Amazon Masters Sustainable Scaling at AWS re:Invent
Since its inception in 2012, re:Invent has grown more than 500 percent in size, leaping more than 60 percent in attendance from 2015 to 2016 alone. Maintaining that rate of growth without sacrificing results for customers requires sustainable scaling, which means adding value while executing flawlessly for more attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, breakouts, VIP events, entertainment, fun and ultimately, ROI. With final attendance at nearly 31,000, re:Invent 2016 shattered expectations, goals and records, and established Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a perennial powerhouse in the world of b-to-b events.
All of AWS’ decisions for the 2016 event revolved around growing attendance levels and engagement. On the expo floor, which is known as re:Invent Central and served as a conference hub, attractions increased attendee engagement and drove exhibitor attendance. An enormous 100-foot by 100-foot AWS booth anchored the space. A 40-foot by 50-foot Partner Theater offered attendees the chance to take in 15-minute technical and thought-leadership sessions delivered by AWS partners. Fun diversions included Mind Gamers: Mission Unlock Enoch, a Red Bull-sponsored game activation and a Developer Lounge that provided a chill-out space for connecting with fellow developers, getting hands-on with technology and the chance to relax and play games or participate in Dev Chats led by AWS experts.
On the content side, AWS added a half-day of sessions on the Monday before the official conference kick-off, supplying more content and learning opportunities for more attendees. In addition, breakout sessions included more in the way of lectures, demonstrations, guest speakers and deep dives into technology, customer stories, new product debriefs and recaps of particularly popular modules. Ten learning tracks covered topics such as databases, business apps, networking and mobile. The re:Source Mini-Con program offered the chance to dig into specific topics.
To accommodate more attendees, both on-site and virtually, the conference’s three keynotes delivered on three separate days were simultaneously broadcast to overflow areas and live-streamed to tens of thousands. Additional activities ranged from altruistic to competitive to good old-fashioned fun with a hackathon, a sponsored Gameday competition, a Security Jam as well as a pub crawl, a 5K foot race, a wing-eating challenge and a closing re:Play party.
For the conference, AWS added two Las Vegas venues to the re:Invent map, the Mirage Hotel and Encore Las Vegas, expanding beyond the Venetian, Sands Expo and LINQ parking lot, which required a content management system to handle hundreds of speaking and breakout sessions. A reserved seating system and a scheduling tool helped attendees find their way through it all. Indeed, AWS proved it had a strategy for growth. Thanks to sustainable scaling, re:Invent 2016 continued AWS’ winning streak.