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Sharing Some Lessons From Organizing the Cloud Foundry Summit 2021

The Cloud Foundry Summit 2021 is less than 2 weeks away! In this blog post, we just want to share some of our experiences as we are going through planning and preparation for our big annual event. 

Over the years, the Cloud Foundry Summit has taken place in some fantastic cities – Philly, Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego in the US and across several locations in Europe. Owing to the pandemic, much like several other tech events, the Cloud Foundry Summit has switched to being virtual this year, as it was in 2020 as well. 

In the run-up to the event, here are a list of things that we would like to share with those who are also preparing for hosting events for a community of technologists:


Lesson #1: Of The Community, By the Community, And For The Community

It is important to keep in mind that at technology events, filled with engineers to the brim, being sales-y == being sleazy! Allowing the community to coalesce around the content from start to finish can make a big difference.  All of the talks selected are by folks using or contributing to Cloud Foundry in some way. The speakers are all chosen by an independent assessment by a set of co-chairs, with zero influence from vendors. This allows the content to be most relatable with the audience. There are also Project Office Hours where the community interacts directly with contributors. In addition, the CF Summit also has talks by key members of the community — such as the Executive Director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Chairperson of the Technical Oversight Committee, and a Diversity Keynote as well.  


Lesson #2: Balance Between What Is, What Should, And What Could

At conferences, there are always a varied set of folks in attendance. This calls for demonstrating varied capabilities of the tech in focus too. Therefore, we have devised three simultaneous tracks – (a) In The Wild (b) How To and (c) Behind The Curtain. This has allowed us to curate talks that best illustrate various current scenarios with Cloud Foundry, showcase best practices, and also provide a taste of how Cloud Foundry can be extended and integrated in future. We are of the firm belief that this will stimulate our technical audience into thinking about Cloud Foundry in a complete and holistic manner.


Lesson #3: Learning, Learning, And More Learning

Personally, I believe that a lot of folks are gathered at a conference to learn something new. The rest of the Cloud Foundry team also shares this view. We strive to place maximum emphasis on opportunities to learn both at the conference, and after. Hands-on labs are a great opportunity to go through a guided experience of several Cloud Foundry projects live with key contributors available every step of the way. Panel discussions, Q&A sessions after each talk, hallway-like experiences to make connections, and optional vendor booth experiences allow all participants to interact with each other in an environment where learning – through many means – is prioritized.


Lesson #4: Catering To A Distributed Community

Our global community can enjoy the talks from the comfort of their homes and avoid planning travel, budgets, time off from family, and so many other details. Not having to worry about hotel arrangements, avoiding jet-lag, and consuming content that can fit into anyone’s personalized schedule is a great win with going virtual, and we can’t stress this enough.


Lesson #5: More Engineers Per Team Can Participate

It also affords an opportunity for teams to participate in larger numbers. In the past, teams have had to choose whom to send and then gather around notes and demos that came from an individual. With the present format, the Cloud Foundry Summit is more accessible to more participants within a team, business unit, or company. The availability of all the main presentations from the Summit afterwards helps in facilitating the discussions around adoption.


Thank You To Our Sponsors!

We appreciate the generosity of our sponsors VMware Tanzu, anynines, SAP, IBM Cloud, and Stark & Wayne who have made it possible to conduct the event this year. Also, special thanks to our Media Sponsor — The New Stack. And lest we forget, a hat tip to our member companies, who help keep the lights running at the Foundation all year long.


Register now!

If you have not registered yet, please do so at the link here. The Cloud Foundry Summit is scheduled for the 21st and 22nd of July. Here’s a link to the current agenda. There is a half-day Unconference on the 20th which you are welcome to be a part of as well. For any questions about the event, please reach via Twitter, Slack, or email ([email protected]).

Look forward to seeing you participate!

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Ram Iyengar, AUTHOR