AWS re:Invent Day 0

Here goes the beginning of a nightly blog post recapping my experience at AWS re:Invent 2023 in Las Vegas. AWS re:Invent officially kicks off on Monday 11/27/2023 but for those of us who arrived early, the week started a bit early. Let’s recap Day 0.

Series Context

For this series, I’m going to do a nightly recap of the things that I experienced at re:Invent. I plan to share my highlights from people I meet, exciting news drops or sessions I found to be fantastic.

Day 0

Arrival and Hiking

The conference doesn’t start until Monday, but I’ve been looking forward to Sunday for months! Over the summer a plan was formed to have a Community Hike in the Valley of Fire state park. This was first and foremost organized by some members of the community including Johannes Koch and Danielle Heberling. Secondly, the AWS Community Team sprung for transportation on a fantastic bus that shuttled us from the Venetian to the state park and back. This community goes consistently above and beyond and to have people donate their free time and resources to make this happen was just spectacular.

We departed the Venetian at 10 AM and arrived at the park around 11:30 AM local. Upon arrival, our hike was broken up into two groups. A longer trail hike and then multiple smaller hikes. Not knowing what hiking in the desert would be like as it was my first time, I opted for the shorter and smaller hikes.

Mouse Tank

Our first stop was the Mouse Tank hike. This hike is designed to go in about 3/4 of a mile and then turn around and return. There wasn’t a ton of elevation change on this route but the views along the way were fantastic.

Have a look below at a view down the trail.

Mouse Tank

Rainbow Vista Trail

This trail was similar to the Mouse Tank as it went in about a mile and then you turn around and come back out. The trek down the mile was much easier than the trek back up. However, the payoff at the bottom of the hike was worth it as it offered a great view of the surrounding area.

Rainbow Vista

White Dome Loop

After our afternoon, we reunited with the original longer trail group at the White Dome parking lot area. White Dome treats you to some amazing canyon views as well as some nice elevation changes. It was a great deal of fun to be connected back up and take this final 1-mile hike with the full scope of our group.

White Dome

Hike Thoughts

Heading into the day I didn’t know what to expect. We had 62 total community members on the hike and I know exactly 0 of them in real life. Sure, we’ve connected over Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn and Discord over the past 12 months, but it’s nothing like meeting up in person. Everyone was amazing and I know for certain that I’ve met many life-long friends going forward.

Dinner and After

Upon completion of the hike, I figured it was time to grab my badge and pick up my Swag. I normally check in a the airport but this year I ended up grabbing my badge at the Venetian. I quite liked this as the Swag booth is just across the attendance hall. For future years, I think I’m going to keep this pattern going.

With some time to kill before dinner, I managed to meet up with more Buiders at a bar in the Venetian. Again, people that I know from online but didn’t know in real life. We had a great chat about all things Serverless, Technology, HealthCare and family.

Dinner at Virgils

This day seemed to run from hot spot to hot spot. The community meetup today ended with dinner at Virgil’s Real BBQ. Now being from Texas, Real BBQ is sort of funny, but the company was amazing. I was able to share a table with a nice mixture of AWS Heros and CBs which was really just a nice time to catch up and chat.

Evening Wrap Up

One of the things I’m most excited about this week is to meet those that I spend so much time talking to online. We managed to close out a great day with drinks at the Venetian. The fun part about hanging out with other smart folks is that you may talk “shop” and you may talk about any other topics. I think it’s important to remember, we are friends and friends often have more than one thing in common.


Day 0 ++

Up next … I’ve got a busy day planned at an Executive Summit and a Meetup with some of the DataDog Ambassadors. Stay tuned for tomorrow night’s recap.

If you at re: Invent and would like to meet up, here’s my contact card. Drop me an email or text me. I’d love to chat!

Until next time and happy building!

Published by Benjamen Pyle

Benjamen is a genuine and resourceful technology creator with over 20 years of hands-on software development, team building and leadership experience. His passion is enabling technology teams to be their best by bridging modern technical design with outstanding business problem-solving. Recognized as an AWS Community leader in the areas of Event-Driven and Serverless Architecture, he brings multiple years of pragmatic experience designing and operating modern cloud-native and containerized solutions. When Benjamen doesn't have his head in the clouds, he's either playing golf with his wife and 2 boys or they are outside with their 12 paws.