There is a lack of actual accessibility to tech conferences. It goes further than mere curb cuts and wheelchair accessibility. When was the last time you saw someone in a wheelchair at a conference anyway? The large halls, crowds of people not used to accommodating the disabled, and often an immune system pushed to its limits keep otherwise able technologists away from conferences. Adding on the stresses of travel only exacerbates this issue.

Diversity includes disability. Keeping conferences accessible to the disabled has many advantages for all conference-goers. I don’t want to miss things when the pandemic becomes endemic.


Managing your travel and conference experience is often stressful and highly erratic. These situations keep the otherwise able technologist away from attending conferences. Getting the most out of a conference usually requires pushing yourself beyond your regular day limits. It’s the nature of tech conferences. But, the pandemic brought conferences to our homes. We could stream the keynotes to a big-screen TV while following along on Twitter and taking notes as we go. We could participate in a conference virtually and manage our disabilities in real life all the same. Plus, risk factors for awful flare-ups of pain or other ailments are mitigated (yes, going to conferences is something I won’t be able to do past some point in the future). Even if you’re at the conference, wouldn’t it be nice to watch the keynotes sipping coffee/tea in your chosen place as you recover from jet lag? You can participate in all the talks you’d like. If you’re in one session and want to listen remotely to another, you can. There are many things virtual conferences enable folks to do where they otherwise wouldn’t be able. Keeping conferences hybrid is advantageous to all.


  • (Three Panels of logos)
  • AWS (eks.news)
  • DevOps’ish
  • chrisshort.net

Expertise in Disabilities

  • Hurt in 2003 during a hurricane evacuation exercise after getting through two wars
  • I’m a service connected, 70% disabled veteran (how you get to 70% is dictated by Congress)
  • https://chrisshort.net/ltn
  • Growing up: Whenever something changed I asked how the day was going to go
  • Anxiety: Growing up the way I did (mother left father to join a cult and took me with her), you lived kinda day to day; my experience in the military reinforced this mindset
  • Variability I can live with; but not accomplishing one thing because something else happened was pretty common
  • PTSD: This was not an issue at first for me; then I read the Snowden leaks and my world began to crumble; I helped enable a lot of the government overreach exposed in the Snowden leaks
  • Coming to grips with it all is a process I’m still learning because every day is something different

How this talk came to be

I’ve had a long run of KubeCons I haven’t left feeling great about. KubeCon EU 2022 in Valencia pushed me over the brink and I ended up flying home two days early. There were a lot of reasons for that. I summed them up in DevOps’ish

How I Hurt Myself

Never underestimate my ability to get home

My first KubeCon, I did it right

San Diego I wrecked myself

  • lesson learned, take Wednesday of KubeCon off
  • not remembering lessons learned after the pandemic
  • why i’m making this a talk now

Since then I’ve been doing it wrong

Table Stakes

Upgrades to help with my disability

Support Systems

  • doctors
  • effective, specific comms for doctors
  • work
  • personal

Related Content