Disclosure: KubeCon USA 2019

This is one of my regular disclosure posts. You can read more of them here.

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon was held in San Diego, CA from 19-21 November 2019. I attended as a guest of the Linux Foundation (the container foundation for the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)).

Sunday 17 November 2019

Picking up from the end of my last disclosure post, I caught BART to SFO around lunchtime on Sunday and flew Southwest Airlines to San Diego, paid for by CNCF.

I caught a Lyft to the hotel CNCF put me up in: the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, which was a short walk from the San Diego Convention Center that the conference was held at.

After checking in, I got myself organised with boring admin tasks like ironing some shirts and checking email and whatnot before heading out for some dinner with friends who were also at the conference. We had tacos, which I believe is mandatory at least once while in San Diego.

Monday 18 November 2019

I spent most of Monday in my hotel room working, revelling in the glamorous travelling lifestyle that you have no doubt heard so much of. I was up pretty early, courtesy of a brain that didn’t seem to understand the difference between 4:30am and 6:30am, but there was a decent supply of coffee making facilities in the room, so that took care of my breakfast needs.

Around 1pm I took a quick break for lunch at a restaurant downstairs, Brew 30 (paid for by PivotNine). I had the signature burger, which included a fried egg. It was pretty good, though the egg made me think it needed a slice of pickled beetroot and thus become a proper Aussie burger. Yes, the proper Aussie burger needs a fried egg and a slice of pickled beetroot, and if you want to go crazy like the reprobates in Queensland you can add a slice of pineapple as well, but they’re a bit weird up there. It’s probably all the sun and mosquitoes and crocodiles. Queensland is Australia’s Florida.

The Brew30 burger. Note the load bearing bacon and hint of egg.

A bunch more work and then I headed out to the media and analyst reception at Seasons 52, next door to the hotel, just before 6pm. I hung around there for a couple of hours chatting to fellow analysts, media folk, and a few PR people over a couple of glasses of white wine and nibbles, and then headed over to check out the Fairwinds/Google Cloud kickoff party around 8pm. It was past its peak, but I grabbed a glass of water and had a chat to one of the Fairwinds people about what they did before heading back to the hotel a little after 9pm.

I stopped in at the Brew 30 bar and had a couple of beers (paid for by me) while chatting with folk from the conference who were also there, and headed to bed around 11pm.

Tuesday 19 November 2019

I grabbed breakfast at the convention, which was a pretty terrible coffee even by American convention standards, a forgettable pastry, and some fruit. Then I headed into the opening keynote.

Lunch was at the press and analyst luncheon, which was a buffet selection of various things. I had some penne pasta with basil pesto, some spinach and blue cheese salad, and a piece of grilled chicken in some sort of sauce, with a glass of lemon cordial drink stuff that wasn’t too sweet. I also had a slice of vanilla cheesecake and a piece of brownie, and the cheesecake was quite good, so that counteracted the not-very-sweet lemon drink in nudging me towards diabetes I suppose. My fitness tracker thingo told me I was walking over 10kms a day most days of this trip, so I wasn’t overly bothered by the extra sugar.

The show floor at KubeCon 2019 was packed. It was immensely busy. And very loud.

For the evening I went to a Rooftop Soireé organised by some PR friends of mine at the Nolen rooftop bar on Sixth Avenue. I’d been doing a lot of talking, so I started off with a Moscow mule to soothe my throat, and then had a couple of gin and tonics while chatting with all and sundry. There were circulating nibbles of various kinds, including an amazing spicy meatball that was plenty hot enough without the slice of chili on top. I discovered this almost immediately.

Fun fact: you can call them meatballs all day long without issue, but if you call them flesh orbs people look at you funny.

The weather closed in, so we had the always-interesting experience of getting rained on sideways, but everyone still seemed to enjoy themselves. Dinner was a taco bar with a build-your-own mac-n-cheese station. Just the thing for a cold and windy evening.

I had a nightcap of a single-spirit cocktail that I can’t find on the Nolen’s website unfortunately. It was a nicely earthy spiced thing perfect for sitting and sipping as a wind-down drink. Just before I headed off about 10:30pm, the venue called last drinks and someone ordered me a scotch, which duly arrived as a very generous serving so I barely made it halfway through before giving up. It wasn’t a particularly good scotch, so the scotch enthusiasts will just have to forgive me.

The Mirantis party was just next door, so I popped in to check it out with a couple of other people from the Nolen party. It was fairly empty by this stage compared to what would clearly have been a heaving event earlier on, but there were a few decent-sized clumps of people still going strong. I had a water while I chatted to the CMO of Mirantis for a bit, and then did a quick circuit of the venue before bailing for my hotel around 11:30pm.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

I headed to the convention for breakfast around 9am, grabbed a coffee (Still terrible! Why don’t I learn?) and something that claimed to be a ham-and-cheese croissant. Reader, it was very much not a croissant, more a kind of ham-and-cheese Danish, which doesn’t really convey the full horror of the experience. I should have known better than to pick it up, but there is something about the boundless optimism of Americans that is infectious. Perhaps, despite appearances and all evidence to the contrary, it will be delicious? is what I imagine my brain thought at the time.

It was not to be.

I lurked in the media room dealing with email and working on some day job things that needed my attention instead of seeing the day 2 keynote, and then launched into the day’s meetings, which included appearing on the Day Two Cloud podcast on the Packet Pushers network.

For lunch I wandered over to Fifth street with a client who was at the conference and managed to dodge the worst of the rain. I had a pesto chicken sandwich that was lovely, and that erased the lingering memories of the False Croissant of Sadness and Despair from earlier.

I had dinner with a small group of friends at Top of the Market instead of going to the conference party, which was outdoors (with tents) in the Gaslamp quarter. I’d seen them setting up during lunch, and it looked like a challenging place to be when it’s raining. It reminded me of getting snowed on in Austin during the KubeCon party (spread over several venues on Rainey Street) a couple of years ago. I think I made a wise choice.

I was back at my hotel and in bed well before 11pm, which was much needed after a couple of late nights.

Thursday 21 November 2019

The final day of the conference, so I checked out and left my bag with the bell desk and headed to the venue around 8am for a quick cup of terrible coffee and a danish pastry thing filled with fruit of some kind. Possibly a stewed blackberry substance.

For lunch I grabbed the boxed lunch of a turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich, a chocolate brownie square, and a diet coke. I ate it outside in the sun, which was really very pleasant. I can understand why people like San Diego.

At around 3pm I picked up my bag at the hotel and caught a Lyft to the airport, where I flew American Airlines, economy, to LAX. I had a shower in the Qantas First lounge to freshen up, and then had dinner: salt and pepper squid, grilled chicken, and some cheese, with a couple of glasses of a Napa Valley sauvignon blanc.

Then I strapped myself into economy on the A380 to Melbourne, arriving around 10am and got our PivotNine car service home.

It was a long two weeks on the road, and I was glad to be home again.

Swag, Etc.

  • The conference t-shirt.
  • Two Snyk branded collapsible magic wand things. They’re basically a wound up piece of foil under tension that, when released, expands into the shape of a magic wand. Minutes of fun!
  • A variety of stickers. So many stickers. They included: Kubernetes, Helm, TiKV, Diamanti, Manifold (a PivotNine client), StorageOS, Rancher, the Day Two Cloud podcast. There are probably more in a bag somewhere. I like stickers.
  • Two pairs of scuff slipper things from Opendoor, a real-estate sort-of peer-to-peer thing that probably makes sense in the hellscape of the American real-estate industry. These make decent indoor shoes for our shoes-off house.
  • I also gave out a bunch of my own stickers: Humans Ruining Everything Since Forever (everyone’s favourite), Danger Designed by Humans, Danger Artificial Intelligence and a few Danger Hexagons. Find me at a conference if you’d like one of your very own.
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