Giri Kuncoro · July 18, 2019

A Summer Summit Trifecta

While most people spend their summer traveling to exotic countries or sipping coconut water straight from its shell, I spent my midsummer days at a tech conference.

This was my second time attending and collaborating with Kubernetes Conference (KubeCon) in Shanghai. There was one thing that made the conference special. This time, the conference was co-located with Open Source Summit China as well, so we could see other speakers talking about non-Kubernetes and non-cloud native topics as well.

How I spent my summer might sound a bit unusual, but it was a fun and memorable experience for me. During the holidays, most people might collect souvenirs — for me, I collect memorable people. Well, that can be directly translated to opening up a tech network 😄

If you are super passionate about Kubernetes, cloud-native, and open source stuff, I would highly recommend at least attending, even if you are not speaking. The networking and collaboration opportunities with the folks from the community are truly endless, tons of amazing ideas could just spark out by talking and discussing along “the hallway” with various technical leads and contributors. Thus, the conference is famous for its “hallway track”.

You don’t believe me? Let me give you an example from last year’s conference. I have achieved three things from attending the KubeCon.

First, I learned that nobody had started Kubernetes/CloudNative community yet in Indonesia from the contributor summit event, but people in the local communities were very enthusiastic about it. So I talked to a couple of friends, and we started organizing a Kubernetes monthly meetup in Jakarta.

We started from 0 members in January, and in just 6 months, the community has grown into 1,400+ members. Now, we regularly organize Cloud Native Jakarta meetups and Kubernetes/Cloud Native in another other city as well.

Second, I made new friends that I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t come to the event, I found sponsors and I started to climb up the Kubernetes org’s ladder once I was accepted as a member.

I have been collaborating with some Kubernetes folks via Slack, but it was an amazing experience to actually meet and interact with them. Nothing beats a face to face convo, right?

Finally, I learned about the opportunity of becoming a CNCF Ambassador in Asia. So I tried to apply and luckily, I was accepted. Now I am the CNCF Ambassador for Indonesia.

I think it’s important to put Asia on the tech map. Especially in Southeast Asia, because it’s underrepresented and doesn’t have sufficient coverage. If you want to know more about the details of this program, you can see it here or catch me on twitter.

Since I had traveled hundreds of miles to Shanghai, I didn’t want to just sit back and only listen to talks & keynotes, because you can just open up their Youtube playlist to do that. However, I was involved in many surprise projects during my visit.

I volunteered to “guard” the Maintainers booth and answer all the questions from the Kube geeks about Kubernetes/CNCF projects. Interestingly, some of these Kube geeks sometimes only stopped by to ask for stickers (and we all know where those stickers will land: on their computers :p).

During that day, I also had the idea to organize cloud-native conference called “cloud-native day” in Indonesia, that seems fun!

Remember when I said I collect memorable people at Kubecon? This is one of the real proof. When I went to the Docs Contributor summit, I had great discussions with friends from SIG Docs and the Chinese localization team. We aspire to solve several issues.

My friend and I are running the Indonesian localization effort for the Kubernetes docs. Within 2 months, we have translated almost 40 pages of Kubernetes docs from 16 contributors during the first milestone. We are very open if you are interested in helping us out!

Read our second milestone and we’ll be very happy if you want to contribute. Together I believe we can make an impact in decreasing the language barrier in the entry path for a new Kubernetes contributor.

Finally, I had a chance to be interviewed by Kim McMahon from CNCF for Meet the Ambassador series. During the interview, I talked about what GOJEK is, how we are very serious in building the local tech communities, and contribute back to the communities. This will be on Youtube, I will notify you when it’s published, please stay tuned!

At this point, probably some of you are interested to attend the next KubeCon. But maybe some of you are wondering how can you travel there without spending a penny, but of course, it’s not because Scotty will beam you up there :p

For me, I got fully funded by CNCF as part of the Ambassador program. However, there are other options that you can explore:

  • You can apply for the Diversity Scholarship. CNCF spends a lot of money for underrepresented groups. I went to the conference with my friend from Indonesia who got this.
  • You can apply for Linux Foundation travel fund. I’m going to Open Source Summit Japan with a friend who got funds from this program.
  • KubeCon has always been a great learning experience and an amazing adventure for me. GOJEK has consistently encouraged engineers to speak and attend tech conferences and local meetups.

    We also went to KubeCon Barcelona and participated as speakers in three talks. The topics that we brought were:

  • Benchmarking Cloud-Native Databases
  • Learnings from Kubernetes Migration
  • Lessons from Kubeflow
  • You can just click the link if you’re curious and want to learn more about Kubernetes.

    And, just like last year, I plan to realize several initiatives after the conference, they are:

  • Drafting out a plan for organizing Cloud Native Day in Jakarta next year.
  • I recently got accepted as part of the Kubernetes 1.16 Release Team, and I will share lots of stuff I learned from this opportunity.
  • Onboard more new contributors from Indonesia, by promoting the Docs project and “auto-scale” new meetups in other cities. Catch me on Twitter if you are interested in helping out in your city.

I will definitely come again to KubeCon to collect more memorable people and gain new knowledge, I also hope to make more friends and collaborate with you in the tech community!

Cheers, Giri Kuncoro CNCF Ambassador

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