2013-01-17

A visit to Amazon's AWS re: Invent conference

Last November I was in Las Vegas giving a talk at a conference that happened to be at the same time as Amazon's AWS re: Invent conference. It's not often I'd get a chance to hear Jeff Bezos speak in person so I was determined to make my way over to see what was up.

Some observations:
  • Overheard someone say, "Amazon budgeted for 1200, told vendors 2000, and 6400 people showed up." If you were keeping track of the live stream views, it hit 13k+
  • If the vendor floor size and number of booths was an indicator of how sprawling and established the ecosystem of AWS products and partners is, then I'd say they've easily captured the attention of vendors and customers by a large margin (but we all knew that already, right?)
  • Super high concentration of big name talent in one place was pretty awesome
  • Competitors sent people to scope things out among other things. Lots of Googlers, Microsoft people, etc.
  • No one was talking about competitors, let alone comparing them (save the S3 vs Google Cloud Storage price war that was happening during the conference)
  • Some notable tidbits from the Bezos "fireside chat" with CTO Werner Vogels:
    • All upper executives at Amazon take 2 full days of customer training in the trenches every other year.
    • Invest in "flywheels" -- things that are NOT going to change. In retail these things are: price, speed, selection. If you're in retail then you've got to see the talk for yourself to understand the description of this. Consider it mandatory; know you competitor.
    • Watch the talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4MtQGRIIuA
Below are some photos I managed to take while I was there.