#149 May 6, 2021

Putting on a KubeCon, with Colleen Mickey

Hosts: Craig Box, Janet Kuo

A small army of community volunteers is necessary to host a KubeCon, but behind them is a professional events team. Colleen Mickey is Director of Event Services at the Linux Foundation and is responsible for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, as well as other events like Hyperledger Global Forum and cdCon. She talks to us about hosting, feeding and watering 10,000 people, as well as the change to virtual events.

We also bring the round-up of the KubeCon news, including our famous Lightning Round.

Do you have something cool to share? Some questions? Let us know:

Chatter of the week

News of the week

Lightning round

CRAIG BOX: Hi, and welcome to the "Kubernetes Podcast" from Google KubeCon extravaganza. I'm Craig Box, with my very special guest host Janet Kuo.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

CRAIG BOX: It's the week of a KubeCon, so who better to invite back as a guest host than a previous KubeCon co-chair. So welcome back to the show, Janet.

JANET KUO: Hi, thanks for having me. I'm very happy to be back here.

CRAIG BOX: We last spoke in November 2018. It was just before KubeCon in Shanghai. We were together in Shanghai to do that recording, if I remember rightly.

JANET KUO: Yeah, that's correct.

CRAIG BOX: Wasn't it fun to be able to go places?

JANET KUO: Yeah, I miss those old days when we can still travel.

CRAIG BOX: Well, we'll be back there soon enough. But do you have any memories of your time as the co-chair for the KubeCon events around that time?

JANET KUO: Yeah, it was amazing to see all the people in person and also reviewing all the different talks and different ideas when doing the co-chairing work. It was exciting.

CRAIG BOX: Today, we're talking to the team at the CNCF and the Linux Foundation, who actually put the event together. What kind of interaction did you have with them as the co-chair?

JANET KUO: The CNCF staff helps with a lot of organizing logistics and figuring out the venue and planning. And I just need to worry about the content and meeting with the speakers.

CRAIG BOX: How do you think your job might have been different if we'd been virtual back then?

JANET KUO: I think it will be a lot more challenging to have discussions with people in person and rehearsing with each others. But I think we all get it through. We are all adapting this new world for working and interacting remotely.

CRAIG BOX: Having done that, I will say that there is something to be said for standing on the keynote stage and looking out across thousands of people that-- the people who are doing keynotes on the virtual events, they don't have that experience. And that must be a bit of a shame for them.

JANET KUO: Yeah, I really wish we can go back to normal again soon so that people can get in touch with each other.

CRAIG BOX: Before that, there's a lot to cover this week. So let's get to the news.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

CRAIG BOX: New Relic acquired Pixie Labs in December and this week announced that they were open sourcing Pixie's eBPF-based observability tool and proposing it to the CNCF. New Relic has become a platinum member of the CNCF, with Pixie's founder Zain Asgar joining the governing board. They also announced their commitment to OpenTelemetry as the instrumentation standard going forward.

JANET KUO: Also being open sourced is StackRox, acquired by Red Hat in January. Consistent with Red Hat's history of open sourcing their acquisitions, a new StackRox.io site has been launched. This community will host the StackRox code when the lawyers sign off, and they will act as an upstream for Red Hat's advanced cluster security for Kubernetes.

Also generally available from Red Hat are OpenShift pipelines and OpenShift GitOps based on Tekton and Argo, respectively.

CRAIG BOX: A new state of cloud native application security report from Snyk highlights an increase in security concerns and incidents after companies adopt cloud native technology. Highlights from their research showed that more than half of companies surveyed experienced an incident due to a misconfiguration or a known vulnerability in their cloud native apps. Deployment teams are increasingly starting to view security as their responsibility, rather than something another team manages. And deploying automation makes it 17 times more likely that security tests are run frequently.

JANET KUO: The Open Container Initiative has announced that distribution specification has reached version 1.0. Launched in April 2018 to standardize container image distribution, the spec was based on the Docker Registry API for pushing and pulling of container images. It joins runtime and image format specs that define what it means to be a container.

CRAIG BOX: The Prometheus project is introducing a conformance program to certify component compliance and compatibility. Similar to the certified Kubernetes program, there will be compliance tests for three components at launch. The query language PromQL, remote read and write, and open metrics. More components and tests will be added over time.

JANET KUO: Six new projects have been approved for the CNCF sandbox-- Vineyard, an in-memory immutable data manager.

CRAIG BOX: WasmEdge runtime, a WebAssembly virtual machine for Cloud, AI, and blockchain applications.

JANET KUO: ChaosBlade, an open source version of Alibaba's ChaosTools.

CRAIG BOX: Fluid, a data and storage abstraction for AI and cloud native applications.

JANET KUO: Submariner, a cross cluster overlay for overlay networks.

CRAIG BOX: And Antrea, a Kubernetes CNI plugin we covered in episode 128.

JANET KUO: As organizers of KubCon and CloudNativeCon, the CNCF made a number of announcements at the event. The results of an edge survey showed that Kubernetes is popular with edge devices, especially in manufacturing and IoT use cases. If you want to learn more about the space, the CNCF has launched a free Kubernetes on edge training, built by Alex Ellis, our guest in episode 116.

CRAIG BOX: The CNCF's inclusive naming initiative received an honorable mention in "Fast Company's" 2021 world changing ideas awards. It also received a mention in a recent "New York Times" article on removing offensive terminology from software, along with a picture of Stephen Augustus, conference co-chair and episode 130 guests, looking dapper in a cardigan.

JANET KUO: Congratulations to Spotify for winning the CNCF top-end user award. In recognition of its notable contributions to the cloud native ecosystem, learn about Spotify's journey to cloud native in episode 50, and their new project Backstage in episode 136.

CRAIG BOX: And now it's time for the famous Kubernetes Podcast from Google KubeCon lightning round.

JANET KUO: Accuknox secured $4.6 million in seed funding for its zero-trust runtime Kubernetes security platform powered by Cube Armor.

CRAIG BOX: Accurics announced that their Terrascan project now integrates with Ago CD.

JANET KUO: Ambassador introduced a new developer control plan to simplify the code ship run loop, integrating all their other tools.

CRAIG BOX: Armory introduced a new mini-Spinnaker installation called Minnaker built on K3s, the quicker deployment of the deployment tool.

JANET KUO: Arrikto announced MiniKF 1.3 and support for its enterprise cube flow for Azure, rounding out the top three clouds.

CRAIG BOX: Avesha launched the smart application cloud framework for load-balancing microservices.

JANET KUO: Bridgecrew published the top trends from analyzing the security postures of open source Helm charts with their check-off tool.

CRAIG BOX: CAST AI announced the launch of an optimizer for Amazon EKS costs.

JANET KUO: Civo launched a production-ready K3s as a service to early adopters.

CRAIG BOX: Cloudical introduced version 1.8 of the VanillaStack platform, including a new workload manager based on Cloud Foundry project Stratos.

JANET KUO: DataStax announced that Cassandra now runs on any Kubernetes distribution with k8ssandra, including specific optimizations for the big three clouds.

CRAIG BOX: Dynatrace added the ability to ingest OpenTelemetry traces.

JANET KUO: HAProxy launched version 1.6 of their Kubernetes ingress controller with improvements to configuration and routing.

CRAIG BOX: Kasten added ransomware protection with version 4.0 of K10.

JANET KUO: Kubermatic Kubernetes Platform 2.17 added backup and restore controllers for etcd, the Multus CNI, and UI for Open Policy Agent integration.

CRAIG BOX: Kubernative says that KubeOps has evolved into a full-fledged Managed Kubernetes Framework.

JANET KUO: Netdata has added Kubernetes monitoring features to their cloud service.

CRAIG BOX: Nirmata announced Nirmata policy manager based on their open-source Kyverno policy software.

JANET KUO: OpenNebula released a new K3s virtual appliance for running edge clouds.

CRAIG BOX: Portainer raised six million in the Series A round to accelerate the global expansion.

JANET KUO: PortWorx preannounced PX-Backup 2.0 with support for external auth services.

CRAIG BOX: Rancher launched a new Rancher desktop tool in Alpha for Windows and Mac.

JANET KUO: Rafay launched new features to its Kubernetes Management Cloud, including zero-trust security standardization and automation capabilities.

CRAIG BOX: Splunk announced their observability cloud is generally available based on OpenTelemetry.

JANET KUO: Stack has announced a Kubernetes-centric operations center offering SRE playbooks and automated diagnostics.

CRAIG BOX: StorageOS version 2.4 brings encryption at rest and rapid application recovery.

JANET KUO: StormForge introduced automatic scanning of in-cluster resources and guided walkthroughs for optimizing applications.

CRAIG BOX: StreamNative open-sourced Function Mesh for running Apache Pulsar functions on Kubernetes.

JANET KUO: Sysdig added runtime detection and response for AWS Fargate.

CRAIG BOX: Tigera released Calico Enterprise 3.5 with a Mesh-inspired dynamic service graph and an eBPF data plane.

JANET KUO: Timescale raised a $40 million Series B for its Postgres-based time series database and Prometheus cloud products.

CRAIG BOX: Trillio announced Kubernetes backup monitoring for Velero users.

JANET KUO: Vitess launched version 10 with support for the Ruby on Rails framework.

CRAIG BOX: Wanclouds launched multi-cloud disaster recovery as a service.

JANET KUO: Weaveworks launched Weave Kubernetes Platform 2.5 with a new multi-cluster observability platform.

JANET KUO: And lastly this time, because Zerto didn't have any news, this week, Zebrium will now automatically perform root cause analysis with integration into Opsgenie.

That's the Lightning Round, and that's the news.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

CRAIG BOX: Colleen Mickey is the event services director for the Linux Foundation, overseeing events such as KubeCon and CloudNativeCon, the Hyperledger Global Forum, and cdCon. Welcome to the show, Colleen.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Thank you. Happy to be here.

CRAIG BOX: The week of a KubeCon, we normally speak to one of the program co-chairs. They're the community representatives who put the program together. They do that within the constraints of an event, whether it's a physical or virtual event. And you oversee the team at the Linux Foundation who put those constraints together. Can we start by talking a little bit about your background? You've been 15 years in the event management industry. How did you get started?

COLLEEN MICKEY: I got started with nonprofits. I was taking part in nonprofit volunteering. I thought people that were doing the events looked like they were having fun, so I decided to see if I could get a job. I did. As my career went on, I got into larger events and started doing bigger trade shows and conferences, similar to how large KubeCon is.

CRAIG BOX: Technically, you're back at a nonprofit now?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Technically, I am. Yes.

CRAIG BOX: But this is probably quite a lot larger than some of the vendors in the space.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Yes, I mean, I worked for for-profit companies on GDC and large events like that. So I am familiar with it all, but being back in the non-profit space in different ways is great.

CRAIG BOX: Some of the newer members of our community may not remember that KubeCon was initially a community event that was donated to the CNCF in much the same way that projects are. There was 600 people the inaugural KubeCon in San Francisco in 2015. Tell me a little bit about the growth of KubeCon as a concept since then.

COLLEEN MICKEY: It has grown significantly since then. We will have over 25,000 attendees for KubeCon, CloudNativeCo, eVirtual. And our in-person events, previously, if we had been able to be in person this year, we probably would have had between 15,000 to 18,000 is what we'd hoped.

CRAIG BOX: Is it the largest conference the Linux Foundation runs?

COLLEEN MICKEY: It is, yes.

CRAIG BOX: How far is it from the largest tech conference in the world?

COLLEEN MICKEY: It's a little bit hard to say. I'd say MWC is over 100,000. CES is maybe around 180,000.

CRAIG BOX: It's the kind of scale where you bring a cruise ship in to give people enough hotel rooms?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Actually, to reinforce the Salesforce event, they do bring cruise ships in as additional hotel rooms.

CRAIG BOX: Not this year, they don't.

[LAUGHTER]

COLLEEN MICKEY: No, no. But in the past.

CRAIG BOX: Just for expediency sake, throughout this, I'm probably just going to say KubeCon, but the full name of the event is obviously KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, or KCCNC. When did you first get involved with KCCNC?

COLLEEN MICKEY: I started with the Linux Foundations. I started with KubeCon, CloudNativeCon in September of 2017.

CRAIG BOX: Which was the first event that you were involved with?

COLLEEN MICKEY: In North America, that in Austin, the year where it snowed. And it never snows in Austin.

CRAIG BOX: Yes, I heard people were worried about flying back and finding that their roofs have caved in. I was at that event and I do remember it was quite a surprise. That's not what they tell us that Texas weather's meant to be like. How do you decide which to host an event like that?

COLLEEN MICKEY: There are a lot of different factors that go into it. For example, if we had been able to have North America in person in 2020, it would have been in Boston to offset having it been on the West Coast for a couple of years. With such a large event, I mean, even just our attendee party is-- you and many of your listeners might know-- are huge.

We rented Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and booked the whole street, Rainey Street, in Austin, Texas. So that's a big part of it, too, like can the city actually host the large size events that we need, even beyond the actual conference but for all the attendee party, and things like that.

CRAIG BOX: How many cities in North America, for example, are candidates?

COLLEEN MICKEY: I'd say we usually look at tier one, tier two cities. And that's probably 10 to 15.

CRAIG BOX: The event's been in Seattle a couple of times now. Do you look where the people who want to attend the event come from and where the companies are based as part of the equation, or are you constantly looking for new places?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Given the size of the event, we only have a few areas that we can look at. It also depends on availability and cost overall. Some larger events, if they stay in the same city, they'll book for years ahead of time. So it'd be a little bit harder to find in the larger cities.

CRAIG BOX: Do you have any stories from in-person events? Do you have a favorite of the ones you've been there so far?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Honestly, my favorite is the Austin event. We had to send a bunch of the team to Target to get hats and gloves, and we had all these bands that were going to be performing outside, and outdoor bars that had no inside whatsoever. And we thought it might be a disaster. We had to cancel the pedicabs that were supposed to bring people from the hotels to the bars.

But it ended up being great. All the bars were packed. People were singing karaoke till we closed the bar down. No one got injured. It was actually a great time. It was really successful.

CRAIG BOX: Yes, I remembered there was some very good barbecue in Austin. I also remember going and trying to go to some of those street party events thinking, yeah, it's cold out.

[LAUGHTER]

It's a nice warm hotel. It's a tough trade. What are the things that you need to scale as the events scale, and how do you make sure you maintain the quality of the event and the venue, specifically, as the events grow bigger?

COLLEEN MICKEY: There's a lot of things do take into account with that one when you're actually scaling, obviously, depending on the venue, the relationship with the venue and working with them really well. Food and beverage is obviously a huge thing. How are you going to feed 10,000 people at once? And deciding which different areas so people aren't walking a mile. If there are sessions on both sides, can we set up locations where lunch can be served in multiple places? I'll say for Barcelona and for San Diego, it was all staff on deck giving directions of telling where people to go to eat lunch, and radioing, like, we're out of this over here, out of that over there.

One of the other things, too, is just deciding on how you name things. And things like when you're in a larger venue, it might be really fun to call it the Rose Garden. But they're looking for exhibit A and if they're just looking for the Rose Garden, it's going to be much harder. So things like that, you lose a little bit of the personal touch.

CRAIG BOX: You do sometimes hear with some and some venues, especially in the US, that there are union requirements. How much of what you do is dictated by the venue that you operate in and how much are you able to say, well, hey, I want to bring in this kind of food, for example?

COLLEEN MICKEY: A lot of the venues do have vendors that they are contracted with and we cannot go beyond that contract. Some are more flexible, given the amount of food that we need to bring in, which is great. The unions are mostly focused on a lot of the AV things and a lot of the bringing in the sponsor things to actually set it up and whatnot. We have to follow all those rules. There's not much negotiation. We need to bring in additional staff. We have to pay for shadows for the union and stuff. And that's another thing that goes into when we're choosing the city and the venue because that can get very costly.

CRAIG BOX: Is a crowd with 10,000 Kubernetes nerds easier or harder than average to put a show on for?

[LAUGHTER]

COLLEEN MICKEY: I think that when you get to 10,000, it's the herd, and it doesn't necessarily matter why they're there. We can put as many signs out as they want, but everyone's going to follow the person in front of them.

CRAIG BOX: At least it's not difficult. They're not trying to find holes and everything and have all the measures.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Yeah, exactly.

CRAIG BOX: Does the event industry consider the environmental impacts of in-person events? Google, for example, offsets the carbon emissions for a flight I would take to a KubeCon and indeed, the Linux Foundation has started a climate finance foundation subproject. So it's something that's top of everyone's mind, but how does the industry as a whole deal with it?

COLLEEN MICKEY: I think it is something that is very top of mind for a lot of people in the industry. Some venues, cities, are a lot more welcoming to that, have recycling programs in place, have very good recycling programs put in place where people are automatically separating things out, recycling things that are coming from the sponsors and whatnot.

Some actually ask to limit the amount of waste that you bring in, like don't tell them to bring in 10,000 copies of whatever they're giving away at their booth. Lessen than the amount of waste that you're bringing. Some are really great about having compostable packaging and things like that. We definitely try to be as green as we can, but it is a challenge with larger events.

CRAIG BOX: I remember, but I can't remember where it was, there was one venue that said no stickers, for example.

COLLEEN MICKEY: That's mostly because they don't want to scrape them off the floor and the walls.

[LAUGHTER]

CRAIG BOX: Fair enough. One of the ways that these events are financed is through sponsorships, and there are a certain number of sponsors available at particular tiers. Something people may not know is that there are only, for example, six sponsors at the top tier, which I can never remember the name of. It's diamond or platinum or something, whatever the most expensive of the metals is.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Diamond.

CRAIG BOX: Why is that done as a lottery? Why don't you say, hey, people are lining up to pay for that. Why don't you open that up to everyone who wants to participate?

COLLEEN MICKEY: For the diamond in particular, they get within their sponsorship a 30-by-30 booth and a 5-minute keynote slot. There's only so much of that space on the actual show floor and so much of that time on the actual keynote stage. So that's why it's limited to six. The lottery is an opportunity to be fair and allow companies and new members to get a chance to be a diamond sponsor--

CRAIG BOX: Right.

COLLEEN MICKEY: --in an effort to be inclusive of new members. And it goes in a path of, the platinum members have first pick members, gold members, other members, et cetera.

CRAIG BOX: You mentioned inclusivity there. Both the Linux Foundation and the Kubernetes community in general have goals to improve the inclusivity of the industry and the diversity of the community. How does your team express that through these events?

COLLEEN MICKEY: So we're very cognizant of that with all of our content, ensuring that all of our speakers and keynote speakers, especially, that there is diversity there. We have a lot of other initiatives, child daycare, making sure that our bathrooms were non-binary and things like that. For virtual and for in-person, we have scholarships. So if someone can't afford the fee, we are able to subsidize that, as well as if it was in person, the travel and hotel and whatnot.

CRAIG BOX: You mentioned the bathrooms there. Is that something that you see that as organizations such as yourselves are leading the way on asking venues for certain things that it's getting to the point where the venues are just providing them and you're not having to reallocate them yourself?

COLLEEN MICKEY: San Francisco is probably more expected of something like that. But I think that there are some cities/venues that are not there yet.

CRAIG BOX: You're one of the people responsible for the code of conduct at these events. If someone has a violation they want to report or someone they need to talk to, your name and phone number are on the list. I imagine that can be pretty harrowing.

COLLEEN MICKEY: It's been different with the virtual events because usually in person, it's an in-person altercation, and you have a conversation. For virtual, it's been more just comments that people have made on different side channels or chats, or maybe images that they've posted that have been inappropriate. I'd say we were worried a lot about the amount of code of conduct issues that we could have going into this, but it has not been bad at all. It's been really great.

CRAIG BOX: We're talking now about the transition to virtual events. Tell me, what happened on your team when COVID first hit, everything shut down, and there was the feeling that you weren't going to be able to hold events in the way that you used to.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Well, like everybody else, we didn't really think that this was going to disrupt everything for over a year.

[LAUGHTER]

We thought it would be much more short-term. I was physically in Phoenix for Hyperledger Global Forum, on my way to California for another event when that event got canceled. And then we all came home and we just started getting virtual platforms immediately. The team was absolutely great. Everyone just was able to adapt really well and everyone learned these virtual platforms, and we actually end up having a pretty busy year with all the events we did.

CRAIG BOX: You've actually picked a different virtual platform for the current KubeCon than the one you used for the previous events. What was the decision behind the change? And are you finding the industry evolving what people need from virtual platforms as we've spent so long doing online events?

COLLEEN MICKEY: So a lot of the platforms have evolved a lot since we first looked at them in April of 2020. They've pivoted into much larger platforms. Some of them started as apps and then turned into platforms. Some of them gotten insane VC funding and have just blown up.

CRAIG BOX: Are we hosting things in Minecraft yet?

COLLEEN MICKEY: [LAUGHS] Not yet, but it's been brought up before, for sure. The decision to change the platform that we had had is, they made changes on their platform, as I said, a lot of these have, and then there were some changes in the organization, and it just wasn't as streamlined as we wanted. So now we are using MeetingPlay for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU, and Hopin for some of our CNCF co-los, and we're excited to be working with both of them.

CRAIG BOX: Is there a point where you are organizing events at such a scale that it makes it worth investing in something bespoke?

COLLEEN MICKEY: We've thought about that, but I don't think that long-term that would be the best decision.

CRAIG BOX: People detach when they're at a conference. They have flown somewhere. They're staying in a hotel. They have all their time available to this. When they're working from home, it's very different. The family are around. The responsibilities for a day job may still be there. How do you make the event compelling to attend from home?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Yes. It is definitely a different experience. You don't have people's attention for a week when they're away from home. I think one of the first things of feedback that we really got back after starting to do virtual events was we need breaks. We need breaks to check our emails still. We need breaks to make breakfast or maybe breaks to check in on our kids, that kind of thing. Not that we didn't have them, but I think that it was like, oh, everyone's just kind of sitting around their computer. They just want to get through it, but yeah.

So I think in that and just realizing, I think that initially, when we started doing virtual events, let's make it like it's live. Let's make it like we're there. And then I think it transformed into, let's remember we're doing a virtual event and we can change the rules a little bit. Make it be more adaptable to what's actually going on in people's lives.

CRAIG BOX: One way that I haven't really seen the events adapt is they still have roughly the same number of sessions and tracks as a physical event would. Physical events are bounded by the amount of space that you have, the number of rooms, the number of people who can be in the rooms. That's presumably not a concern with a virtual event. Why not go super wide?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Although it is "virtual," quote, unquote, there are still parameters that cannot be changed. Some of these platforms cannot have finite amount of tracks going on at one time. Even though it is virtual, there are still people behind it. We have moderators each session checking for code of conduct violations, chatting with the speaker to make sure that they're ready for their Q&A. We don't, unfortunately, have a finite amount of staff to staff that, nor do any of the platforms have that to help us either.

CRAIG BOX: Last year's KubeCon EU event was mostly in the US time zone. This year, you've actually moved to a European time zone. And on behalf of someone in Britain, thank you. But can you tell me how you came to both of those decisions, given especially that a lot of the community-- and if it's not the general attendees, it's the speakers and vendors and sponsors-- are consolidated around the US and they may find it a little hard to attend early this time?

COLLEEN MICKEY: So we did decide to change the times based on feedback from Europe last year. So you're welcome.

[LAUGHTER]

Initially, when we were doing, we were also trying to figure out staffing and whatnot. Like, a lot of our staff is working 3:30 in the morning, midnight, to make sure that this event was happening, so we were kind of trying to balance that. Even though it is virtual in a sense, if we're keeping to the geographical location of North America or Europe, we want to obviously keep our time zones and whatnot aligned with that.

CRAIG BOX: Did you give any thought to it not being located geographically anymore, that there would just be two or three annual KubeCon everyones?

COLLEEN MICKEY: KubeCon didn't really think about doing that because I think just going forward, they know they're going to continue to have a North America and a Europe event. Other events did change their idea and do global events.

CRAIG BOX: Of course, you and I are talking to each other at KubeCon EU this week. What city are you in?

COLLEEN MICKEY: I'm in Brooklyn, New York.

CRAIG BOX: That's not what I asked.

[LAUGHTER]

This event was always arranged to be virtual. Had it had a physical component, where would it have been?

COLLEEN MICKEY: It would have been in Amsterdam.

CRAIG BOX: Is that not where last year's would have been as well?

COLLEEN MICKEY: We postponed 2020 to 2021, so it would have been in Amsterdam.

CRAIG BOX: Amsterdam would have to wait a few years to get back in the rotation.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Correct.

CRAIG BOX: The current plan for KubeCon North America is a hybrid with an online component and a physical component in Los Angeles. What do you think that will look like?

COLLEEN MICKEY: There is still a lot going on to figure that out. But what we want to ensure is that the people that are attending virtually feel like they are interacting with the people that are live at the same time. So talking to sponsors in real time, whether that's a scheduled time that they're actually speaking, whether it is a resume or another platform. Having attendees speak to people that are attending virtually, whether it's an event or another solution that we're figuring out there.

And then also just making sure they feel like they're a part of the content and the everyday event, being able to ask their questions in sessions and things like that. So all the solutions haven't been figured out, but there's a lot of ideas that are going around that we're going to try to make it as inclusive as possible.

CRAIG BOX: In-person events have a physical cap, limitations to the number of people who can actually attend. And as KubeCon and CloudNativeCon have got more popular, you've hit those limits. And one of the upsides of going remote is that the event is not only opened up to be able to attract more people, but also to people who could never have dreamed of going. Talk about someone in Nepal-- and I'll use that as an example because there's someone from Nepal who listens to the show and mailed in and I sent stickers to once.

But let's assume that someone has an internet connection but they don't have the means to spend a week abroad attending a conference. Some conferences have really taken it on board and they suggest that they will maintain some sort of online component in the future. But they are obviously giving a very different experience.

So the trade-off is, you might be giving an experience to 10 times the number of people, but it might not be as good as the in-person. What do you think the balance in the trade-off is between virtual and in-person, given the number of extra people you can attract?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Talking about the person in Nepal, hi. And we've definitely seen people that are unable to attend our live events attend our virtual events. And we love that. And we would like to keep that level of inclusivity. That's the whole idea of hybrid and what hybrid will look like moving forward, is making sure that anyone who cannot attend in person is still able to interact with the people that are in person on some level.

CRAIG BOX: Do you think that we will be back to a world with fully in-person early events?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Personally, I do, and I'm feeling much more hopeful about it. I think as people are starting to get vaccinated, some of the travel regulations are starting to be more relaxed. I don't know if the ones in near future will feel like normal events, but I'm hoping within a year or so, we're feeling like we're at more normal events.

CRAIG BOX: You mentioned before, there are only a certain number of international that have the infrastructure to host an event on the scale of a KubeCon. Of those applicable cities, which one would you most like to host an event in?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Personally, I think it'd be really fun to host an event in Paris.

CRAIG BOX: A popular choice.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Yes. I know we've also had a KubeCon in Berlin. I think that really fun to go back there.

CRAIG BOX: And if it was 100-person conference, if the constraints were completely different, where would you most like to host it?

COLLEEN MICKEY: My personal preference would be Iceland or Bali. Iceland's amazing and Bali just seems like that would be a lovely place to go.

CRAIG BOX: I've been trying to have my team do an off-site in Iceland. Somehow the fact that we have no staff and probably not a lot of business there, they seem to think that's a blocker for some reason. But it's a shame. There was a Go! conference in Iceland a few years ago, and everyone who went there talks very highly of it.

COLLEEN MICKEY: It's an amazing place.

CRAIG BOX: Having arranged events from the in-person scale now all the way up to many tens of thousands virtually, how do you maintain the vibe? Is it possible to maintain the vibe of those small events in the larger ones, do you think?

COLLEEN MICKEY: To some degree, yes. It depends on how strong the community is, to be honest, but I think that there are some things that you just never take away and they get larger and are changing. For example, just mentoring programs and different little meetup things that we have, like if that were to go away, people would wonder, what's happening with the event? You're getting too big, not paying attention to these smaller groups. I think it's just really important to keep the smaller gatherings that you had. And they might just get a little bit bigger as the event gets bigger.

CRAIG BOX: As the event has grown, there's been a lot of co-located days added onto the front of it. And not only that, there have been other conferences pop up in the same space in the days before, like the Cloud Native Rejekts Conference, for example. Do you take learnings from these in terms of the number of people who are interested and make changes to your own programs?

COLLEEN MICKEY: Yes and no. I'd say we're aware of all the co-los. And obviously there are a ton of just CNCF co-los that are internal. I think it's a great idea. The one thing about whether it's virtual or in-person is that you're just bringing a lot of people together at one time. And I think that all of these different projects and all these different offshoots of projects, that's the benefit of it. If we're able to contribute to the community in a larger way by allowing that to happen, I think that's wonderful. And we'll continue to foster that growth of those events.

CRAIG BOX: Thank you very much for joining us today, Colleen.

COLLEEN MICKEY: Thank you very much. It was great talking to you.

CRAIG BOX: You can find a link to Colleen on LinkedIn in the show notes, and you can find KubeCon, if you are not already at it, at kubecon.io.

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CRAIG BOX: Thank you very much, Janet, for helping out with the show today.

JANET KUO: Thank you for inviting me. I'm so happy to be here.

CRAIG BOX: It must be fun to be able to attend the KubeCon and not have to do all the running around, all the work.

JANET KUO: Yeah, that's so much fun.

CRAIG BOX: If you've enjoyed the show, please help us spread the word and tell a friend. If you have any feedback for us, you can find us on Twitter at KubernetesPod or reach us by email at kubernetespodcast@google.com.

JANET KUO: You can also check out the website at kubernetespodcast.com, where you'll find transcript and show notes, as well as links to subscribe.

CRAIG BOX: I'll be back with another guest host next week. So until then, thanks for listening.

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