Kubernetes Community Day Bengaluru’21

Kubernetes Community Day Bengaluru’21

18 September 2021

In this blog I would like to share some insight about event planning, event day, outcome, post event and some other learnings.

I know this is late but I have to publish this blog to formally check all the TODO’s with respect to this KCD, Bengaluru 21 event.

Kubernetes Community Days, Bengaluru 21 happened on 25th and 26th June’21.  25th June was dedicated to the workshops and on 26th we had the main conference - the event day. A detailed blog a planning, CFP selection, schedule, sponsorship etc is is here, which was published on the CNCF site. In this blog I would like to share some insight about event planning, event day, outcome, post event and some other learnings.

Event Planning

The event planning was started in Oct’19 and CloudYuga became the fiscal sponsor of the event to do all the transactions locally; like venue tickets etc. As you all know, we first planned the in-person event, which we could not do. We even blocked the venue for which we had to pay $2000,  as we canceled the event, due to Covid’19.

Once we finalized that it is going to be a virtual event and CNCF is going to take care of logistics (event platform), we started planning for the event. Following were some of the work items:-

  • Website Creation
  • CFP Planning, Selection and Review
  • Workshop planning
  • Finding Sponsors
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Agenda Creation
  • Speaker Followup
  • Swags
  • Moderators for the event
  • and many more

We decided to meet every week but after a few weeks it started to fall apart as some of the organizers  found it difficult to commit time weekly. From there we moved onto the mail only arrangement but did not seem to give good outcomes. We then resumed back to online meetings with whom-so-ever can join and decided to take decisions to move forward. With different priorities, work schedules etc, sometimes it becomes difficult to be on top of everything and this is applicable to organizers as well. But on other hand this adds additional work to other team members.

On The Event Day

During the planning phase we visualized the event day multiple times to make sure that we are not leaving any stone unturned . As everyone in the organizing team was already busy in finishing up the existing work, we thought of getting an additional dedicated team to help us with the event moderation. Community members came forward and they became one of us very quickly to pull off such an awesome event.

This was our first event and that too virtual & free. We were all thinking how many people would eventually turn up and how the interactions were going to be. We had a total 1671 RSVPs and around 30% showed up, which is considered good for a virtual event. We saw constant interactions with the participants, which were at peak during the keynotes. Other than one talk all the other talks were recorded and played during the event. But most of the speakers were available for live interactions, after their scheduled talks.

We ran a twitter contest on the event day, which I believe was decided just a day before the event. That definitely brought some fun angle to the event. We also had a technical quiz on K8s.

With the detailed planning almost everything fell in place and credit goes to everyone involved, be it participants, speakers, moderators and organizers. Being said that we have to take care of a few things at runtime like :-

  • We changed the event stream resolution at runtime to make it more clear but it changed the link for speakers to join in. So quickly we had to update our speakers.
  • Some moderators did not download the videos, so others had to pitch in and share the video at the stream
  • In a few cases we had to give clever answers to the chat to make sure things didn’t escalate :)
  • We had to collect Proof of Execution for our sponsors like the given promo was played at the right time, duration etc. That was really fun.
  • We did have some confusion about the availability of moderators for one of the tracks but with team-work it was sorted out.

Though the event day just constitutes just about 10% of the work, it is the most important one. It was a great team effort and we were very happy that we achieved our goals.

Outcome

  • If it had been a physical event then we may have got participants only from a few cities but with online presence, we had participants from different parts of India and abroad.
  • We could get many international speakers due to online mode.
  • We could deliver world class content from both our workshops and events.
  • Lots of students could attend the event as it was a free and online event.
  • From the sponsorship amount, we could sponsor 10 Cloud Engineer Bootcamp to the students from different colleges. We have already allocated 6 and the remaining would be done soon.  One of the recipients already started sharing his notes.
  • Few students got hired as interns. 
  • As a local community, we now have the experience of hosting an event.

Learnings

  • There is a lot of work that goes behind the scenes to organize an event like this.
  • Sometimes it becomes a bit hard to follow up with people and things drag a bit. I believe that is true for any voluntary activity.
  • All the organizers/volunteers give their personal time to pull off the event like this. It is very hard to equally divide the responsibilities.
  • There should be a defined procedure to do the marketing to avoid any confusion and conflicts.
  • and many more

Any community event like KCD, Bengaluru can only be possible by co-operation from speakers, sponsors, volunteers, participants and organizers. No individual can pull it off alone.  We received a lot of good feedback about the event but I feel that there is still some room for improvement. We hope to do it better next year.