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Ant(on) Weiss for Otomato

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DevOpsCon Munich 2022 - Human Interactions that Matter

I'm at the Munich airport waiting for my flight home.
This is a cold, gloomy morning - a perfect time to introspect and retrospect.

The conference had the level of quality I've learned to expect from S&S Media. They organize a few international lines of events - DevOpsCon, Jax, Serverless Conference, etc. and they all rock. The Munich conference was 4 days total, but I only arrived on the 3rd day - to give my talk called "Resilience in Engineering... and Life" and then do my part in the advanced CI/CD workshop.

The talk was an experiment and a challenge I've imposed on myself. During the COVID-19 era I got so fed up with virtual talks and so hungry for true human interaction that I found myself unable to attend and enjoy even the regular conference talks. You know - those where the speaker tries to put on a show on stage while half the audience are on their phones and laptops.

So instead of just writing and rehearsing a talk as I would usually do - I decided to have an open conversation with the audience about resilience - technical and psychological. After all - resilience engineering is about what we do to continue operating in expected as well as unexpected conditions. So I've opened the tap of unexpected events and drank from it. And - from the get-go I encouraged my audience to get up close and personal and engage. And it all clicked! We talked about burnout and observability, about HA and emotional support, about entropy and growth. And how it's all components of one big socio-technical system. Probably my most important conference talk until now.

That night Sebastian Meyen - the chief content officer at S&S Media took the speakers out and I had a great, deep conversation with Zbynek Roubalik - one of the maintainers of both Knative and KEDA. He got me all excited about the GPTchat. I even tried to play with it that same night when I came back to the hotel. But I got bored after 20 minutes. It still feels like talking to a machine... I don't see the threat that everybody seems to talk about. I also still don't see the value it provides. Which for me would be the reduction of toil that goes into coding and content creation. But I'm optimistic - there's field for improvement!

And then came the workshop day. Thanks to Nir Koren for throwing this together. My part was about Progressive Delivery with Argo Rollouts. I believe I did a great job presenting the concept and the technology - complete with Traefik Ingress and Prometheus integration. Folks came up to me to say they enjoyed it and learned from it - what more do I need?

And again - the best part was the panel discussion on CI/CD topics that we did in the end. So again - there's nothing like open human conversation for making work better. If you're organizing a conference - take note. It's the human interactions that will make your event memorable and enjoyable.

Next week I'm teaching 2 Kubernetes classes. More human interactions for me. Life is great and full of meaning when you're focused on humans. That's how I always try to work. I don't always succeed, but I continue learning.

And I would like to finish this post with a great quote from Joseph Campbell which I recently found in Brene Brown's book:

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”

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