For many people, Red Hat Summit is an annual ritual. A chance once again to catch up on Red Hat’s plans for the year, learn about new technologies, see colleagues and friends, and make new acquaintances. They’ve got the routine down, and are ready to get the most out of Summit from start to finish. New to Red Hat Summit? We want to help you do the same - so read on for some tips to help you get the most out of your first time joining us at Summit. Also puppies.

What you can get out of Red Hat Summit

When you think of tech conferences, you likely think of keynotes and sessions. But Red Hat Summit offers a lot more than that - so the first order of business is to expand your expectations a bit.

I often look at the “hallway” track as one of the most important tracks at any event. That’s definitely the case at Red Hat Summit, where you can meet some of the developers working on products you use today as well as technologies that may be important tomorrow or a few years from now. There’s a lot of brain power gathering at Summit. Take the opportunity to meet Red Hatters, customers and partners who can share their experiences with you.

Summit draws all sorts of folks from around the world. Lots of sys admins, developers, IT architects, IT managers, and even a number of C-level executives. Many opportunities to find out how others are solving problems like yours.

Make a plan and prioritize

The first tech conference I went to, I missed out on a few activities and interactions because I just skimmed the talks schedule and didn’t really have a plan or look into all activities beyond talks. There’s so much to do at Red Hat Summit, you’ll want to make a plan to help squeeze in all the activities, sessions, and conversations you want to have while you’re at Summit.

First order of business, make sure you use our Agenda Builder to sign up for the sessions you really don’t want to miss. There’s plenty of room in all the general sessions, but breakouts can and do fill up. If there’s a session that is of great interest to you, don’t wait to sign up -- you might find that it’s full up.

You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the overall agenda and make sure that you have a handle on start/stop times, and when you have time to check out the Ecosystem Expo, which evening activities you want to attend, and so on.

If there’s a person you’re trying to talk to at Summit? Try to nail down a time and have a plan to go grab coffee in the Hat Rack Cafe, Recharge Bar, or wherever a little outside the flow of traffic. From past experience I can tell you that winging it often results in never quite connecting at the event.

Planning to ask questions about our products and technologies? Again, make a plan to head to the Ecosystem Expo and find the Red Hat Booth and Customer Success Zone. And don’t miss the DevZone if you are an application developer, and Community Central to learn more about upstream communities that are used in Red Hat’s products.

Next, head to the Feedback Zone to get your hands on what’s new and up-and-coming. Our UX design teams will be on the hunt for participants to provide ideas and opinions on a variety of product demos and usability tests, so don't be shy! Go say hi.

Things you won’t want to miss

Hey, remember that bit about puppies? Well, you can expand your pawsabliities at the Puppy Pen in the Expo Hall across from Demo Village. The pups at Summit are even adoptable, so you might be able to take home a fuzzy friend in addition to a bunch of new knowledge.

Around and about Red Hat Summit

In addition to Summit proper, there are a number of activities around and about Red Hat Summit that you way want to attend as well.

For example, we have the OpenShift Commons Gathering on Monday starting at 8 a.m. at the Westin Hotel Waterfront Pavilion.

Want to stretch your legs a lot? There’s the Red Hat Summit 2019 5K and Fun Run on Wednesday morning from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. starting at the Boston Common at 139 Tremont Street.

The Red Hat Women’s Leadership Community Luncheon is at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday in the BCEC’s ML2 West. Join us on Wednesday to celebrate the contributions that women make to technology.

First timer’s reception

Finally, if this is your first time to Summit, please join us for the first timer’s reception on Monday, May 6 in  Room 210B on Level 2 of the BCEC. This is a chance to meet up with other folks attending Summit for the first time, as well as some friendly faces from Red Hat who would be happy to answer questions to help you get your Summit experience off to a great start. Added bonus, there’ll be food and drinks as well.

Still deciding? If you haven’t signed up for Summit yet, there’s still time - and if you use the RHBLOG19 code, you’ll save $100 off the regular registration price. (Can’t be combined with other offers.) You won’t want to miss out, so register today and we can’t wait to meet you May 7 in Boston!

About the author

Joe Brockmeier is the editorial director of the Red Hat Blog. He also acts as Vice President of Marketing & Publicity for the Apache Software Foundation.

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