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How We Started All Day DevOps (ADDO) and Attracted 13,000 People

The TL;DR: We founded the world’s largest DevOps community conference over 90 days, attracting more than 13,000 participants in 2016.  The conference still lives on today.


I’m one of the founders of All Day DevOps (ADDO), and I'm glad to share with you the story of how we started this remarkable initiative. Born from a conversation with my co-founder Mark Miller, ADDO has grown into a thriving professional community that brings together tens of thousands of DevOps enthusiasts worldwide. In this blog post, I'll share our origin story and offer some tips on how you can create your own professional community and make a difference.


The Initial Spark

The idea of ADDO came to Mark and me after spending a couple of years in the DevOps community.  We met people in the community traveling to many conferences around the globe but realized the education at these conferences was not scaling to meet the demand of IT professionals wanting to learn more about the topic.

If we did it right, a thousand people would attend.  The largest DevOps conference at the time attracted about 600 people - so attracting 1,000 would be a big accomplishment.


Building Momentum

Our community-oriented approach and commitment to offering DevOps education to the world of IT and development pros fueled our progress. We engaged a few friends and industry influencers to formalize our plan and initiate an online conference that could serve anyone wanting to learn about DevOps. Our aim was simple: gather a bunch of knowledge experts, bring them together online for a conference, make it free to participate, and see what happens. 

We were delighted by the support that came from every corner of the globe!

We put out a call for speakers to attract interest.  

We strategically used email marketing and collaborated with professional groups to promote our event. While we could promote the event, encouraging the community to help us enabled us to grow our potential reach across the community.

Next, the community came to us with the idea of organizing viewing parties in various locations worldwide. It was an excellent way to amplify our reach and foster a sense of global connection.


Utilizing Tools and Platforms

We used a range of tools and platforms to streamline the execution of our vision. We turned to Slack for efficient communication, paper for speaker registration, Eventbrite for attendee registration, for scheduling, and YouTube Livestream for broadcasting our event. 

The specific tools didn’t really matter other than most were free or available at very low cost.


Key Lessons Learned

If you want to embark on your journey to create your own professional community, here are some valuable lessons we learned from the success of ADDO:


  1. Be driven by a clear vision and a strong passion for your cause.
  2. Tap into your network and engage industry influencers to create excitement.
  3. Focus on providing valuable content and experiences that cater to your target audience.
  4. Make use of various tools and platforms to manage your processes efficiently.
  5. Stay adaptable and keep learning from your experiences to foster growth and continuous improvement.


Our journey with All Day DevOps was truly inspiring. We transformed a simple idea, driven by passion and a community-focused approach, into a large-scale event that has made a global impact. By following our approach, you can also create a successful professional community that benefits its members and drives growth in your industry. 

If you want to hear a more detailed version of this blog, tune into Mark’s presentation, where he summarized the origins, the approach, the engagement, and the results.  





It’s a super interesting watch that conveys the growth of the community through regular counts across the 90-day journey that started it all.