AWS re:Invent 2020 — Hottest releases

AWS Night Live

As always Monday night there is a pre-party, called AWS Night Live. During this “keynote” the first announcement is usually been made, which is a gimmick. They’ve done a DeepComposer (anyone still playing with that?) last year, AWS Firecracker before that and they keep on amaze me.

macOs on EC2?

Keynote of Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services

Every year the real opening of the event is reserved for Andy Jassy. Andy has been CEO of AWS since 2016 and this is his 4th time speaking, and it has been my third time watching him shine “live”. The downside from watching these sessions from home, is that there is always something to do. During the opening an artist called Zack Person played, which normally annoys me, since it’s stretching my attention deficit disorder, but now it gave me some time to wrap up some sessions with my colleagues before attending the keynote. Let’s just say it was some good background music.

  1. Leadership will to invent and reinvent You have to be maniacal, relentless, and tenacious. You need to have the data, even if people inside might try to obfuscate it from you. You can’t fight gravity, and you have to have the courage to pick up and change. Netflix cannibalizing DVD rental business, or Amazon.
  2. Acknowledge that you can’t fight gravity Amazon compared to eBay or Half, how do you serve customers? Build a marketplace, invite in third-party sellers.
  3. Talent that’s hungry to invent Now days you see new talent, which is often more willing to rip up and rebuild, while existing talent is reluctant to do that to what they built. Why is that? You need talent which as an appetite for curiosity and invent new ways of doing things.
  4. Solve real customer problems You should focus on customers, not on competitors or on products. Invent on behalf of customers instead of building stuff because it is cool.
  5. Speed Matters at every stage of the business. Push back against claims of too risky. Speed is a choice, make it, set up a culture that has urgency and wants to experiment. Not a switch, must build the muscle. Now is the time. This is something we see within several customers as well. Since their start of their AWS journey we are working towards getting the right speed which fits our customers demand and our need.
  6. Don’t Complexify Managing technologies while making big transformations and shifts. Choose a partner, get momentum, get success & results, add complexity later.
  7. Use platform with most capabilities & broadest set of tools All of these things enable builders to create anything that they can imagine.
  8. Pull it all together with aggressive top-down goals General Electric moved all of their apps to AWS in 30 days, which seemed aggressive, but their CIO made them do it anyway. They are now almost done moving 9,000 apps to AWS in just 2 years. Of course AWS pulled out their pet project, with a similar story at Capital One. It must be nice to avoid just dipping toe into the water. As you can read, none of these topics are technical, but all of them are about leadership. It is about building a business that outlasts all of us.

Gimme announcements!

After setting the scene Andy went on to the announcement in the order I earlier described. I wont go into detail to all of them, since there where around 30, so I’ll highlight my personal top 5.

1. Amazon here, Amazon there, Amazon Anywhere!

2. Cheap, cheaper, cheapest?

3. Those pesky licenses

4. Create gurus!

5. What about the edge?

More to come

That’s it for now. Over the next couple of weeks, AWS will announce other new features. Perhaps we can do a recap session at the end of re:Invent like the one I hosted last year, which was a blast to do, but we’ll see how this pandemic thing works out.



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Laurens van Gunst

Laurens van Gunst

The Cloud Therapist. Does the hard Cloud, so that you don’t have to. | Entreprenerd @ GNST