My First DockerCon (or, how I met 16 Docker Captains in 3 days)

Chloe Condon
Apr 19, 2017 · 12 min read
DockerCon- not your typical conference. 🐳🕹

If you asked me a year ago if I was familiar with Docker, my answer definitely would have been something along the lines of “What’s a Docker?” 🤔. Hi, I’m Chloe, and I’m a Developer Evangelist at Codefresh, former actress, and newly minted engineer straight out of Hackbright Academy. Although I am newer to the engineering world, I’m no stranger to learning new technologies on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. Although each technology/product/language has its own documentation, communities, and excitement around it, I don’t think I could have prepared myself for the passionate group that is the Docker community. And, let me tell you, they’re one of the most enthusiastic and exuberant groups of people I have ever encountered.

When I was hired at Codefresh back in March, I knew that one of the first conferences I would attend in my new role would be DockerCon. I had been doing a lot of learning on my own about Docker through various online resources and Bret Fisher’s Udemy course, but I had yet to interact with any Docker users outside of my office in Mountain View, California. The weekend before DockerCon I crafted a fun little perler bead craft of this year’s retro conference logo. To say I was “pumped” would have been an understatement.

Our Codefresh mascot, Superfresh, with my perler bead DockerCon craft 🐳

We landed in Austin on Monday, and arrived to see our lovely booth on the Expo floor. I expected there to only be a handful of people there (seeing how it was a Monday evening and people were starting to filter in to Austin from various parts of the world), but I was very much mistaken; the expo floor was packed, and the energy in the room was electric! I stayed at the Codefresh booth, helping by giving demos, talking to other engineers about our product; I even had a couple Docker Captains stop by the booth to chat and say hi!

Quick side note: I went to DockerCon on a mission. The week before, while searching for some info on Docker’s website, I discovered that there are people with the title of “Docker Captain”. According to Docker’s website: Docker Captains are Docker experts and leaders in their communities who demonstrate a commitment to sharing their Docker knowledge with others. Members of the program are actively publishing blog posts, speaking at industry events, developing training materials, and involved with local meetups. And so…

I made it my DockerCon mission to meet with as many Docker Captains possible, and learn how to become a Docker Captain someday. 🐳

As someone newer to Docker, it seemed like these “Captains” would be an amazing resource. I reached out to all of them in the days leading up to the conference, and before I knew it, I was scheduling coffee and “Moby Mingles” (DockerCon’s super easy way to book 1:1s) with a whole bunch of them! Not going to lie- I was a little intimidated to meet with these Docker pros, but hey- everyone has to start somewhere, right? And thus began my quest to fill my imaginary Docker Captain BINGO card. It may have come at the cost of being a bit of a “Docker Stalker”, but as I’ll mention later- it was absolutely worth it!

Day One- Monday 🐳

To my surprise, several Docker Captains stopped by our booth on Monday night! I got to meet Dwayne Lessner (Sr Technical Marketing Engineer at Nutanix), Bulldozer Operator (AKA Andrey Sibiryov- SRE, Uber), Phil Estes (Docker engine maintainer) and Stefan Scherer (Software Engineer at SEAL Systems, Docker Pirate at Hypriot). All four of them gave me really great tips on how to get more involved with the Docker community, and I’m excited to hit the ground running when I head back to the Bay Are next week.

At the end of the night, we cleaned up our booth, and headed to the hotel to rest up for a very early day two. Before we left, I managed to get this exclusive interview with an honorary Docker Captain 😂

You can follow me on Instagram as @unslothorized

🚢 Total Docker Captain Count on Day 1: 4 (plus a pidgeon) 🚢

Day Two- Tuesday 🐳

My DockerCon nails by yours truly 💅🐳

Day two started out with a bang (thanks to coffee ☕️🙌)! I woke up early to do my own DockerCon nails; you could say I was a little excited! My first Moby Mingle of the day was with Jonas Rosland (Developer Advocate, Community Manager at EMC {code}). He gave me a lot of solid advice on how to create content and gave me some great ideas on how to share my knowledge as I learn Docker from the beginning. It was really interesting to hear about how he got involved with Docker and I look forward to Googling some of his previous talks!

It was super simple to find Jonas with Moby Mingle!

Then, it was time for the keynote/general session. At first, I thought I had walked by the wrong area; it was as though I had wandered into a video game themed rave! There were giant screens with 8-bit whales and squirrels, complete with vintage video game music and hilarious developer-related video game jokes peppered in. As someone who loves retro games, I was a little obsessed.

Is this real life? 🐳

It was particularly inspiring to hear Solomon Hykes talk about the future of Docker, and all of the exciting things to look forward to. My favorite quote from him was the following:

The best tools should:

1. Get out of the way
2. Adapt to you
3. Make the powerful simple

I couldn’t agree more.

As someone who is passionate about diversity, I was very excited to see Kate Hirschfeld’s talk: Diversity in the Face of Adversity . Aside from being an all-around awesome human being, she’s a first-year high school student. Yup- you read that correctly. Kate delivered her talk better than most presenters I’ve seen in tech who have been doing this for over 20 years (she’s a serious pro for a 13 year old), and gave an honest and brave talk about how she became a diversity advocate after her middle school presentation about inclusion and gender was banned. My favorite quote from her talk was re:changing the pipeline of diverse candidates coming into the industry:

“You have 7ish years to get your shit together- and you’ll have to answer to me” -Kate Hirschfeld

Next up was a talk from Finnian Anderson, a 16 year old UK-based web developer & Raspberry Pi hacker. Again, you read that correctly; these kids are giving me some serious Docker goals. His talk “Why I Wish I’d Heard of Docker When I was 12” was great and shared his experience helping Captain Alex Ellis run the sell-out Hands-On Docker for Raspberry Pi workshop. I have a lot of catching up to do with these teens, you guys…

Then, I ran into Jérôme Petazzoni (Docker Tinkerer Extraordinaire)! We had been tweeting each other in the days leading up to DockerCon, so it was great to meet in person. It’s been so inspiring to meet so many people at DockerCon like Jérôme who are so passionate about Docker! Did I mention everyone at DockerCon is super nice and awesome? Because they totally are. 🐳❤️

Then, while taking a quick break in the Moby Mingle area, I ran into Thomas Shaw (Build Engineer at Demonware, and Docker Captain) who lives in Dublin. We had a quick chat about how to get more involved in the world of Docker, and gave me some fantastic ideas/inspiration for content to make. It was extremely helpful, and I can’t wait to get started!

Before I knew it, it was lunch time- DockerCon had all kinds of yummy food to choose from (thanks Docker!). I scheduled some time to meet with Scott Coulton (Senior Software Engineer at Puppet and Docker Captain) who is based in Sydney. It was so inspiring to meet so many Docker Captains from around the world. Scott and I talked about our shared love for public speaking, and told me about all of the conferences and meet-ups he has spoken at. He has extensive experience in architecture, so it was very cool to hear about his passion for Docker.

As I was heading back to the hotel to drop-off my laptop, I randomly ran into Alex Ellis outside the convention center. We chatted about even more ways to get involved with the Docker Community, and provided me with some fantastic resources on where to get started. Thanks Alex!

Party time!

Of course, an overview of DockerCon would not be complete without mentioning the DockerCon Party! All of Rainey Street served as the venue for the occasion. They had everything from oversized beer pong, karaoke, live music, and even live animals! It was an awesome way to celebrate the conference, and wind down after a long day of talks, networking, and booth working.

Having fun at the Docker Party (please note Moby nail!) 🐳💅
Live music by Whiskey Shivers at Bangers on Rainey Street!

🚢 Total Docker Captain Count on Day 2: 8 (+ bonus Jérôme points!)🚢

Day Three- Wednesday 🐳

My new reality show- Quirky Coding with Chloe 😂

Day three started out with a Moby Mingle with Docker Captain Antonis Kalipetis (CTO at SourceLair). Funny side note: a film crew from Docker was following me around for part of the day and getting some footage of me around the conference. So, Antonis and I couldn’t help but laugh at a boom mic being in between us as we chatted (pictured above). It was great to hear from him about how he got involved with Docker, and about the numerous talks he has given on the subject. He suggested running or getting involved with a meet-up, which I will definitely get involved with!

Then it was time to meet Shawn Bower (Cloud Architect for Cornell University). Shawn and I had a common bond from the theatre world (before he became an engineer, he was in technical theatre), so it was fun to meet another former theatre geek. Talking to Shawn about his experience implementing Docker at Cornell was a real “ah-ha” moment for me. With so many different departments/engineers/languages/etc. being used at Cornell, using Docker completely changed the way that he and his team work together. Shawn gave me a lot of great tips about getting started with playing with Raspberry Pi/Docker, and I look forward to bugging him with emails about my progress with that in the future. 🤓

After meeting with Shawn, I trekked over to the ballroom area to see Bret Fisher (Independent Cloud Sysadmin and DevOps Engineer)’s talk. I was really looking forward to this one, since I am taking Bret’s ‘Docker Mastery’ Udemy class online! I loved the Star Wars theme of Bret’s talk, and learned a lot!

When Bret’s talk finished up, I hovered in the back row charging my laptop. My phone rang, and to my surprise, it was Nirmal Mehta (Chief Technologist in the Strategic Innovations Group at Booz Allen Hamilton) on the line! He came over to meet me in the ballroom where I was waiting to chat with Bret. Nirmal has been working with Docker since the very beginning, so he gave me a wealth of information on what it has been like to use Docker since day one, as well as some pro-tips on how to get more involved with the Docker community. As Bret, Nirmal, and I walked back to the main expo hall area, Nirmal gave me his awesome Molly Dock pin (which I have been sporting on my Docker backpack during my commute to Mountain View each morning)! I feel like I’m in the Docker illuminati now… thanks Nirmal- l love it! 🐳💖

Jesse and Luisa giving their talk

Upon arrival at the Codefresh booth, Jesse White (Principal at Contino) stopped by to say hello! He was about to begin his talk, so I made my way over to the stage to check it out. Jesse and Luisa M. Morales gave some excellent tips on how to run successful meet-ups. The two of them stressed the importance of creating a good team of volunteers, and having open and trustful communication with those involved. I walked away from their talk not only excited to host my own, but also very excited to perhaps someday work with the two of them at Docker NY event!

After doing some demos at the booth with the Codefresh team, Fontana Lorenzo (DevOps Expert at Kiratech) stopped by to chat. We had a nice talk about his involvement with Docker- he had a lot of great tips to share! Timothy Haak (HaakCo) popped by the booth as well, and gave me a bunch of encouragement to write about my experience with learning Docker. “There will be a moment where it all clicks” he said. I can’t wait to email him when it does!

Rounding out my final imaginary Docker BINGO card spot was Tony Pujals (Director of Cloud Engineering at Appcelerator). Turns out, Tony knows the Codefresh team already and is good friends with our CEO Raziel Tabib. Tony runs the Docker meet-ups in Mountain View, so I’m sure we’ll be working a lot together going forward. I’m excited to help Tony and assist with some future meet-ups!

Alex presenting his winning project.

I then headed back to see the final DockerCon announcements. They featured the winners of the Moby’s Cool Hacks sessions. One of the winners was Alex Ellis, who presented Functions as a Service (FAAS). It was very cool to see what he created- and pretty cool to see Alex up on stage after running into him on the street the day before. Congrats Alex!

At the end of the final presentation, Docker announced that next year’s DockerCon would be in San Francisco. I’m so excited for next year- and I’m already counting down to my second DockerCon in 2018!

Some whales chilling on the DockerCon stage. Do you think they set up a Moby Mingle?

🚢 FINAL Docker Captain Count on Day 3: 16🚢

To my surprise, my final total of Docker Captains was 16! When I originally planned to meet with some captains at DockerCon, I thought for sure that only a handful would reply. I could not have prepared myself for the wonderful enthusiasm, love, and passion for spreading Docker knowledge that was shared with me during my time in Austin. I can not express how thankful I am for the incredible Docker Captains I met with over the course of 3 days. I look forward to keeping in touch with them as I navigate my way through Docker, and who knows- maybe next year I’ll be captaining with them as well!

My suitcase STUFFED with DockerCon swag. Adorable Molly Dock plush thanks to Jérôme!

Originally published at on April 21, 2017.

Chloe is a Developer Evangelist at Codefresh- a Docker native CI/CD known for it’s incredibly fast builds, unique image management capabilities, and pre-staging environments. Codefresh is free to use with unlimited repos, users, and builds. Start an account with Codefresh today and see how quickly you can be building, testing, and deploying today!

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