It was the summer of 2008. I was a wide-eyed intern working on the Brand team helping produce video content for what would be my first Red Hat Summit. The video below was the promo piece we produced to announce the date and location of that year’s Summit, which was being held in Boston for the very first time.
For anyone who’s a video editor (or sits next to one), you know the tracks you use have a tendency to replay in your head after hearing it 100 times. Even 10 years later, I still find myself singing the sample used in the track pretty much every time someone says we’re heading to Boston. As we gear up for the 2019 Red Hat Summit next summer, I can’t help but play this song back in my head with the same level of excitement I had back then.
Catchy samples aside, I remember my first Red Hat Summit like it was yesterday. The energy and excitement of our communities coming together under one roof for five days was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Thousands of customers, partners, community members, and Red Hatters all coming together to help solve some of the world’s most complex IT challenges of the time. You could feel the passion for open source and its future in the hallways, on the main stage, and throughout the entire event.
At that time in 2008, open source software was really just starting to take hold in the enterprise, and while we here at Red Hat knew we were onto something pretty special, we had no idea how incredible this journey would be and how pervasive open source would become. Not just in our industry, but everywhere. Open source principles are being applied to some of the world’s most complex problems, in industries where sharing and collaboration where once unheard of.
10 years later, that same energy and excitement for open source and collaboration in the enterprise IT space has grown into a movement affecting virtually every aspect of our lives. And the Red Hat Summit has become the place to participate, join new communities, and see their ideas and innovations gather support and come to life. It’s nearly impossible to leave the week not feeling inspired and hopeful about our future.
This year, however, was far and away the most special for me personally. The Summit was a huge success across the board and our series during general session, Open Source Stories, featured 2 young coders, Ellie G. with Jewelbots and Femi Owolade-Coombes from HackerFemo. Both are doing incredible things with open source software and hardware. They’re learning how to code and assemble, and teaching other kids their age how cool coding can be, no matter what age. At 11 and 12 years old, these 2 are blazing trails and building communities like the “giants” before them. Seeing them up there sharing their stories with our 7,500+ attendees was a jaw dropping experience. They both did so well up there on the big stage! Following both of their talks on the main stage, the crowd erupted in a standing ovation. I remember jumping up out of my chair backstage and high-fiving the production crew I was so excited. If you have 10 minutes, I highly recommend you watch these talks and share them with the kids in your life.
While this moment was one that I’ll no doubt go down as one of my all time favorites, something even more special to me this year was seeing my team, and the many others across Red Hat, come together to pull off our most successful and beautiful Summit in our history.
Saying that it takes a small village to pull this event off is an understatement. Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen this village grow and grow and I’ve seen the passion and love for putting this event on grow with it. The ideas that once seemed impossible are now starting to come to life. Never thought I’d see a fully functional datacenter on the main stage with live demos or Weezer headlining our afterparty!
We talk a lot about our culture here at Red Hat. At the heart of it all is a shared mission, a shared purpose. A common understanding that when you share your work, your goals, and invite others to collaborate with you, something incredible, something you wouldn’t have thought possible, is sure to come from it. The Red Hat Summit, for me, has always represented our culture in action and I couldn’t imagine not being a part it all.
Over the past 10 years I’ve created a lot of memories at Red Hat, but the Summit is responsible for some of my greatest. In a series of posts to follow, you’ll get a glimpse into the inner workings of the Red Hat Summit from various members of the team and hear more about their greatest Summit moments from the past year. You’ll hear stories of their day to day leading up to the event, see their work in progress, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how it all goes down on site.
We hope you enjoy seeing the work and hearing our stories. That said, we’d love to hear from you as well. Comment on our work and on our process. If we were lucky enough to see you in San Francisco, let us know how we did. We’re always looking to improve our work and create a better experience for our communities. It’s your feedback that will help us get there, so fire away! If you are in the IT space and are looking to join us next year, head on over to the Summit site and sign up for 2019. Next stop, Boston-Bos-Boston!