Seats fill fast — you need to be organized to get to see what you want. And no, this is not a picture of my audience after my talk started!

Surviving the AWS re:Invent catalog

Help has arrived for AWS re:Invent attendees

Ken Robbins
Sep 8, 2019 · 5 min read

What’s the definition of insanity? Going to AWS re:Invent, spending a precious week of your time and thousands of dollars, and trying to optimize that by browsing through a 2500+ item session catalog that changes frequently and silently up to the last minute, and expecting to find the best sessions to maximize your investment and experience — and doing this year after year and expecting it to be better!

This has been a great personal frustration and apparently I’m not alone. Therefore, Cloud Pegboard has just announced a new set of features to make it much easier to find sessions that are relevant to you.

The problem

The crux of the problem is not just that the catalog is big (and that’s a big part of it), but that it changes nearly daily from August through the last day of re:Invent in December and there has been no way to see what’s changing. This is a big deal since just like buying popular concert tickets, once session registration goes live, you have an extremely short time to register, or else you end up going to sessions because you can get into them as opposed to them being important to you. That’s not a great way to make use of the significant investment to attend re:Invent.

For perspective, the catalog had about 600 sessions when it went live, and as of September 7, there are about 1100. There will be over 2500 sessions by the time of the conference. That’s a lot of changes to track between now and December.

Of course, even with the best planning, you won’t get registered for your entire schedule, and sessions are added up to and even during the conference. Since the catalog changes silently, you end up being forced to review the catalog’s thousands of entries many times to attempt to detect what’s new as you adjust your schedule.

For perspective, the catalog had about 600 sessions when it went live, and as of September 7, there were about 1100. There will be over 2500 sessions by the time of the conference. That’s a lot of changes to track between now and December.

It’s bad enough to have a bad DB design require full scans for every query. It’s a whole different pain when that scan is a human action — it’s just not tenable!

A solution

Cloud Pegboard has new tools to make it easier to find sessions that are relevant to you. Most importantly, you can now track changes so that you don’t need to review the same sessions over and over again. Instead, you can just track the changes as they occur up to and through the conference.

As a powerful tool for all AWS practitioners, Cloud Pegboard’s mission is to solve the information overload problem. Managing the flood of re:Invent session information therefore is a natural expansion for us to help you. There are several ways that we now support managing session information that are integrated with existing Cloud Pegboard services.

  • A powerful custom “super session catalog”
  • Daily or weekly session addition notifications via email
  • Ability to find sessions related to a particular AWS service

The Cloud Pegboard re:Invent super session catalog is a vast improvement over the AWS version in several ways. Key among these is that you can sort by the date that sessions were added. Therefore, it’s easy to review sessions that were added since you last looked. Another great simplification is that we don’t display repeat sessions, and this reduces a great deal of clutter. When you find a session of interest, you just click to see the list of repeats.

Example of Cloud Pegboard “super session catalog”

You can even add sessions to a wishlist to make it easy to keep track of what sessions you are considering. You can then filter to see just the sessions you’ve flagged and even export the list.

As a compliment to browsing the Cloud Pegboard session catalog, you can also opt to receive daily or weekly notices of session additions. It’s much easier and practical to quickly scan small chunks of changes incrementally, and therefore we give you two ways to accomplish that (sorted table listing and email updates).

As current Cloud Pegboard users well-know, we primarily organize AWS data by associated service. Following this model, when you look at the detailed datasheet for any AWS service, there is now a section that shows all of the re:Invent sessions that relate to that service (and again, sorted by date added to help you see changes).

Section of Cloud Pegboard datasheet for EKS showing EKS-related sessions

If you want to get the most out of re:Invent, register for Cloud Pegboard and bookmark our sessions catalog, and optionally opt-in to daily or weekly re:Invent updates (along with service updates too).

Check it out, be a hero, and pass the link to our session catalog along to colleagues and social media.

About Cloud Pegboard

Cloud Pegboard helps AWS practitioners be highly effective and efficient even in the face of the tremendous complexity and rate of change of AWS services. We want to keep AWS fun and feel more like dancing in a sprinkler on a hot summer day and less like being blasted with a firehose. We make the AWS information you need amazingly easy to access, and with personalization features, we help you stay up to date on the AWS services and capabilities that are important to you and your specific projects.


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