Community in the virtual world

June 5, 2020

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Despite the difficulties we’ve all experienced during this pandemic, it has been fascinating to watch how human beings have come together as communities all over the world to support each other, and our Cloud Native community is no different. It was incredible to be part of the collaboration between D2iQ and Container Solutions in bringing the Cloud Native Virtual Summit to life, and wonderful to see how folks from across our ecosystem responded to offer up their time and resources to take part. These past few weeks have been stressful and difficult for all of us across the world, and to be able to take the opportunity to provide a service to our community, and at the same time raise money and awareness for vital relief work globally has been a genuine privilege. Over 5,000 people registered to attend the event, with over 2 million impressions on social media, and we raised over $6,000 for charities engaged in the fight against Covid19. Don’t worry if you were unable to attend; all of the sessions are available on-demand, here

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Tobi Knaup, our co-CEO, summed up his experience of the event:

“Events like KubeCon are highly anticipated by the entire community as a place to collaborate and learn about new and exciting innovations within the cloud native ecosystem. When KubeCon EU got postponed we didn’t want the community to lose this opportunity to connect, so we reached out to our partners and friends to see if we could put on a virtual event instead. We were blown away by the overwhelmingly positive responses and I want to personally thank everyone who helped make this event possible. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

The variety in the community content throughout the conference was amazing to see—especially considering the speed at which the event was compiled. The program committee really loved the diversity and broad perspective on our industry. From a fireside chat between Ben Hindman and Kelsey Hightower, discussing the history and future of container technologies, through Ann Currie’s fascinating insights into ethics and their relevance to technology, and talks covering pretty much all the hot topics in the industry right now including operators, CI/CD and observability, there really was something for everyone. I also particularly enjoyed the real world user stories, showing how cloud native is transformational for industries as diverse as transportation, banking and telecommunications.

As well as community speakers, we had wide representation across our entire cloud native partner ecosystem. We heard from AWS, Portworx, Containous, Alcide and over 30 other cloud native partner organizations. These organizations’ perspectives, on how cloud native and Kuberntes is transforming the way we work, was not only forward-facing but educational.

“D2iQ Virtual Summit was a great way to ‘meet’ and get involved with the K8s ecosystem.” - Karine Regev, VP Marketing, Alcide

“It’s inspiring to see our ecosystem of partners come together to deliver insightful content to the broader cloud native community. The breadth and depth of content and speakers highlight the tremendous amount of innovation occurring throughout the cloud native stack.” —Matt Buchwald, VP, Strategy, Corp Dev and Ecosystem, D2iQ

As we adjust to a world without physical gatherings for a while, there are lessons to be learned from this experience, especially around how we recreate the hallway tracks and informal communications that our community thrives on. I loved seeing how our audience spontaneously self-organised to provide a persistent chat experience in parallel with the main conference, which just proves that our very human urge to collaborate and organise in communities is alive and well. These virtual gatherings also give us a unique opportunity to share and collaborate across boundaries which are too often forgotten—our software communities now span the globe and across all parts of society—so financial circumstances, disabilities, and many other factors can make attending physical events difficult. Online communication channels have always had the power to bridge these divides, and perhaps we are only now starting to see a way forward to truly achieve that goal.

In the organising team, we all learned a lot from this experience, and from each other, and I’m excited to see how this feeds back into future events and the development of new ways of collaborating and sharing across our industry.

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