Improvement Feedback on KubeCon/CloudNativeCon NA 2018


Patrick Chanezon <patrick.chanezon@...>
 

+1 for track chairs
We're doing that for DockerCon and it really helps to shard the workload of building the agenda.

P@ 


On Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 5:14 PM Arun Gupta <arun.gupta@...> wrote:
+1 for track chairs

I've been part of several program committees over last several years. And this one factor really helps build a great agenda. The chairs still oversee the agenda but they deal with it like a microservices-based application as opposed to one big monolith.

Arun

On Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 3:23 PM alexis richardson <alexis@...> wrote:
+1 for track chairs!  

I'd like to see CNCF appoint a permanent Kubecon liaison who can help the conference chairs achieve continuity.  

WDY(A)T?



On Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 3:50 PM 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
mattfarina.com





--


Bryan Cantrill <bryan@...>
 


Matt,

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
mattfarina.com




Matt Farina
 

Janet and Bryan,

I am sure some of us who have handled content at a conference that had track chairs would be happy share details on the experience, if you’re interested in learning more.

I will personally volunteer. Several years I did that for DrupalCon Chicago where I was co-chair of programming and we had track chairs.

Cheers,
Matt

-- 
Matt Farina
mattfarina.com



On Dec 19, 2018, at 11:25 AM, Sarah Conway <sconway@...> wrote:

Changes such as using track chairs is a decision of the co-chairs, which for Barcelona are Janet Kuo and Bryan Liles. They're reading all the commentary and will comment early in the new year.

Thanks, 
Sarah 

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 10:19 AM Ruben Orduz <ruben@...> wrote:
To be clear, in full agreement with need for track chairs. That will help with the review aspect for sure. 

But there's also the proposal side that needs improvement. Without incorporating a few key changes, no matter the efficacy of the reviewers and track chairs if they don't have enough evidence to review on, it will still be a lot about gut feeling, who-you-know, renown and biases involved. These will always exist, we're humans after all, but an aim of the program committee should be to minimize these or at least to be able to reasonably defend why proposal A and not proposal B or C was selected.

Best,
Ruben 

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 9:57 AM Geri Jennings <geri.jennings@...> wrote:
I like the track idea, and I would propose a track specifically for developers working for vendors building tools in the cloud-native ecosystem and their particular concerns around developing stable, secure, and reliable products in this environment.

I've been to many conferences as an end-user, and I totally understand why improving that attendee experience is a focal point for many. It will also go a long way toward helping us all understand how people are actually using our tools in practice and obviously will also be hugely beneficial to the end-user community as they discover best practices for deploying apps to the cloud. But there are some unique considerations that come with building tools that integrate with or extend Kubernetes, for example - and I would love to continue to have the ability to network with others facing similar problems and to learn from their experience at this event.

A theme that emerged from this last KubeCon was that Kubernetes needs to become "boring" - which to me was a way of saying that Kubernetes and its related tools need to focus on delivering a stellar experience to end-users. If we do this, the end users will come. But it would still be nice to talk to each other about the pitfalls we face along the way, and how we've overcome them. That's one of my favorite parts of this community.

Geri Jennings
CyberArk






-- 
Sarah Conway
Vice President of Communications 
The Linux Foundation
(978) 578-5300  Cell
Skype:  sarah.k.conway


Ruben Orduz <orduzr@...>
 

Same here. Happy to share experiences and/or volunteer as needed. Have done it for PyCon US for last 6 years, happy to help KubeCon in any capacity.

Best,
Ruben 

On Dec 19, 2018, at 5:01 PM, Matt Farina <matt@...> wrote:

Janet and Bryan,

I am sure some of us who have handled content at a conference that had track chairs would be happy share details on the experience, if you’re interested in learning more.

I will personally volunteer. Several years I did that for DrupalCon Chicago where I was co-chair of programming and we had track chairs.

Cheers,
Matt

-- 
Matt Farina
mattfarina.com



On Dec 19, 2018, at 11:25 AM, Sarah Conway <sconway@...> wrote:

Changes such as using track chairs is a decision of the co-chairs, which for Barcelona are Janet Kuo and Bryan Liles. They're reading all the commentary and will comment early in the new year.

Thanks, 
Sarah 

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 10:19 AM Ruben Orduz <ruben@...> wrote:
To be clear, in full agreement with need for track chairs. That will help with the review aspect for sure. 

But there's also the proposal side that needs improvement. Without incorporating a few key changes, no matter the efficacy of the reviewers and track chairs if they don't have enough evidence to review on, it will still be a lot about gut feeling, who-you-know, renown and biases involved. These will always exist, we're humans after all, but an aim of the program committee should be to minimize these or at least to be able to reasonably defend why proposal A and not proposal B or C was selected.

Best,
Ruben 

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 9:57 AM Geri Jennings <geri.jennings@...> wrote:
I like the track idea, and I would propose a track specifically for developers working for vendors building tools in the cloud-native ecosystem and their particular concerns around developing stable, secure, and reliable products in this environment.

I've been to many conferences as an end-user, and I totally understand why improving that attendee experience is a focal point for many. It will also go a long way toward helping us all understand how people are actually using our tools in practice and obviously will also be hugely beneficial to the end-user community as they discover best practices for deploying apps to the cloud. But there are some unique considerations that come with building tools that integrate with or extend Kubernetes, for example - and I would love to continue to have the ability to network with others facing similar problems and to learn from their experience at this event.

A theme that emerged from this last KubeCon was that Kubernetes needs to become "boring" - which to me was a way of saying that Kubernetes and its related tools need to focus on delivering a stellar experience to end-users. If we do this, the end users will come. But it would still be nice to talk to each other about the pitfalls we face along the way, and how we've overcome them. That's one of my favorite parts of this community.

Geri Jennings
CyberArk






-- 
Sarah Conway
Vice President of Communications 
The Linux Foundation
(978) 578-5300  Cell
Skype:  sarah.k.conway



Sonya Koptyev <sonya@...>
 

Also happy to share experiences from 5 years worth of tier 1 conference logistics and content wrangling for Microsoft for Office and AI development.

Thanks,
Sonya

Sonya Koptyev | Director of Evangelism | m: +1 425 505 0100



On Dec 19, 2018, 2:05 PM -0800, Ruben Orduz <orduzr@...>, wrote:

Same here. Happy to share experiences and/or volunteer as needed. Have done it for PyCon US for last 6 years, happy to help KubeCon in any capacity.

Best,
Ruben 

On Dec 19, 2018, at 5:01 PM, Matt Farina <matt@...> wrote:

Janet and Bryan,

I am sure some of us who have handled content at a conference that had track chairs would be happy share details on the experience, if you’re interested in learning more.

I will personally volunteer. Several years I did that for DrupalCon Chicago where I was co-chair of programming and we had track chairs.

Cheers,
Matt

-- 
Matt Farina
mattfarina.com



On Dec 19, 2018, at 11:25 AM, Sarah Conway <sconway@...> wrote:

Changes such as using track chairs is a decision of the co-chairs, which for Barcelona are Janet Kuo and Bryan Liles. They're reading all the commentary and will comment early in the new year.

Thanks, 
Sarah 

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 10:19 AM Ruben Orduz <ruben@...> wrote:
To be clear, in full agreement with need for track chairs. That will help with the review aspect for sure. 

But there's also the proposal side that needs improvement. Without incorporating a few key changes, no matter the efficacy of the reviewers and track chairs if they don't have enough evidence to review on, it will still be a lot about gut feeling, who-you-know, renown and biases involved. These will always exist, we're humans after all, but an aim of the program committee should be to minimize these or at least to be able to reasonably defend why proposal A and not proposal B or C was selected.

Best,
Ruben 

On Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 9:57 AM Geri Jennings <geri.jennings@...> wrote:
I like the track idea, and I would propose a track specifically for developers working for vendors building tools in the cloud-native ecosystem and their particular concerns around developing stable, secure, and reliable products in this environment.

I've been to many conferences as an end-user, and I totally understand why improving that attendee experience is a focal point for many. It will also go a long way toward helping us all understand how people are actually using our tools in practice and obviously will also be hugely beneficial to the end-user community as they discover best practices for deploying apps to the cloud. But there are some unique considerations that come with building tools that integrate with or extend Kubernetes, for example - and I would love to continue to have the ability to network with others facing similar problems and to learn from their experience at this event.

A theme that emerged from this last KubeCon was that Kubernetes needs to become "boring" - which to me was a way of saying that Kubernetes and its related tools need to focus on delivering a stellar experience to end-users. If we do this, the end users will come. But it would still be nice to talk to each other about the pitfalls we face along the way, and how we've overcome them. That's one of my favorite parts of this community.

Geri Jennings
CyberArk






-- 
Sarah Conway
Vice President of Communications 
The Linux Foundation
(978) 578-5300  Cell
Skype:  sarah.k.conway