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AWS re:Invent 2018: The Day 0 Buzz and Midnight Madness

November 26th, 2018


I arrived in Las Vegas from London via LAX yesterday, so a long time sitting in a plane. Thanksgiving weekend is actually a good weekend to travel as its quieter than normal. I caught up with none other than This Week in AWS host, Corey Quinn. I then stretched the legs and saw a show to stay up and adjust the body clock.

I slept reasonably well for being 8 hours out of sync, did a run to resync and clear the head then more than cancelled out any good will with a breakfast buffet, Vegas style! Lovely!


Registration was pretty simple, it was different from last year as its only at The Venetian and Aria hotels so you couldn’t register at a smaller venue. You can however register at the airport on arrivals at baggage reclaim which is a nice addition, if you’re arriving from today. Lot of people expected obviously and it looks like so far the Amazon People Queuing System (PQS) is working at scale. Registration allowed you to get a hoodie which is actually pretty comfortable and doesn’t scream “IT clothing” too much!

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Managed to also bump into Eric Wright, Gregg Robertson and Chris Porter so re:Invent is also starting with a good community social vibe!

20181126_081729325_iOSMidnight Madness

This is unofficial kick off to re:Invent in the style of apparently a basketball season kick-off. A marching band and DJ was the music and it was limited to 8000 people.

Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia (a US sketch show which I didn’t know) was the host of the evening, not sure if the MCing of the evening was successful.

Break the Records

Amazon isn’t limited to just breaking computing scale records but attempted three different Guinness World Records during Midnight Madness: largest choreographed air drum solo to Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight”, led by Fred Armisen also from Portlandia; most simultaneous glow stick lighting, although there was a last minute change to the exact world record to break as apparently Columbia had won the planned award the day before! The two records ran at the same time so people were air drumming with their glow sticks!

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The third record to try and break was the Largest Chicken Wing Eating Competition. The chicken crazy Tatonka Challenge had its fifth instalment and the plan was to break the 2017 Guinness World Record of 214 participants. I was “coerced” into joining by Gregg Robertson and have him to thank for a very full tummy of chicken. It was actually great fun, the wings were tasty and certainly made me feel extra special to know I’ve been part of a World Record Setting team! Winking smile

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The band was from Mexico, called Kinky:

Let’s Announce

Midnight Madness has also become the function to present the first announcement of the conference at Midnight.

This year the drum rolls revealed:AWS RoboMaker which is a new service to “Develop, Test, Deploy, and Manage Intelligent Robotics Apps

RoboMaker extends the open-source robotics software framework, Robot Operating System (ROS), with connectivity to cloud services. AWS says it is also open-sourcing some of the code for this.


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Unfortunately the excitement and anticipation were missing for me from Midnight Madness this year. Maybe because I was sitting for an hour doing the Tatonka challenge, it meant we were disconnected from the rest of what was going on. Carrie Brownstein didn’t seem to have enough to say to fill the time and there was no Andy Jassy to start off things. Oh, well, live and learn for next time.

That’s Day 0 finished, FitBit says 41,081 steps today!

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