Insider's Guide to Elastic{ON} 2017

259,200 seconds. 60,000 breaths. 350,000 heartbeats, give or take a few thousand. Spending three days of your life with us at Elastic{ON} may sound like a small thing, but in the grand scheme of things, it's everything. It's your time.

When you honor us by attending Elastic{ON}, we want to help you make each minute worth your investment. So we surveyed veteran conference attendees and chatted with Elastic employees to surface the best tips, approaches, and practices to help you milk every second.

Here's what we learned:

1. Light preparation is helpful.

Preview the agenda. "It's definitely worth giving the agenda a look in advance to see what sessions might interest you the most." –Tim Roes (@tim_roes)

Elastic protip: Use the filter on our site to search the agenda by product, use case, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Map out what matters to you. "The Elastic roadmap sessions and the sessions with compelling use cases from Elasticsearch practitioners like Thomson Reuters, Yammer, HotelTonight, Eventbrite, Etsy, The New York Times, Adobe, and my own company (Cisco) were worth the time that I spent for the conference." –Jaya Gopalakrishnan (@jgopalak)

Elastic protip: If you're already registered, we'll ping you when the Elastic{ON} 2017 app comes out. It's a fantastic and painless way to manage your conference schedule on the fly.

Get up to speed. "If you want to get the most out of the conference and haven't worked with the Elastic Stack beforehand, I would recommend visiting the pre-conference training and/or looking up some tutorials online."        –Tim Roes

Elastic protip: We've expanded our pre-conference training offering. Join us the day before Elastic{ON} to learn how to deploy, optimize, scale, and secure the Elastic Stack.

2. Resist the comfort zone.

Get weird. "Go to a few sessions you don't think you'd like, just to challenge yourself." –Mark Walkom (@warkolm)

Skip a session. "If you eventually see that the upcoming talks are not 100% completely in your interest, then take the time to rest in the conference area and, maybe, try out and code something you've learned in another presentation." –Thiago Souza (@tsouza)

Elastic protip: We have comfy chairs and tables where you can flex your fingers and put new skills to work. Another great place to spend some free time? The demo stations, where you can see the Elastic Stack in action up close and personal.

Strike up a conversation. "Beyond informative sessions, I learned a lot in the hallway track/demo booth. I met people from both ends of the business spectrum doing all sorts of different things with Elasticsearch and the rest of the Elastic Stack." –Jaya Gopalakrishnan

Elastic protip: Check out the Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions on Wednesday and Thursday—small-group meetups for folks with mutual interest in specialized topics.

3. Own the AMA booth.

Bring your questions. "Users walk up with pages and pages of notes. If you've got questions, bring them." –Mark Walkom

Come back early and often. "We've had people come with one question, watch some talks, come back with a spinoff question, go to some more talks, and by the end of it they came out with something bigger, better, and awesomer than they'd ever expected." –Mark Walkom

Elastic protip: The best time to visit AMA is during a session. The booth is open all day, but it's least crowded when talks are in progress.

4. Find your tribe.

Go to that super small session. "The really tiny breakout sessions can seem a little lonely compared to the huge concert-style performances in the bigger spaces, but that's where you find the five other people who are passionate about the exact same sub-sub-topic as you are." –Loren Siebert (@lorensiebert)

Elastic protip: The spotlight theater was a huge hit last year. We've added more space, but you'll still get that small talk (of the good sort) feel.

Attend the women's breakfast "Women's breakfast /networking event and winning an amazing eco-friendly jacket for my tweets were fantastic!" –Jaya Gopalakrishnan

Elastic protip: The second annual Elastic{ON} women's breakfast includes a panel discussion with all-star women in tech, plus networking time and delicious eats.

Schedule IRL time with your online community. "If you've interacted with people on Elastic Discuss, GitHub Issues, or IRC about the Elastic Stack, reach out to them beforehand and set up a time to say hello in person." –Loren Siebert

Elastic protip: GitHub, the Elastic{ON} mobile app, and using #elasticon on Twitter are all great places to start setting up meet and greets, as is getting in touch with your Elastic sales rep.

Make it to the after party. "A total must are the after parties, which are a great opportunity to exchange with other users and get in touch with a lot of people from the Elastic team." –Tim Roes

Elastic protip: This year's party is at the California Academy of Sciences featuring Elastic favorite DJ Asha. Dance floor not your jam? Planetarium shows will be running all evening and we'll have a craft beer garden onsite.

5. Elastic folks want to meet you as much as you want to meet them.

Just ask. "If you come with a few people in mind that you want to meet, don't be afraid to approach them (or someone else) and ask to speak with that person. Don't be afraid to ask if you can chat to Jordan Sissel or Rashid [Khan]. Everyone that works for Elastic is happy to talk to you." –Mark Walkom

Elastic protip: Note that Mark is also a really great person to approach, as he has the added bonus of being from Australia.

Seriously, just ask. "I've learned from my past Elastic{ON} experience that you can also talk with the staff itself. It can be any subject, to discuss an idea or a specific issue. I remember that Shay was very open to speak with me, even though I was not working at Elastic." –Thiago Souza

Elastic protip: There will be attendees, speakers, and staff from all types of industries working on problems that range from familiar to the I-never-would-have-thought-of-that use case.

6. Budget stomach space wisely.

Pacing is key. "Work your way through the gourmet food trucks, slowly and methodically." –Loren Siebert

Elastic protip: There are lots of options with a fleet of food trucks. If you discover chicken and waffles don't hit the spot, there will be backup tacos to save the day. (True story, by the way. Find Mark and he'll tell you about it.)

Let me sum up.

We're excited about this year's Elastic{ON}, and we'll keep doing our darnedest to ensure that every second you spend at the conference is worth it.

If you haven't registered yet, we hope you'll join us. If you're already booked, we look forward to seeing you there. Please continue to share your protips for #elasticon on Twitter.