Ricardo's experience at AWS re:Invent 2023

著者: Ricardo Ruiz Maldonado


投稿日: 2024年04月01日

  • Conference

I'd like to share my journey to AWS re:Invent 2023, a notable first for me in many ways.

This journey marked my first visit to the United States. Coming from Mexico, I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness about entering the country for the first time, especially since this was also my first time using my visa. Fortunately, everything went smoothly.

There's no direct flight from Tokyo to Las Vegas, so I had a short stopover in Denver. Immediately after disembarking at Harry Reid International Airport, you can feel that you're in Las Vegas; slot machines are everywhere, and the atmosphere is festive.

I arrived on Sunday, one day before the event started, and decided to get my badge at the airport to make things easier for the next day.

Slot machines inside the airport

I hadn't considered attending re:Invent until Sekiguchi-san proposed it. I'm really glad he did, since this turned out to be an incredible experience. However, booking a room at one of the AWS re:Invent hotels for the entire week proved impossible, so I had to switch hotels mid-week. My advice? Try to stay close to the main venues even if it costs a bit more. It's worth the extra expense for the convenience, and you'll be thankful for this decision by the end of the week.

On my first night in Las Vegas, I decided to explore the southern and central parts of the strip. The city's night-time vibe, with its dazzling lights and constant hustle, is truly impressive.

The sphere is the city's new must-see, so I was eager to check it out, planning to take the Monorail because I assumed it was free. However, I found out the Monorail service is only free during the event days. Since it was Sunday, I had to pay for my ticket. It turned out not to be a bad deal, as I got to see the sphere and use the Monorail to return to my hotel, which was located near the MGM Grand Monorail station.

The sphere at night from the monorail

Monday was intense, with so much to learn and explore. Before the event, I made sure to book as many sessions as possible. It's crucial to act fast when booking, as spots fill up quickly.

My first session took place at Mandalay Bay. I took advantage of the complimentary shuttle from the MGM Grand to get there. While the shuttles are incredibly convenient, it's important to remember their schedules can be affected by the day's traffic, leading to potential delays.

For any session you've booked, it's essential to arrive at least 10 minutes early, or you risk losing your spot. This can be tricky when you have back-to-back sessions. However, there's always the option to queue for any available seats. Unless it's an exceptionally popular session, you'll likely get in.

The venues are huge, so it can take some time to reach the room for your next session even in the same building.


Breakout sessions are the most common type, presenting in a lecture-style format that ranges from 30 to 60 minutes. Given their distribution across various venues, I recommend checking if they'll be streamed in the overflow rooms. This can be a great time-saver unless you're keen on interacting with the speaker directly.

Besides breakout sessions, I found other types equally engaging and worth mentioning.

  • Keynotes: Delivered by AWS executives, these sessions feature the grandest productions. While often used to announce the latest products or innovations, they're equally inspiring. A highlight for me was Dr. Werner Vogels' appearance, where he discussed best practices in designing resilient, cost-aware architectures. Interestingly, the day before his keynote, I met someone from Brazil at the Latinx at Amazon booth who praised Dr. Werner's keynote for its engineering focus. He was absolutely right. You can catch it here.

  • Chalk-talks: What I loved about these sessions was their interactivity. They're structured for 15 minutes of lecture followed by 45 minutes of active discussion. However, my experience was more of a continuous dialogue with the speakers throughout. The attendees are also knowledgeable, which enhances the overall experience. Interestingly, they actually use a digital chalkboard for explanations.

  • Workshop sessions: These require a computer. They begin with a brief introduction to a problem, followed by access to an AWS environment where you can work through instructions at no additional cost. Time is of the essence, so act quickly. AWS experts are on hand to answer questions or assist with any issues.

AWS re:Invent is an invaluable opportunity to grasp where the industry is heading and to discover innovative, efficient, and creative solutions to common problems.

My takeaways were substantial, especially in serverless computing, infrastructure management, and DevOps.

Not everything is about sessions.


Trying to absorb all the knowledge from your sessions on an empty stomach? Not ideal. Luckily, the event caters to all dietary needs with a vast selection of breakfast and lunch options. If you're pressed for time and need to dash to the next session, grab-and-go choices are a lifesaver. Personally, I opted for the vegan lunch box every time, which was so satisfying that I often saved the fruit for a later snack.

During the afternoons, snacks, coffee, and tea are provided, giving you that extra boost to end your sessions on a high note.

Mid afternoon snack

Expo & Swag

The expo kicks off Monday afternoon, showcasing booths from various companies. Most will scan your badge in exchange for listening to their product pitches and, often, hand out swag. Word to the wise: it's easy to amass a surprising amount of swag in just a short time. I've seen attendees with bags so full, it made me question whether all of it would ever be used.


After a week filled with learning (and honestly, a lot of walking between venues), AWS re:Play offers a fantastic way to unwind and celebrate. Held on Thursday night, it's an opportunity to dance, indulge in good food, and enjoy a variety of fun activities.

Official photo

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