AWS offers its usual re:Invent justification letter to get your boss to let you attend re:Invent. As per my annual re:Quinnvent tradition, I’ve modified it slightly and sent it to my business partner:

Dearest Mike Julian,

I’d like your blessing and permission to attend AWS re:Invent 2021, Nov. 29 – Dec. 3 in Las Vegas. Attending this conference will be beneficial to both my personal growth and our company’s cloud knowledge in the following ways:

Boost proficiency in core AWS services, like Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon RDS, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Route 53, AWS You’ve Already Stopped Reading, and Amazon Aurora. How attending a conference will make me better at wrangling specific cloud services eludes me like a good service name eludes an AWS product manager, but I’m not one to say the quiet part out loud when asking for something.

Get educated on technical best practices at over 1,500 breakout sessions that I will absolutely not be attending on topics such as cloud architecture, continuous deployment, security and identity, large-scale migrations, machine learning and its assorted scams, and more. Further, we’ll pretend that they’re not all going to be on YouTube the following week.

Gain valuable hands-on experience at technical bootcamps, self-paced labs, two-hour workshops, and hackathons, which I can bring back to my team. If I attempt to bring hotel fixtures back to my team, I’ll gain valuable hand-to-hand combat experience with casino security as they feed me my own ass.

And lastly, spending time in person with thousands of other people during a pandemic in a city specializing in catering to folks with poor risk assessment means that there’s a decent chance I’ll soon be conveniently out of your way entirely.

Here’s an estimated breakdown of costs from Amazon:

Domestic airfare estimate: $600

Hotel (five nights at the average re:Invent rate): $187 per night/$935 + tax

Registration fee: $1,799

Total: $3,334

And here are the adjustment of those costs from my booking

Domestic airfare estimate: I’m flying an airline intended for people instead of livestock.

Hotel: What I lose in the nightly rate, I gain in not having to pay for a 30 mile taxi ride from a Very Off Strip hotel. Further, I’ve opted for “less likely to be stabbed while checking in.” I assure you, I’m as surprised as you to discover that checkbox on the hotel booking page.

Registration fee: I’ve paid this with AWS credits. They can’t call shenanigans on it without bringing the whole scam crashing down.

Spite: We have an entire budget line item for this in our company budget. It’s going to need to be expanded significantly for 2022.

After the conference, I will circulate a report that will include a summary of what I learned and a set of recommendations to mitigate risk and help with our compliance efforts for our company. Further, I will whitelabel this report and make it available for sale to others who want to pretend that they were paying attention. Lastly, AWS will circulate its own internal Cause of Error or CoE that will attempt to figure out how they can bar my entry to re:Invent 2022.

Thank you for considering my request to attend this event.

Hugs, Puppies, and looking forward to your reply.

Corey Quinn

P.S. It’s not really a request because I’m not asking.