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Kafka Summit San Francisco 2019: Day 1 Recap

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Day 1 of the event, summarized for your convenience.

They say you never forget your first Kafka Summit. Mine was in New York City in 2017, and it had, what, 300 people? Today we welcomed nearly 2,000 to a giant ballroom in San Francisco. There were laser beams. There were two Tony Stark allusions in the first 60 seconds. And most importantly, there was a vibrant and ever-growing community present.

Kafka Summit SF 2019

Let me recap the day for you in case you couldn’t make it, or if you could make it and you just want to relive it instead of going to the afterparty. I mean, it’s your call.

Keynote by Jun Rao

Jun Rao, one of the original co-creators of Apache Kafka® and one of the co-founders of Confluent, walked on the stage to Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger and proceeded to take us to school on the basics. He recounted the motivations that originally prompted him, his co-founders Jay Kreps and Neha Narkhede, and other colleagues back at LinkedIn to create Kafka in the first place. They were, like so many open source creators, scratching an architectural itch of their own, the result of which has now grown into the second most active Apache project in use by more than one-third of Fortune 500 companies.

That is, like Ron Burgundy, kind of a big deal.

Jun Rao Keynote at Kafka Summit SF 2019

Jun led Chris Kasten, VP of Walmart Cloud, through a Q&A session that I personally found to be downright informative. This fact is not precisely tech-related, but I learned that Walmart has a physical location within 10 miles of 90% of the population of the United States. Chris explained how some of Walmart’s digital transformation investments are designed to make use of that fact, in ways like grocery delivery and pickup. And of course, we got to see that awesome commercial with every iconic automobile from the entire panoply of 80s pop culture. We might say that they were speaking my language.

Chris Kasten

A recording, for your viewing pleasure, is provided at the end of this post.

How I spent my breaks

It’s fair to say I had a very productive morning and afternoon breaks….

Checked out the on-demand donut station.

And, I saw fresh Kafka swag in the making.

I even stopped by Build-A-Bear at lunchtime with the inaugural class of Confluent Community Catalysts! These are people (see the link for more details) who have made outstanding contributions to the Confluent Community in the past year. Get to know them if you can.

And the day’s not over yet!

Stay tuned

On the agenda for day 2: a keynote from Confluent CEO Jay Kreps, a Q&A with Lyft, more sessions and, I am told, more on-demand donuts…

  • Tim Berglund is a teacher, author, and Developer Relations leader at StarTree. He can frequently be found at speaking at conferences in the United States and all over the world. He is the co-presenter of various O’Reilly training videos on topics ranging from Git to Distributed Systems, and is the author of Gradle Beyond the Basics. He tweets as @tlberglund, blogs very occasionally at, is the co-host of the podcast, and lives in Littleton, CO, USA with the wife of his youth and their youngest child, the other two having mostly grown up.

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