Andrew Barnes

6 minute read

Guide to Knowledge

So, Knowledge conference. Having attended five prior events and leveraging the help and aid of those with even more experience, I will offer tips for getting the most out of the event. Fifteen conferences have come before. 2019 will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada with nearly 18,000 in attendance. CreatorCon which is in its 4th year will have 6,000 developers. This conference inside the conference will be a large part of any developers experience at the event.

Planning ahead of time

What to do before you go? Research which sessions you wish to attend. You can’t participate in every topic of interest that you have. If you are visiting the conference with others, divide an conquer is a great way to cover more sessions. So, given that you can’t see all the sessions that appeal to you, decisions need to be made. Dive more in-depth than just the titles and descriptions for the sessions. Look at the speakers and their industries. See where else they have talked, their LinkedIn, and their current and prior roles. This will help you figure out how to cull that list down to topics that you will get the most out of attending.

Which sessions will you get the most out of? An important question. Pick topics which will inspire you not just the sessions that cover your current role and needs. Pick a few sessions for one level up as well as outside your comfort zone. Doing so will help you get perspective on a broader vision for the future. If you are a senior developer, visit the architect track a couple of times, visit the product owner track. These will help you contribute even more in your role.

During the sessions

The speaker isn’t the end of any given session. The other folks in the room, are a valuable resource because they are looking to learn and discuss the topic that you share a common interest with. The importance of reaching out to others in the same sessions cannot be overstated. Introduce yourself, exchange cards, strike up a conversation afterward and continue it in the halls between session. These connections will stay after the conference and help contribute to your goals into the future.

Now that you have some idea of which sessions you wish to attend you can start to make a plan. As I mentioned before, coordinate with co-workers or friends that are also attending the event so you can try to cover more sessions. Organizing which events might benefit from attending jointly is essential. Those common sessions will spark the conversation and allow for quick exchanges.

Notes! Write down your thoughts during and after each session. Capture the session number so you can refer back to your records with the speaker sessions you can download after the conference is over.

Session types

* Knowledge Breakouts - Customers sharing their insights to help customers on their journey
* CreatorCon Breakouts - Sessions by developers for developers
* Knowledge Labs - Learn hands-on new skills
* CreatorCon Workshops - Learn hands-on new skills
* Developer Theater - Quick drop-in customer talks in the ExpoNow area
* Special Interest Groups - Targeted to groups that have common interests like Higher-Education. Talk with your peer groups and hear content that is targeted towards your common interest.
* Hack-a-thon - team head-to-head competition in an 8-hour quest for fun, unfettered glory
* CreatorCon Brewery Operations Competition - Group in teams of 3 to build an application to ensure the beer keeps flowing

During the conference

Make sure to meet new folks. Sit at a table in which you don’t know anyone. Meet with online co-workers and peers in person. Visit with partners and ServiceNow in the ExpoNow area. This opportunity to talk directly to developers and product management folks is unparalleled. Also, talk to other customers while visiting the ExpoNow floor. When meeting new people, send each other an email and a note why you spoke while you are standing next to each other, so you both have that, way better than business cards. If you run into someone that has helped you on the forums or made a video you found useful, let them know. Our community is what helps make ServiceNow great. Everything at the conference is geared towards you, so make sure you take advantage of the variety of interactions.

Take a break. Don’t try to pack in 200 labs and sessions. Make sure you eat and rest as the days are quite long! Be aware of your surroundings. This means, lock your screen(s), and pay attention to your possessions. Even if you don’t typically have a phone password, this is a good time to activate that.

What to bring

Excellent shoes! I can’t overstress this enough. Comfortable shoes are the name of the game. The distances in Vegas can be deceptive since the buildings are large and spaced out. You will put plenty of steps on your Fitbit during the event. Make sure to bring a water bottle so you can refill it during breaks. A privacy screen is nice to have for your laptop. Make sure you have business cards and write a note on any cards you get to remind you why you have it.


From the opening party to the closing party there will be many opportunities to enjoy the Las Vegas experience. Get out there and socialize and enjoy the experience. These events allow you to get to know some folks and share without the hustle of rushing off to the next session. You can join partners for exclusive events, and get to know their customers, and employees. Some are invite only, so search twitter, Linkedin, and ask your partners and sales reps ahead of the event.

The closing party - which is a choose your path event looks even better than last year. You can see some of the Vegas acts, visit TopGolf, have a fancy dinner, listen to music, or hit a night club as your desire leads you. I think I will attend the House of Blues, one of the spots I try to frequent when in town.

The event is over

Enjoy your break; the event is over. Now you can follow up on the emails and tasks you have made with your new friends from around the world. You can continue working on most of the labs and workshops as long as they don’t require particular content. Contribute to the community, ask questions, answer questions and grow!