What a rollercoaster of an event!
Sunday: I boarded the flight from EWR at 1:00 pm and reached an hour prior. I guess the pilot was in a hurry for something. I get down at the airport and take an Uber to the hotel. I booked caesar’s palace for the event. The aforementioned was my first and only mistake of the entire event. I waited an hour to check-in, and the hotel staff at the counter was rude for no reason. They charged me 51$ as a mandatory hotel and pool fee(daily). But the pool wasn’t even open for use! Hilarious. The total taxes I paid was $755—what a joke. From next time, I will be living in the Venetian. It’s the best place for this conference, and every other hotel where the sessions take place is close by—got takeout from one of the restaurants in the hotel. It’s crazy expensive and not at all worth it. They charge $16 for delivery to the hotel room. That’s right, to pick up a bag from the ground floor to the 12th floor, they charge $16 so I had to walk down again. I was tired for no reason at 8 pm and then realized I had time jumped 3 hours.
Monday: Attended two sessions. I attended a PagerDuty executive dinner that evening, where I met a person I truly clicked. We talked for the entirety of the evening. I just knew the moment he walked inside the room that the person was different from any person in the room, and after conversing with him for just 30 minutes, my gut was right. We ended up talking about science, space, religion, books, tech, and possibly everything that life entailed. We even left the venue and walked around the LV block till 11:30 pm until we had to part ways. We connected over LinkedIn. I had no idea I would meet someone I would adore at a conference where most people try to sell you something.
Tuesday: My manager had landed on Monday night. For the first two hours in the morning, I skipped my morning sessions and ended up putting every single cybersecurity skillet I honed to test to find the person whom I had connected the previous day. I wanted him and my manager to meet at an Axe Throwing event hosted by Pager Duty.
I narrowed it down to 3 people living in Seattle and nearby his workplace by his name. After that was taken care of and his invite sent, I ran to have lunch at the caesars forum, then Venetian for my next session. And then back to my hotel room to shower again before attending an IAC and Palo Alto executive dinner at 5:30. There I met some interesting folks, after which I had to make sure I pulled my manager and a colleague out of the dinner to make sure the meeting I spent 2 hours setting up in the morning takes place. We were already late and knew we would only get 20 minutes, but gladly, the event had just begun. We all decided to walk back to our hotel rooms for an hour and talked a lot in the process.
Wednesday: Morning Sessions and then had a PD meeting again with my manager and Chief Product Officer. Had lunch, met some more people, and solved some fundamental problems for some folks after lunch. For some reason, the person thought I worked for AWS. But I had to run to the Encore Towers for a CloudFront meeting with AWS and one of their principal engineers. After that, I ran again to my hotel room, showered, and went off to an AWS event which was meh, could barely hear anyone. After that, I had to attend again an NS1 exec dinner where I met the head of the cloud at dropbox. We had a fascinating conversation about tech, blockchain, crypto, Russia, and my favorite author, Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Thursday: Had a 10k run with my manager at an avg pace of 8:07 minute mile. After which, we had our company all-hands, showered, and then I headed out to eat lunch. I came back and slept like a baby. I averaged 5/6 hours of daily sleep, so I had to recoup somehow. Met the person who needed architecting his aws infra again, after which I had to run for dinner again with my team and our AWS rep. We went to AWS re: Play after that; it was okay.
Friday: Woke up, showered, packed bags, airport, breakfast, flight, home, ate, slept. I slept at 1:00 am and woke up the following evening at 6:30 pm. That was insane as I was due to recover my sleep debt.
Note: In all those dinners, I felt guilty of having those $600-$700 steak dinners, but the most interesting people I met were also found there. But more interesting thing is, the best food I had every single day without fail was at Planet Hollywood at Earl of Sandwich. It was the Chipotle Chicken Avocado sandwich which cost me $8. Irony.