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AWS re:Invent 2022 Swag Review

Nick Triantafillou
Nick Triantafillou

Ever use a piece of swag to write a blog post? I am right now! There was a lot of loot on offer this year at the world’s biggest cloud conference, AWS re:Invent.

This is my fifth re:Invent (click for 2019 2018 2017 2016), and I’ve collected a thing or two before. If you don’t see something your company had on offer, it’s not because I hate you, it’s because I’ve possibly covered it already, or I just did not have time to get to you. If you’d like to send me a photo of your swag, I will happily add it here!

I was almost defeated this year, there were SO many booths. I know I didn’t get to them all, but I did my best, and with help of a few friends, I’ll try to give you the most complete swag review possible of this insane event.

But, before we get started, we need to rewind to 2021.

In 2021, I couldn’t fly out of Australia. The world was still a bit of a crazy place, but a much smaller re:Invent still happened. It was re:Invent’s 10th year, and there was one very special piece of swag that my most amazing friend Mattias managed to snag for me, the re:Invent 10 year jacket:

Mattias kept this for me for a YEAR and gave it to me this week. Huge thanks to him, I think it looks fantastic and you may have seen me wearing it around this year!

Oh, he also gave me the re:Play shirt from last year, which was cool!

Alright, so now that’s out of the way, lets check out 2022!

We begin each year, again, with the hoodie and bottle.

In 2019 we had a nice blue hoodie, before that were a few other mostly black hoodies. I have to say: absolutely not a fan of this years hoodie.

The label
I love the idea and thought it was cool at first glance, but if you’re in the Amazon marketing team, surely you have access to a few technical people that can help write the “techy” label you used. Why is there a closing square bracket? Where was the opening one? What language is this? May I introduce you to jsonlint?

The thickness
Great material, great thickness, it gets damn cold outside during the event, so no complaints there at all. 2016 was the best, 2017 was too thin.

The colour
It’s mostly black. With a tiny bit of blue inside the hood bit. It didn’t stand out at all, and I honestly think it was the least-worn hoodie I’ve seen. The years the entire hoodie was blue, the Vegas strip was lined with people in light blue you could easily spot and have a conversation with.

Please Note: If this was actually your intention, to make something tech people will wear after the event, it may have been an OK idea to make it blend into the rest of our drab wardrobes. But it didn’t feel like a special re:Invent hoodie to me. Make it bright! make the colours bold! If you’re at AWS and know the design team, please show them my 10 minute photoshop attempt at pretending I have a clue about design:

Inclusion Pins
Not swag, but definitely worth praise. AWS provided inclusion pins to demonstrate their culture of diversity and inclusion, allowing you to display your pronouns, affiliations and how you communicate. The Red/Yellow/Green pin had a movable pointer to show if you were willing to talk or preferred to just look and not be approached.

AWS Village
The AWS village is the area in the middle of the expo hall where you can talk to AWS engineers about any product they offer. A bunch of the stands have different items on offer, this year mainly shirts that could be redeemed with vouchers you would have to take back to the swag desk to obtain.

I managed to snag a few of these shirts and a really nice bottle with built-in magnetic cup.

The Hallway
There were new services launched, and hot tip: they sometimes hand these out in the hallways! I got the new AWS CodeCatalyst shirt just 2 hours after the service was announced

The week ends with re:Play, and re:Play always has shirts! This year there was just one choice, though I found it odd it was dated January 12th 😛

I thought this was cool, gumballs to show how many times people had been to re:Invent. I got my light green ones!

AWS Modern Applications and Open Source Zone
On level 3 of the venetian this little zone had a claw machine and DDR arcade that entertained people all week. I went back a few times to try win the kindle, and shoutout to Julie running that claw machine! They had socks, light up sunglasses, AWS thermos mugs, light up wrist bands, pop sockets, amazon echo devices and Serverless SAM plushies! I of course managed to get most of these.. except the kindle. 😢 oh, they also had a million stickers!

The impossible blanket/shawl
The swag desk had a blanket/shawl. It was Red Shift branded. It looked plush, soft and comfortable. Despite contacting multiple AWS employees and even Red Shift product managers, we were unable to find the voucher required to claim this very special item despite our best efforts. If anyone can get me one, please let me know 😉

Community Builders
I am an AWS community builder and at our yearly mixer we were all given an absolutely awesome mug. This thing is gigantic. How much coffee do ya’ll drink?! Thanks goes to Jason Dunn who leads this amazing community of people from around the world.

User Group Leaders
I am also an AWS User Group leader and we also had a meeting and mixer at re:Invent. The event was awesome, and we all went home with some cool swag too! There was a backpack, shirt, moleskin notebook and even a Hydropod! want some of this awesome swag? Start a local usergroup in your area!

Certification Lounge
The AWS Certification Lounge is available to anyone who is certified. They always have good food, good swag and it’s a great place to meet awesome people. This year they had an awesome tshirt and a build your own lego figurine stand!

5k run
It’s a yearly tradition to attend the 5k run for charity at re:Invent. The entry fee of $45 goes to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, which unites innovative research and compassionate care to prevent and eliminate cancer and infectious disease.

Inclusion, diversity and equity groups
The AWS Jam Lounge had many different mini booths operating each day, and when I visited it was all of these wonderful internal inclusion, diversity and equity groups which were featured. There was the shiniest notebook I’ve ever seen at the front desk, and lots of things given out by the other groups around the stands.

Merch store
If all that wasn’t enough, AWS launched a merch store a few weeks ago. While there is an online shop, there was also a physical presence there in the expo hall. It was actually super popular every time I walked past. Of course, I grabbed the bomber jacket. It looks so awesome!

I believe that’s all for the strictly AWS swag, but if I dig out any more I’ll be sure to add it!

Swag of the year
As always, I always choose a few items I think were the absolute best, either in uniqueness or just sheer generosity from the organisations giving them out. I think it’s pretty obvious by this photo I just took which item was one of my favourites:

Given out by LaunchDarkly booth, the Keychron K7 keyboard is simply awesome. We had a demo of their product, followed by a quick raffle and walked away with these awesome keyboards. Thanks LaunchDarkly! I’m using it right now to write my swag review 😉 Oh, they also had shirts, stickers and socks!

My other winner goes to Veeam! During the event Anthony Spiteri invited AWS Heroes and Community builders to visit their booth and we walked away with a portable massager! Very awesome!

Another awesome grab, a huge thanks to Pluralsight for the extremely rare and hard to get blanket/towel which just looks awesome. Can’t wait to get this thing back to Australian summer next week! Pluralsight also had a bunch of raffles through the week for their custom crocs and huge lego sets in addition to their stickers, caps and shirts.

And my final swag winner for the year for the uniqueness and simply awesome idea was custom airbrushed hats from Spot by NetApp. They looked so awesome!

Special Mention

With only 12 of these shirts available, I was very happy to receive one of the hottest new startup shirts from! Thanks Jeremy and Emrah.

The booth run

Alright, so it’s time to check out all the other booths. There is no order here, of either preference or most or least favourite booth. The staff at every booth were lovely to talk to, they all work super hard and do a wonderful job. I’ve worked booths and it’s one of the most exhausting things to ever do, so thank you to everyone! Lets see what was on offer..

Salesforce had their own room this year, with a few socks and stickers on offer (and possibly other things, I didn’t look long enough sorry!)

Veeam had lots of little goodies like powerbanks and collapsable water bottles.

Informatica had a spinny wheel with lots of prizes on offer.

Dynatrace had a spin the wheel thing as well, and I don’t think the line ever got short. It was always massive when I went past. There were lots of shirts. nintendo switches, anker power banks, DJI drones, tote bags and water bottles. Huge and awesome variety of stuff!

Apptio had a pacman style game you could play and get a squishy blue dude. I played and.. got the high score! I wonder if anyone beat me after this…

DataStax had some awesome shirts, and the ability to win a 3 year Tesla lease or $25,000! that’s a freakin awesome prize. Oh, and an awesome F1 lego set too!

Snowflake had a ski machine game with lots of prizes on offer.

Gatling had hats, hoodies, stickers and poker chips.

Weka were giving away awesome lego and helmet and golf ball stress balls.

Stromasys had a huge nintendo lego set and a shoe horn/back scratcher combo!

uptycs had oculus headsets to win and a maaaassive lego AT-AT!

CloudBees had a claw machine full of goodies.

Solace had those ground poppy things and a cute little plushy, and you could win an electric scooter!

Modus Create, Inc. had drink bottles, keyrings and bags.

Megaport had candy, Starbucks gift cards, charging cables and Nintendo switches to give away.

Ubuntu had a robot dog(!!!) and stickers!

InfluxData had the cutest stickers, a Lego Boost Robot and awesome socks! They also had a coffee stand free for anyone to use.

Starburst had some awesome Star Wars themed hats and shirts, and shiny stickers too!

Segment were giving away a Fender guitar, and also had a laser engraver in their booth to customize your water bottle!

You could always tell who visited Cribl, because they always had a light sabre poking out of their backpack! They also had some shirts and stickers.

Cockroach labs were donating on your behalf, and also had stickers and pins!

Qantiphi were donating trees!

Dreamio had the cutest Gnarwall Gnar Wars swag!

Tamr had stickers, cloths, pens and push pop fidget toys.

Qlik had socks, glasses and some other goodies.

etleap had stickers and the cutest frog.

SingleStore had a magician, and were giving out cards, mints and poker chips.

Domo had a massive cooler with drinks, and were giving away coozies and lots of awesome yeti gear.

Confluent had an iPad mini to win, as well as mini phone holders!

Databricks had bottle openers and stickers!

IBM Cloud Stories had Bees, hats and bottles.

Navisite had a watermelon icy station, and socks, pens, coozies and glasses.. and an astronaut!

JFrog had an awesome shirt, stickers, pens and of course, a frog!

Pagerduty had their prize wheel with lots of things to win.

Kong had the cutest plushies, pins, tshirts and stickers!

Splunk with their latest shirts (they always have awesome shirts).

Fosfor had a huuuuuge lego set, cocktail set, stickers and some other goodies.

Presido had charging cables, notebooks and pens.

Harness had SO MUCH MARIO LEGO! It was awesome, and I wanted it all.

Mend had some bottles, bottle openers and pens.

Sisense had some really nice socks and tote bags!

Cloudfix not only had a whole cabinet of amazing swag:

..but I was then invited to their “swag night” in their caesars palace suite just before re:Play where they gave us some product demos and even more swag was available! You could choose from a whole bunch of yeti bottles, gift cards, mugs and an awesome tumi travel bag, which I picked!

Quali had the cutest quala..sorry, koala stress toys and mini toy planes and decks of cards.

BigID had rubiks cubes and stickers.

Skyflow with the prettiest cloud socks and stickers.

Collibra had golf balls, notebooks and beanies!

Couchbase had a nice tote, along with reusable straws and a bunch of Corey Quinn stickers.

TEKsystems had socks, rubiks cubes and squishy cloud things.

Aiven had socks, stickers and you could win an awesome electric scooter.

Druva had a spin to win with socks, foldable coozies, an xbox and yeti mugs! had an awesome christmas sweatter that I missed by ONE SPOT ON THE WHEEL.

Stacklet had this amazing car and drink bottles.

Virtasant had the most colourful socks i’ve ever seen, an awesome water bottle and a USB mug warmer!

Caylent had the cutest stickers, chap stick, candy, and Randall Hunt!

Granulate had an awesome basketball theme, with stress balls and socks.

Moogsoft AIOps had the cutest cow and cow related accessories.

Netapp had a beanie, powerbank, cute elephant and some socks

It’s probably not swag but Deloitte had a Boston Dynamics dog.

MongoDB had awesome socks as always, some stickers, lip balm and an entire prize booth where you had to catch the leaves and push them through the little slot thing. I caught more with my face than my hands. Lots of prizes were available from tote bags, fanny packs and fidget toys (and some hard to win headphones!)

Mission had some awesome stuff up for raffle, including a custom xbox, airpods, an oura ring, and a WHOLE ELECTRIC BIKE.

Firebolt had the NEATEST swag stand I’ve ever seen, with shirts, caps, cars, socks and mugs.

Now I know I’m reviewing swag here and not the actual booth, but Wiz had the best looking booth at the show. A+++ to your designers. They also had awesome socks and notepads.

Rapid7 also had a scooter up for grabs, along with squishy clouds and little robots.

Can’t go wrong with a Red Hat rubiks cube, and they gave awayAirPods Max each day in their raffle as well.

F5 had a daily drone giveaway, along with their shirts.

Clumio had a custom t-shirt screen printing station!

Onica by Rackspace had drones and stickers.

TD Synnex had some awesome collapsable water bottles and notebooks.

Infosys cobalt had these hand made figurines which are supposed to take all negative emotions away from you. I grabbed one and am actually feeling pretty good right now, so I believe they’re pretty awesome!

The folks over at Rockset were awesome to chat to, and were giving away a PS5, stickers and an awesome whiskey glass!

Portworx had some really nice socks, stickers and pens.

N2WS had lego orchids!

Snk had these cute little plushies in their claw machine.

Phew! that’s about it for me, thank you for scrolling this far if you’re still awake!

As I said at the start of the blog post, I know I didn’t get to every booth and I am more than happy to add your company swag to the post if I missed you on the expo floor, please reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn.

If you’re interested in more than just swag and want to know more about what was released at re:Invent this year, stay tuned for re:Invent re:Caps! Coming soon to a screen near you.

See you in 2023!
– Nick


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