9 minute read

I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my return flight after what has been an awesome week at the PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit 2024, North American edition in Bellevue, Washington. There’s a whirlwind of things going through my mind, so I thought I would try and capture some of them here.


To give some context to my ramblings, I’ve been writing software for about 25 years, using PowerShell for over a decade, and have been fortunate to attend a number of conferences over the past 20 years. The first few were smaller conferences, but the past 15 years have typically been very Very VERY large conferences, such as Microsoft Build, TechEd, and Ignite. We’re talking 10,000 attendees, where you might have lunch with a group of people the first day and then never see them again the entire conference. To accommodate that many attendees, there were hundreds (thousands?) of sessions to pick from, and any time between sessions was often spent trying to make your way to another building to get to your next session before it started.

This was my first time attending the PowerShell Summit, my first time delivering a recorded presentation outside of my work, and my first time in a long time attending a smaller conference. Also remember that this is the point of view of a single attendee; others may have had a different experience, so take this post with a grain of salt.

The Summit

The PowerShell Summit was the opposite of these big conferences in so many ways. There were only ~400 attendees, so you were seeing the same faces each day. The conference was held in the Meydenbauer Center, with all of the sessions up on the 4th floor in one of 5 rooms that were all next door to each other. This meant the time between sessions was spent talking with the other attendees or one of the few vendors, rather than trying to find the next session room. Seeing the same faces every day meant having multiple conversations with the same individuals, and made it easier to strike up conversations and move past the usual smalltalk that most people go through when awkwardly meeting someone for the first time.

I loved getting to hear how their companies are operating, what struggles they or the company were going through, and how they are solving them. I was often able to give my perspective and tell them how I or my company had solved a similar problem or gone through a similar experience, and steer them toward a strategy or tools that could help them out. I always find these types of conversations very interesting, and get a sense of reward when I’m able to point them in a direction that will help them out. Of course there was other non-tech conversations as well, like talk about video games, home towns, the eclipse that happened on Monday, and various other things.

I’m not going to lie and say I made friends with everyone there. There were still many people that I never interacted with at all. I did however feel very comfortable talking with pretty much everyone there. Everyone was very welcoming.

I typically prefer to interact with people one on one or in small groups, as that often allows for deeper conversations. I don’t do great with surface small talk, and found myself avoiding some of the larger groups in the evenings due to my own anxiety. If I attend next year though, perhaps that will change as I’ll be more familiar with more of the returning attendees. I mention this not as a bad thing, but more-so because if you’re the type of person who enjoys the fun party group in the evenings, you’ll find some of them there. There were of course many people who opted out of the evening activities, or who also stayed in smaller groups during them, so there was a good mix of personalities.

Speaking of the evening activities, they were great, and there was more of them than I was expecting. Even though the conference started on Monday, there was a mixer on Sunday to get everyone acquainted. There was a fun game night on Monday with arcade games, axe throwing, and casino games. On Thursday there was a party with mini-golf, virtual golf, pool, ping pong, and an open bar. This left us with 2 evenings to do whatever we wanted. I went out for supper with a great group of people; other people went sightseeing. The Slack channel was very active and made it easy to find others to hang out with if you wanted to.

Also, because most attendees were staying in the same hotel, most nights you could wander down to the lobby and find a group of people to hang out and chat with if you liked. I definitely enjoyed this aspect of the conference and would encourage others to stay in the official hotel as well, as it allows you to mingle some more in the evenings if you are feeling up to it.


Conferences like Microsoft Ignite have 100s of vendors there whose sole purpose is to try and sell you on their products. They entice you with swag, like t-shirts, power banks, stress balls, cables, chargers, socks, raffles (often you must be present to win), and so much more, but often to get it you have to suffer sit through a 5 minute (or longer) sales pitch I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for swag, and would typically bring a large bag of it back to the office to give away.

Summit was nothing like that. I believe there were only 5 or 6 vendors there, and they were not pushy at all. They still had some swag to give out which was great (I love myself some tech T-shirts 🙂), but it was very relaxed and casual conversations; not sitting through a 5 minute sales pitch, which was great.

Content and presenters

I’ve been using PowerShell for over a decade and use social media to try and stay up to date with official announcements and unofficial community rumblings. Due to this, I didn’t see too many things from the presentations that I wasn’t already aware of. Almost everything shown was something that I already had experience with, or that I had seen talked about in a social media or blog post at some point. Granted, there were often 5 sessions happening simultaneously and I could only attend one, so I’m sure I missed out on many great things and am looking forward to watching the recordings in the coming weeks. Also, I talked to many people who were newer to PowerShell (1 - 5 years), or who didn’t regularly keep up with the latest tech news, and they were getting a lot of real world value to take home from almost every session. The fact that I didn’t learn as much from many of the sessions is more of a reflection of my experience level and the particular sessions that I chose to attend, not a reflection of the quality of the content or presenters. There were a couple presentations that I did learn quite a lot, such as how to write your own feedback providers, and one on using machine learning in your Prometheus metrics for early anomaly detection and alerting.

Reflecting back, I need to remember to adjust my expectations for this type of conference. At conferences like MS Build or Ignite, there are TONS of new product announcements. In almost every session you learn about something new, because they just built it and are announcing it for the first time. In reality, the entire conference is one big sales pitch to try and sell you on their latest products and features. To get you to buy in and be locked in. This is why they can pour so much money into those huge conferences; they are trying to get you to buy their products.

The PowerShell Summit is nothing like that. They aren’t there to announce a bunch of new features that the PowerShell team created (although there were a few), or to get you to buy a product. It is a conference by the community, for the community, to share knowledge and experiences with each other. And community isn’t something that only happens once a year at the Summit; it happens all year long on social media, the PowerShell forums, the PowerShell Discord server, and blogs. Summit offers the opportunity to meet and interact with this great community in person and to dive deep into topics, which is something that is hard to do asynchronously online.

Much of the session content was a good refresher for me, and I did still learn quite a few new things. Particularly, there were a number of community modules that I had never heard of, or had heard of but never really explored, and getting to see them in action was great. There’s a couple that I’ll be adding to my toolkit. Also, getting to talk with the presenters afterward was valuable as it allowed me to ask questions and dive deeper into the content they delivered.

I must say too that the quality of the presenters was top-notch. I was surprised, considering the majority of them are just other community members like myself. Usually at other conferences there would be at least a couple sessions where I would think to myself, “This person is not cut out for presenting”. I never had that thought once at the Summit. Even if I was already familiar with the content, I still enjoyed the delivery, and found most presenters did a great job answering questions on the spot. I was very impressed.


Speaking of presenting, I also presented a 45 minute session. I was quite nervous beforehand, but had many attendees afterward tell me that they really enjoyed the presentation and thought it went great. I ran a little over my time and had to skip my last two slides, and had a hiccup in my demos where GitHub Actions had a network issue publishing the module to the PowerShell Gallery and had to be reran, but overall I am happy with how everything turned out. I had a number of people ask questions afterward, and had some great conversations later with others about the content.

Dan presenting

Since this was both my first time attending Summit and my first time presenting, I wanted to do something special. I created stickers to promote my tiPS module, and created a few t-shirts to give away to those who asked questions in my session.

tiPS stickers tiPS t-shirt

As a presenter, I’ll say that the process of getting set up and ready to present was easy and very smooth. I’m looking forward to seeing the feedback that attendees left for me, watching the recording once it is posted in a few weeks, and am hoping to present again next year.

Update May 13, 2024: You can now find the recording of my presentation on the PowerShell.org YouTube channel here, and my slide deck here.


So was the conference worth it for me? I would definitely say yes, but for different reasons than the big conferences I had become accustom to. At those conferences I would leave with 20 pages in my notebook of things to try when I get home, because they just released hundreds of new products. At Summit I still had a few pages of things to further investigate, but also had many more people added to my LinkedIn and Twitter to keep in contact with. This conference definitely helped grow my personal network more than any other conference in the past, which is especially important with the waves of layoffs that the tech community has been going through. I liked that I was able to chat with experts and get a couple questions around best practices answered that I had been wondering about. I also had very deep conversations with a handful of individuals, like Chris Masters and DevOps Jeremy. If I attend next year, I’ll probably spend a bit more time in the hallway track, interacting with other community members and having more in-depth conversations with them.

Would I recommend this conference to someone else? Most definitely. While I personally didn’t get as much value from the sessions as I hoped due to my experience level, anyone who is novice to intermediate with PowerShell would definitely get a lot of value from the sessions, and it is a great way to level up their PowerShell skills. And of course, the networking opportunities are great, and it allows you to follow up and dive deep with other community experts to gain more clarity on topics you are interested in.

One of the coolest things about Summit was getting to meet and interact with people that I had been following on Twitter for years. Getting to put a face to the name (as some people use random pics for their online presence), shake their hand, let them know how much I appreciate their contributions, and have real conversations with them was awesome. People like Josh Hendricks, Jeff Hicks, Justin Grote, James Brundage, and many others.

Finally, I must say that Andrew Pla is a machine. Andrew had me as a guest on The PowerShell Podcast a few months ago, and I was excited to meet him in person. After working the PDQ sponsor booth for much of the day during the sessions, he was then doing interviews for several hours every evening for The PowerShell Podcast. I was super grateful for some downtime in the evenings between the sessions ending and the evening activities, but Andrew never seemed to get that and always had to be on. Whatever PDQ is paying him, he deserves a raise!

What was your experience at the PowerShell Summit like? Are you planning to attend next year? Let me know in the comments below.


For those of you who have made it this far, I have a special announcement. I was originally planning to demo this during the lightning demos, but all of the speaker’s lightning demos got bumped off the docket since we received so many attendee submissions, which is great!

The week before Summit I spent a few hours with a proof of concept and released a new module called dumPS. It’s designed to help make exploring and debugging PowerShell from the terminal a bit quicker and easier. It’s still in the early stages and I need to add some better defaults and more functionality to it, but am excited to see where it goes. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Update May 7, 2024: I also wrote this other blog post for my company if you want to read more about my experience.


Jeff Hicks

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. We need content like this to help spread the word. I will have to look for your session once the videos are released on YouTube since I was involved with OnRamp all week.

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