Sun, Tech and Community: My Experiences at Civo Navigate

Sun, Tech and Community: My Experiences at Civo Navigate

First conference from Civo in Tampa, Florida


13 min read


The Civo Navigate took place during one of the most devastating events in the modern history of Türkiye:

The massive earthquake in the Gaziantep region with over 30.000 victims!

As a person with a Turkish background, I tried to be as thoughtful as possible during my stay and avoided any inappropriate behaviours in light of such a tragedy!

Please donate to your local help organisation and pray for all the victims of the earthquake! In the end, we are all human beings, independent of our race or beliefs!


Rewind to the 3rd of September 2022, when a message appeared on my phone: It was Mark Boost. Mark is the CEO of Civo, and he asked me the following question:

He went even into more detail and asked me to run a workshop at the Civo Navigate! I needed some minutes to think about an answer. Am I good enough to run a workshop? I mean honestly, people pay money for the tickets they for sure expect some very good content in a workshop.

I keep on fighting with myself. Should I do it or not?

But then I was like: Let's do it! The worst thing that could happen to me, is that people throw tomatoes at me! I can live with this. Retrospectively, they could feed me to alligators but I did not know this at that time!

So I wrote, with shaky hands, the following answer:

Now it's done! I promised that I will deliver a workshop at the Civo Navigate!

My CfP Submission!

Now it was time for me, to prepare the CfP. Honestly, this is for me the part I always struggle with. How to write a good CfP? I watched some YouTube talks like this one from Justin Garrison: How to write a great conference proposal!

Did some serious Google-Fu research too! And after all, I came up with a following CfP:

How To Build A Production Ready Kubernetes

Let's Build A Production Ready Kubernetes!

Our goal: Deploy a containerized full-stack (Golang & JavaScript) application to a Civo Kubernetes cluster, expose it to the internet and have a GitOps mechanism in place.

During the workshop, we will discover infrastructure as code (IaC) and create a Civo Kubernetes cluster using Pulumi as Infrastructure as code tool. In the second part of the workshop, we will talk about the fundamentals of GitOps and setup a GitOps pipeline using ArgoCD.

The workshop will add some stretch goals like secret management, monitoring, ingress controller and security.

I hit the submit button! Now all I could do was wait!

The Results Are In!

The Maury Show - Watch Free on Pluto TV Denmark

In the meantime, my professional life changed drastically! I quit my job at the Schwarz Group to join Pulumi. It is a remote-only position and I was fully occupied with my onboarding and learning journey to live my new role as a Customer Experience Architect.

And during all these changes, I got a mail from Civo: My talk got accepted!

All that was left from my side, was to confirm the participation! They even created a nice speaker banner I could share on my social media channels:

So this is how celebs must feel when they see their face on billboards! I was very proud of myself! But at the same time, I had feared not being able to deliver a high-quality workshop!

Then I remembered: I can do this! I am good at what I am doing! Yes, I will do many errors but there is nothing I need to be afraid of! In the end, I will learn from this experience! Even if it is a complete disaster! I will grow from this! And the next time I will become better!

Sounds maybe cheesy but I truly believe that we learn more from our failures! I had a lot of failures in my life but every time I had the feeling it made me stronger and better!

Fast Forward: Day-2

Let's forward to the 5th of February! It's a rainy Sunday in Frankfurt. I was standing a the gate to board my flight with Eurowings Discovery to Tampa, Florida!

This is going to be my first solo flight to the USA! You can imagine, how excited I was. I tried to play it down! Stay cool! All will be good! For now, my biggest challenge was to find a way to pass 11h on the plane!

I spend most of the time, watching the whole series 1 of Lower Deck on Amazon! The plane did not have an internet connection, so I was happy that I downloaded all episodes on my mobile phone to watch offline!

Life hack #1: Have at least the 150% of the time covered with some kind of entertainment that puts you in a relaxed state! There will be enough stress afterwards, so no need to start on the plane with it!

I also worked a little bit on my workshop but without an internet connection, I could just do some work on the text of the different workshop chapters!

Finally, the plane approached my destination: Florida!

After landing, I took my first Uber (many more rides to come for me, but I did not know about this at this very moment!) to the Hotel to do my check-in.

The downside of conferences is always the dreaded food question! Where to eat, what to eat and with whom to eat! I don't like to eat alone! I always prefer to have people around me to talk to while enjoying a good meal!

At conferences, this is not easy! Sometimes it reminded me of my school time! You want to be accepted by the cool kids! So you play along with them, and wait that the popular kid tells you what to do next! Until this, everybody is on stand-by mode!

My friend Nuno do Carmo explained it the best:

At conferences, you are around of plenty people, but still, you can feel very lonely!

I love this statement, as it holds so much truth in it!

This was my Sunday! Took a last picture in front of my Hotel and I was ready to get some sleep! (This is a 100% lie, as the jetlag had other plans for me!)

Badge Pickup: Day-1

I did manage to get some sleep and somehow I was even able to wake up too! Took my shower and was ready to go discover a shopping mall near my Hotel! Do you remember, I wrote about my Uber rides and the many rides to come? Yeah, not now! At this moment I still thought I can walk around in Tampa!

I left the Hotel and after a couple of minutes of walking, I was the only one on the sidewalk, I encountered the limitation of the infrastructure. Looks like, Tampa is more designed around cars than pedestrians!

Ok, I cancelled the idea quickly to walk in Tampa and headed back to a Starbucks near my Hotel. I spend the whole morning there, did some work and hopped into some work meetings! It was a strange feeling, to be in the same timezone as the rest of my team!

After this, I took a Uber(!) to head to the venue centre! The Amature Works in the proximity of the river walk in Tampa:

The place itself was stunning! Armature Works is a fully restored old factory/storage(?) building with the best eateries I encountered at a conference place!

The view from the rooftop room!

And the empty main stage area!

I head over to collect my badge and meet the first batch of my cloud native community friends!

It was so great to see all of them again! Most of the time, I am reduced to interacting through Twitter with them! You can't build a deeper relationship when you only can comment or like tweets. So that was a good opportunity to ramp up my social skills!

Do you recognize all of them?

The rest of the day went very unspectacular! Everybody went early back to the Hotels to spend some time on their talks and workshops! I did the same, as I am going to hold my workshop on the first day of the conference!

Anxiety is building up again! My old friend I missed you!

Conference Day 1: Steve Wozniak and My Workshop!

Slept very nervous during the night, but managed to wake up on time! Shower, put on my stuff and head over to Starbucks to get my first intake of Coffee!

When I arrived at the venue place, I went over to the main stage to wait for the talk of Steve Wozniak to start!

In the meantime, Marino Wijay and Lisa-Marie Namphy did awesome work as hosts of the whole conference and kicked off the conference!

And then it happened, Mark and Dinesh Majrekar welcomed Steve to the stage and had a great keynote with Steve!

I am not going to post some of the videos I took during the talk! Wait for the records to be available and watch it! He is a very clever and funny person!

After this keynote talk, everybody scattered around to join the tracks and talks based on their interests!

I grabbed the official printed conference guide, and could not believe my own eyes! I saw my name on it! Mom, Dad, look!

So did I, strolling through the exhibition area with the booths of some of the sponsors of the conference.

My first destination was the Rooftop area to join my first talk from Julia Furst Morgado! But I had still time to take a group selfie! (Jas, Sully, Robert Sirchia, Julia and Philippe Charrière)

Julia asked the question: Is Kubernetes too complicated? I shared this with my Twitter community and the feedback was more than interesting to read!

Nevertheless, Julia did an amazing job and I could not miss the opportunity to take a selfie only with her!

I was very happy to talk to her every time we bumped into each other! Sometimes we switched even to French as she speaks this fluently next to English and Portuguese! A true multi-talent! Hope I have to chance to meet her again!

Then I had over to my next session with Rotem Refael about Building a {Secure} by design pipeline with an (open-source] stack.

My next talk was on the main stage about the new Civo Product Launch, as Dinesh and Saiyam announced several new major products there! Civo Platform, Civo ML and OpenCP!

My Workshop!

Now it was time for my workshop! I headed over to the Show and Tell area and saw that the room was already very crowded! So I prepared my laptop and got the mic attached to me!
Quickly took a picture of all participants and off we go for the workshop!

It was great, even though I talked way too much and did not have time to go through all the chapters!

Here is a picture, Nuno took from me during my workshop:

Just in case you want to try the workshop on your own, here is the link to the GitHub repository. Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions regarding the content!

After all, I was happy when the time was over and a huge burden got lifted from my shoulders! I managed to deliver a workshop 10000km away from home!

the power is now yours use it carefully - Yoda | Make a Meme

Time to eat something and I opted for the street tacos! They looked and tasted delicious!

Full of energy, I was ready to join the next talks!

I joined the talk from Robert Sirchia about Simplify building applications for Kubernetes!

A note on Robert: I honestly really enjoyed the time with him during the whole conference. For me, it was a huge win during the conference to meet a new person and somehow bonded with each other! He is a great person and I am looking forward to meeting him again!

The next talk was from Hannah Sutor about Shifting Left with Harmony: Finding Balance Between Security and Developer Efficiency!

Again, Hannah was one of my highlights of the conference! She is just a great person with a very interesting life experience. She even let us be part of her private life in her talk when she compared some Security advice with her RVing through the USA! Unique!

Next on the list is the king himself: Viktor Farcic with his talk about Shifting Left Stateful Applications In Kubernetes! This man is just a legend and always fun to listen to!

My last session of the day was with Rich Burroughs and Carl Montanari about 10 Virtual Cluster Tips and Tricks That Will Surprise You! Or what we thought it would be about! Rich kept changing the title! Believe me, after this talk I have serious trust issues! #Joke! But vCluster is an amazing piece of software and such a game-changer for many Kubernetes users!

Now it was time to join the booth crawl and I directly headed over to Sergio Méndez to pick up my signed copy of his book: Edge Computing Systems with Kubernetes!

He is such a lovely person! I could not wait to join his talk on the last day of the conference!

Conference Day 2: Edge, WASM, ClickOps and Return to Germany

Last day of the conference, and this means the last day of me in Tampa! So I took the opportunity to visit one of the most iconic places in the whole US: A Walmart!

Now quick back to the venue centre! I need to catch some talks before I have to head over to the airport! Still had time to take a selfie with speakers of the conference (Daniel Bodky, Laszlo Fogas and Michael Cade):

And the start makes the great Laszlo Fogas with his talk about ClickOps over GitOps!
I loved this talk and Laszlo is such a great person!

Now I have really to hurry! Time is ticking! I went over to the talk of Lukas Gentele on How To Gain Back Your Velocity When Working With Kubernetes! I am a huge fan of the work from Loft and the whole crew around Lukas! Lukas itself is a great person with an awesome vision and mission for developer experience when working with Kubernetes!

The next talk on the list was from Sergio Méndez on Monitoring weather at the edge with K3s and Raspberry Pi devices! I have to add, that Sergio flew from Guatemala to the conference! I never met a person from Guatemala before and I enjoyed this special experience on top of a great talk!

After this talk, I catch up with a customer of Pulumi and went to eat a Cuban sandwich for the first time in my life!

And then It was time for the last talk of the day for me! Philippe Charrière with My journey to free WASM from my browser!

Great talk! But now I had to leave for the airport! And quicker than I thought, I was on the plane and had to say goodbye to Tampa!

Conclusion: Civo Navigate

Civo Navigate was an awesome and fresh event and conference! I start to enjoy these smaller conferences more than the big flagship conferences I normally visit! The mixture of speakers was very good and you had the chance to create your own tailored agenda towards your interests!

The venue took place in a great place, the food was delicious.

Only one suggestion: The conference lanes had different start and end times for the talks! This made it very difficult to change between lanes!

Can't wait for Civo Navigate London!