Re: Improvement Feedback on KubeCon/CloudNativeCon NA 2018

Bryan Cantrill <bryan@...>


Thanks so much for gathering this -- I agree with all of it.  I would like to add a couple of points.

First, I really enjoyed the Monday "co-located" conference that I went to (I went to the Observability Practitioners Summit), and I wish I could have gone to at least two more (Envoycon and the FoundationDB Summit).  These events each had a manageable size (~200?) and -- speaking for the Observability Practitioners Summit -- a really robust hallway track.  I wonder if this is a template that would allow for KubeCon to be a little more manageable:  break it up into smaller verticals where true communities can gather.

Second, the exhibition hall -- for better and for ill -- became the focal point of the hallway track.  On the one hand, this was great: I had a bunch of terrific conversations in the exhibition hall.  But on the other, because it was hard to get from there to the talks, the hallway track wasn't happening in the hallway, but rather far away from the tech talks.  I didn't get to some of the tech talks I wanted to go to because I lost track of time and/or space.  It would be interesting to know how well attended each talk was and what the audience thought of it; this is something that should probably be tracked.  (QCon does an excellent job of this and can serve as a model.)  I think it might also help to shorten the hours/days of the exhibition hall -- it will force the hallway track to relocate itself, and hopefully in closer proximity to the actual technical content...

Third, considering the very significant logistics of the whole thing, I thought LF staff did an excellent job!  In particular, thank you for getting the videos up so quickly!  Many conferences take weeks/months to get the videos up -- it's great to have them up the week after!

Fourth, I thought Liz did an awesome job, before and during the conference -- including some very thoughtful questions at the TOC panel.  Great work!

Finally: on the videos, it would be great (albeit grueling!) to have a "best of KubeCon" list of talks that were rated particularly highly.  I know that this is hard when there were no ratings on talks (or at least, not to the best of my knowledge), but maybe you could have Liz and the other PC members pick their "PC pick" or something?  I'm really just trying to cheat here:  I want to watch some of these talks, but there are too many to pick from! ;)

        - Bryan

On Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 7:50 AM Matt Farina <matt@...> wrote:
At KubeCon/CloudNativeCon there was a session on improving the conference for the future. This session was born out of conversations on this list so I wanted to circle back with some of the material from that session to further the conversation and see about getting some of them implemented.

Before I share improvements people suggested, I wanted to touch on a possible technical problem. Both Paris Pittman and I found examples of sessions that people proposed but that appeared to disappear. For example, in Paris case it was sessions she proposed that were neither accepted or rejected along with a session that was double accepted.

Dan and Chris, can someone look into the technical process and make sure there isn't a place where some sessions could be inadvertently dropped or otherwise messed up?

I also want to thank the track chairs. It is an often thankless job. In the session there were call outs to things people liked and I, for one, appreciated hearing those. Nothing I intend to write is meant to be a criticism. Rather, it's to share suggestions many people had looking to continiously improve a changing conference.

Some things people liked:
  • Keynotes with a rounded room
  • Daycare for kids
  • Many women giving keynotes
Some problems that could use more solution suggestions:
  • Room changes and sched updating after sessions had begun. Some speakers were late because of this
  • Uniformly, sessions at the TCC were under-attended. If we use the venue again we should re-think layout
  • Finding room locations in sched can be difficult
  • Good talks were from end users. How can we get more of these?
  • Some reviewers were a bit overwhelmed (e.g., someone reviewed ~120 submissions)
  • The SurveyMonkey review application isn't great and reviewers would like something better
Here are some of the suggestions from the session:
  • Announce sponsored keynotes as sponsored
  • Speaker training to help speakers improve their sessions (especially maintainers who get intros/deep dives)
  • Use feedback from previous conferences to inform session selection at future conferences
  • Collect videos of previous speaking when submitting selections
  • Keep things on the same topic in the same room (tracks have a room)
  • Have a dry run of the talks before the day of
  • Match seasoned speakers with newer speakers to help work on sessions
  • Track chairs - this came up several times by different people
  • Capture data on whey sessions were popular (is it speakers, topic, something else?)
  • Tracks with diversity (e.g., one of the tracks had 4 of 6 talks on the same project). Some conferences limit the number of project talks in a single track. Couple this with shared room/day and YouTube playlist experiences
  • Example from an education conference: a 90 minute talk is 80 minuites. The final 10 minutes was people doing reviews. This captures feedback in the moment from many rather than negative feedback after the fact
  • Example from academic medical conferences: you have to turn in feedback to continue accreditation
  • Local conferences (like DevOps Days, WordCamp, DrupalCamp, etc) which Chris Aniszczyk said was in the works
  • Posted ingredients lists for the meals for people with special diets
  • Having room on badges for things like GitHub handles because that's how many of us know each other
  • Live captioning, at least for the keynotes
Note, I likely missed some. If I did and you remember something please share to fill in the gaps.

There was no way for me to capture the entirety of the session in an email this short. If you're interested in more detail please watch the video.

How can we move forward on some of these suggestions?

Also, please feel free to forward this on or loop others in as needed.

Matt Farina

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