never felt like I had to initiate any conversations, which really helped.
I learned about a ton of different software solutions, many of which I am going to look into further to use either at work or for my private infrastructure.
I also got to speak English with most people, which is great because I enjoy doing so and I do not get enough practice in my regular day to day life.

More important for me personally was that I got to meet a really amazing person who I've been mutuals with on Fedi for quite a while now.
Meeting new people isn't always easy but with some it just feels right really quickly after the initial awkwardness has subsided.
We ended up getting dinner together instead of going to any of the after parties, which was a great decision and likely was what led to us also spending a large part of the weekend after the conference together as well.
This isn't a space where I go too deep into my (inter) personal life but I just had to write something about this because it really makes me happy.

Looking into the future

After this conference, I definitely want to come to the next one (in Europe) as well.
Hopefully I'll be accepted as a speaker and I get to share some nerdy technical stuff on a pretty big stage.

Until then however, I am left with a lot more confidence; both in my English and my social skills in general.
I was never one to socialise too much, since I never really fit in all that well anywhere.
The pandemic has made this problem a lot worse and gave me even more anxiety about meeting people than I had before.
At KubeCon I felt like I did fit in with a huge amount of people and unlike with the German CCC events, it did not feel like I was an outsider while everyone else already knows everyone there.

I will treasure the memories I made for a long time and use them to find motivation in darker moments.
I will also learn Dutch because it's a super fun language and I already understand a large part of it thanks to speaking German and English.
Talking about Kubernetes with so many people managed to motivate me to do more stuff with my cluster again and I already set up automated backups and did most of the preparation I needed to do to finally have my cluster run on a current version of Kubernetes again. Both of which are things I was putting off for quite a while now.