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What Was the First Docker Captain's Summit Like?


Docker held a summit event in Lisbon, Portugal and about 40 captains and employees showed up.

Quick Jump: Scrambling for a Passport | Business and Personal | Preparing for International Travel | Day 1: Getting to Lisbon from NY | Day 2: Welcome to Lisbon | Day 3: The Real Event Day 1 | Day 4: The Real Event Day 2 | Day 5: The End | Video Recap

Prefer video? Here’s a recorded version of this post on YouTube.

This post is going to be mostly related to the personal experience of the trip to give a feel of the event. It will hopefully give insight on some of the things we do as Docker Captains!

Before anything I want to give Docker a huge shout-out for putting this event together.

Scrambling for a Passport

I woke up and saw an invite to the event sitting in my inbox, funny enough this email landed on April 24th which happens to be my birthday. The event was set for June 9th in Lisbon, Portugal which was only a few weeks away.

Instead of overthinking things like I normally do, I internally agreed that as long as I’m really invited then I’m going. This decision was made in seconds. That’s a much more healthy way of operating vs thinking about a million “what ifs” on how things could go wrong or second guessing myself.

It’s interesting how the brain works, at least for me. As soon as I accepted that I was going, then there was nothing to stress about. I immediately went into problem solving mode to figure out how to make all of this work. Now it was a fun adventure / challenge.

Step 1 was getting a passport because I never left the US before. With only about 6 weeks left, I remembered hearing horror stories of it taking 3 or even 6 months to get a passport a while back but I didn’t let that get me down.

The next morning I went to my local post office and asked them what the process looks like. You basically fill out a form, provide your original birth certificate (with the seal) and either supply them a picture or they take your picture there. In NY they said it will take 5-8 weeks but I could get it expedited in 2-3 weeks.

One thing they explicitly mentioned was that 2-3 weeks is the time of when the state receives the request and accepts it. We still had to account for the time it takes to mail in the request and for me to receive the passport in the mail which could be an extra 3-5 days roughly so they gave me an all-in ballpark figure of about a month.

They were quite confident I would receive it by the end of May so I went with the expedited approach. A fallback plan was to visit NYC directly and get it the same day, since that wasn’t necessary I didn’t get the details for that process but it’s good to know it exists.

It was $242 in the end for everything which includes the passport, the $60 expedited fee, the application processing fee and for them to provide a photo. I only included the amount because it was originally positioned as $130 + $60, I didn’t know about the other fees until I had to pay for it. It lasts for 10 years and unlocks traveling most of the world, it’s worth it.

The turn around time was pretty quick I must say. I scheduled an appointment with them to take my photo and process my passport application the next day so I grabbed (2) applications, went home, filled it out and came back the next day with everything. Taking the photo only took a minute or so and the whole process was maybe 15 minutes.

I took (2) applications because there’s a number of fields you need to fill out and you can’t cross anything out so I grabbed a second copy in case I made a mistake. I didn’t make any mistakes but it was nice to have the backup if needed.

The scary thing is you need to mail in your original birth certificate with the form and she told me it usually takes an extra month to get it back. I half jokingly said, the US post office has never lost any of my mail yet, hopefully we continue that streak. She then joked around and said to never joke about losing mail when it comes to your birth certificate. Agreed!

It all worked in the end. I ended up getting the passport delivered to me on May 8th and got my birth certificate back about 2 weeks after. Ok, problem number 1 is solved. I can legally enter Europe. Now I have 1 month to figure out what I want to do.

Business and Personal

The event was technically June 10th and June 11th with extra travel days on the 9th and 12th. The idea was folks traveling from the US would catch a late night flight on Saturday June 8th to arrive in Lisbon in the morning of June 9th.

The summit event timeline looked like this:
  • Saturday, June 8th: Travel day in
  • Sunday, June 9th: Arrivals and a captain’s dinner in the evening
  • Monday, June 10th: Event day 1
  • Tuesday, June 11th: Event day 2
  • Wednesday, June 12th: Travel day out

I asked Docker if it would be possible to combo a personal trip with the summit event. They said as long as the flight prices were comparable it’s no problem. I should mention Docker did cover the round trip air fare and all nights in a very very nice Sheraton hotel (more on that later).

I figured maybe I could turn this into a 16 day event which is 2 business weeks with 3 weekends. My initial idea was to fly out on the 8th, do the summit and then take ~12 days to solo around some of Europe.

Given this was my first international travel experience I didn’t know what to expect. Options were to fly or take high speed trains to a bunch of places for only 1-2 days each, or spend more time in Portugal and maybe western Spain. I ended up going with option 2. I’ll spare you the gory details on the personal trip but I went into hardcore research mode and ultimately landed on:

  • Fly from Lisbon to Seville, Spain on June 12th
  • Take a bus to Lagos, Portugal on June 15th
  • Take a bus to Lisbon, Portugal on June 18th
  • Fly home on June 23rd


That provided quite a few days to visit some great places and take a few day trips along the way. I only pre-booked that flight to Spain and the hotels, then got a rough set of bullet points of what I wanted to do, then played it by ear. It all worked out in the end and I’m very happy with how it went. I highly recommend that triangle loop for that amount of time.

But, I will say as I was booking things about 2 weeks before the trip I kept thinking I was going to wake up and see an email from Docker saying I wasn’t invited anymore or the event was canceled or moved. It was like some weird type of impostor syndrome. Why the heck would they want to invite me?

Booking the Plane Tickets

Docker provided a virtual credit card and asked us to book economy seats for whatever days makes sense as long as you’re available on June 9th through all of June 11th.

I ended up going with TAP Air Portugal which had direct flights both ways.

On Saturday June 8th, it flew out of JFK at 10:05pm EST arriving at LIS at 10:05am. On the way back it was flying out of LIS on June 23rd at 5:05pm arriving in JFK at 8:05pm EST.

The times were quite nice. It avoided needing to wake up at crazy hours to get there 3 hours early for an international flight.

Another option was Delta but the flight home was at 8am which would have meant getting to the airport at 5am which means leaving my hotel at 4:30am which means waking up at 3:45am to get cleaned up and triple check everything is packed. No thanks!

Preparing for International Travel

I’m going to make a separate post on this related to programming but one detail that’s important for this story is international phone access.

My provider offers a $10 / day global pass for international data and calls but a much more cost effective option is to get an eSIM. That ended up being $30 for 12 GB of data which was valid for 14 days. I even got a European phone number with unlimited calls and texts. This was through Orange Travel.

It worked great for the whole trip, but I only bring that up because it was valid for 14 days where as I was going to be out of the US for 16 days. That meant surviving on WiFi for the first 2 days which led to some interesting situations at the summit.

Day 1: Getting to Lisbon from NY

I left my apartment around 5:30pm EST, got to JFK at 7pm to prepare for the 10pm flight and started navigating it for the first time. It was ok. I followed the signs and got through the security check and passport control in about 30 minutes.

For the 16 days I took (2) backpacks (no checked luggage) with 6 pairs of clothes along with my 9 year old Chromebook that I modified to run Linux and a work a laptop which thankfully I never had to turn on.


My thought process was I’d do laundry twice either in the sink of a hotel or if a hotel had a washing machine. I ended up doing both methods. Spoiler alert, washing clothes in a sink sucks. It took forever for things to dry but it did work in the end for T-shirts and shorts.

TAP had pretty strict carry-on size and weight constraints. The under the seat bag couldn’t be more than 2 kg (4.4 pounds) and 40 x 30 x 15cm (16 x 12 x 6”) in size. That was basically a laptop in a small day bag which I wrapped in 2 shirts.

In the end, TAP didn’t even check the dimensions or weight of either bag but it made me feel at ease knowing my bags would be ok if they did spot check them.

The flight was on an A330neo (2-4-2 seat layout) which I must say was really nice:


I don’t like flying at all, but this time around it was ok. I think this goes back to my original thought process of “just doing it” without overthinking things. I truly accepted it because I chose to do it. It needs to be done to achieve what I want to do so why bother worrying about it? That does nothing good for me.

I got randomly assigned to probably the worst seat on the plane which was 1 seat behind the exit row on the right aisle which had a big black box attached to the floor taking up about 25% of my leg room. I’ll also say that the person sitting next to me was let’s say stack overflowing into my seat a little bit.

I made due with this and accepted this was my next 6.5 hours but good fortune quickly arrived because the flight was not full and the exit row ahead of me was open.

I asked the flight attendant if I could move up to that seat and she said no problem. It’s also interesting at how perceptive they are with non-verbal clues. I shifted my eyes in a specific way while making my request and she immediately understood my whole life.

I didn’t make a scene or say anything rude too. I said something like “Hi, I noticed that seat ahead of me isn’t taken, once we reach cruising altitude would it be ok if I moved to it?”.

No one got offended and everyone was happy because we both got what I would consider an upgrade. That was my first time ever sitting in an exit row and I hope to get it every time. You have unlimited leg room. I comfortably sat with every leg position imaginable and felt like a king.

Since it was an overnight flight, they served dinner (I picked chicken and vegetables) after cruising then shut the lights off. I couldn’t sleep but I did put a blanket over my head and closed my eyes for at least 4 hours. I certainly never fell asleep but it was ok.

I just sat back and listened to music for most of the flight. It was perfect timing because as we were taking off, Dickie Allen’s cover of Lorna Shore’s Sun Eater was playing.

About an hour before landing they served a sandwich. I don’t know if it was the A330neo or what but I was feeling surprisingly good and refreshed. I remember flying in the past where my ears were really clogged for almost a day, this time around it was fine. By the time we landed my hearing was 100% normal.

I’d happily choose TAP Air Portugal again and hope to get the same or similar plane.

I don’t want to say anything too crazy yet but I think my fear of flying is gone. I’ll gladly go anywhere to meet anyone. I know, I need to settle down because let’s see how I’d feel after a 12 or 15 hour flight, 6.5 is still rookie numbers!

Day 2: Welcome to Lisbon

This is day 2 from a human perspective but this continues from the flight from yesterday, now it’s June 9th around 10:20am Lisbon time.

Getting through passport control was an experience. The electronic passport reader wasn’t working in Lisbon’s airport at the time so there were pretty long lines. It was over an hour. I didn’t leave the airport doors until about 12:30pm. We all got stuck like this.

On the bright side, my passport got officially stamped by another country.

This is also where the fun began. The airport had WiFi but I had no active plan since I didn’t want to activate my eSIM for a few days.

I did look things up beforehand to know I needed to take the red line metro from the airport to the Sheraton hotel with a bit of walking. It was up to us to figure out this transportation since we were all arriving at different times.

Originally Çiğdem and I were chatting on Slack a little bit before the event. We had a shared captains chat for the event and we were all posting our arrival times. Our flights were arriving at about the same time so we decided it would be nice to meet up in the airport. She also had no active SIM card.

With my flight being a little delayed and the long passport line, we weren’t able to get in touch on Slack at the airport. One mistake I made was not asking for her flight details because then I could have monitored the board.

In Slack over the airport’s WiFi I announced I was about to try and find the red line if anyone wants to meet up or happens to be around. This ended up being kind of funny because I couldn’t leave the airport to goto the metro because I had no SIM card.

So I had to send messages like “hey, if anyone wants to meet, I have a black shirt on and a hat with 2 backpacks. I’ll be in front of the metro outside a minute from now but I can’t read your reply because the WiFi doesn’t reach outside of the airport”.

This reminded me of the old days where people played chess over physical mail. You’d send your move, wait 2 weeks and then react.

After doing this a few times and checking Slack I did come across a decent sized group of captains who were there. It was interesting because I haven’t met anyone before so I didn’t really know what they look like.

I ended up meeting Nirmal, Edith and Eric and Edith posted a picture of her luggage saying she’s on the way. I was literally looking for a piece of luggage pulled by woman named Edith:


Speaking of luggage, Nirmal had a substantial suitcase. He mentioned working at AWS so I asked him if he brought all of us-east-1 with him. There’s no picture of this because no camera invented on this planet could have captured its presence.

We met up and made our way on the metro which was nice. You didn’t even need a special card or ticket. You can tap your card or phone right at the entry way gate. About 25 minutes later we arrived at the hotel.

Given I was up since 6am EST June 8th and now it’s about 1pm June 9th, checking in and taking a shower felt like a good idea so I did that. There’s no way I was going to take a nap or sleep because I didn’t want to mess up my schedule, somehow I wasn’t tired at all too.

I’ll admit it took me longer than it should have to figure out how to turn the lights on. Yes, you need to insert your room card into the slot. The room was great:


After getting cleaned up I sent a message in Slack asking if anyone wants to grab lunch.

Yhary and Edith responded so we walked around for a bit. We found a park about 10 minutes from the hotel and then grabbed lunch at a kebab / gyro place:


After that we walked around Lisbon for a bit and got back to the hotel in time for the captain’s dinner which was 6pm until 8:30pm.

I was immediately impressed by Europe. There was so much history in plain sight. Half the buildings were probably older than the whole US with statues everywhere.

Captain’s Dinner

At this point pretty much all of us arrived. Docker coordinated a nice dinner for the first travel day. It was really cool. It was on the roof top of the hotel, but enclosed in windows so it wasn’t windy. We had a great view of Lisbon:


There were all sorts of interesting appetizers, food and drinks:


We all had a chance to meet and have fun for a few hours:


It was a really enjoyable time. We all got goodie bags that came with a shirt and pretty sweet name tags. If you look carefully at Marco’s, he decided to amend his name:


We’ll see if that is legally binding in Italy which is where he lives:


Before we left the dinner area, we all took a group shot:


After the dinner ended at about 8:30pm we hung out in the lobby for a while. Most folks traveling in today have been up for over 24 hours if they couldn’t sleep on their plane so we were looking forward to a little sleep before the first “real” event day.

I fell asleep around 11pm and woke up around 6am feeling good. There was no jet lag at all. Lisbon is +5 hours ahead of NY for reference.

Here’s the Agenda Provided by Docker for the Summit


Besides eating most time slots were in the hotel’s conference rooms.

I really like how it was broken up. The days were action packed but it never felt tiring or boring. We had long breakfasts and the presentations were very open to live Q / A. We got to learn about new offerings from Docker and provide feedback as well.

In my opinion it was a near perfect balance of everything. All of the event coordinators from Docker did a great job – seriously!

The hack day sessions were my favorite because it gave us an opportunity to work together on something Docker related. There was also an ample amount of time to not feel rushed.

Speaking of ample time, the days ended early enough to have fun outside of the hotel too. On that 2nd day, some of us walked around for like 6 hours after the event and discovered many things along the way.

While I won’t be posting details about the technical presentations we will be covering a number of things from the agenda and more.

Day 3: The Real Event Day 1

The day started with breakfast. Çiğdem and I decided to meet for breakfast early at 7am. She flew in from Türkiye and had an even longer travel day with a connecting flight.

I haven’t been to many hotels but the breakfast buffet here was impressive:


Çiğdem was a breakfast specialist and suggested a number of different fruits, nuts and cheeses. I tried everything and it was really good. I forgot what type of cheese that thinly sliced cheese was but wow I need to find it again.

As for what’s on the plate. I believe it was eggs, avocado, assorted cheeses, figs, dates, dried apricots, raisins, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews, hazel nuts and a local Portuguese pastry that was really nice.

I never drank coffee in my life but I got mildly peer pressured into trying it. I ended up drinking a few sips plain with no milk or sugar. I will say coffee doesn’t taste like it smells but I can see the appeal to its taste. I will try it again.

Within an hour or so the buffet area was swarmed by Docker captains.

This sign was also posted in the lobby. This was pretty close to where the buffet was:



After breakfast we all made our way into one of the conference rooms.

The event started off with a bang doing “Powerpoint Karaoke” as an ice breaker.

I’ve never heard of it before but basically Docker had a number of presentation slide decks arranged for later but they asked us to come up and give an ad hoc improvised talk about those slides but in a funny way.

I didn’t find any photos of this so this photo is already well into the event, but it gives an idea of what the conference room looked like:


A number of folks volunteered and spent about 5 minutes making up some pretty amusing scenarios. Nirmal was running around the room like an over the top inspirational speaker, hopefully someone posts videos of that at some point.

Speed Networking

Another fun concept of day 1 was a tech spin on speed dating. We all sat around a big U shaped table and took turns switching chairs every few minutes. This gave us an opportunity to meet and chat with a bunch of different people.

One of the goals here was to find common tech interests for future collaborations.

This was a good concept, but I think the implementation was tricky to pull off. Everyone was in 1 room talking quite loudly and some folks speak very softly or had a pretty strong accent since we came from all over the world. It made it kind of difficult to hear some folks.

We all met around 10 people. Fortunately I was able to make out everything for the most part but it was a struggle at times. I’m not sure how to improve this because part of the appeal is easy access to everyone in 1 room.

A couple of folks brought up similar issues, but in the end I’d say it was a net win and is worth exploring again in the future.

TestContainers Demo

I personally haven’t used TestContainers yet but it was nice to see Oleg provide some background information on them as well as give us a live demo. I’m going to have to check it out in more detail.

This demo made me think it might be time to format my Chromebook and find a different Linux distro. GalliumOS was great all those years ago but it’s been discontinued. It’s basically stuck running a Chromebook optimized version of xubuntu 18.04 which doesn’t support modern versions of Docker so I wasn’t able to follow along.

Thankfully Çiğdem and I were neighbors for this demo and we shared her laptop. It turned out to be beneficial because we were both troubleshooting some of the demo steps which we did get to run in the end:



We ate an early breakfast and ~5 hours later it was lunch time. All of us sat at pretty big lunch tables in the buffet area. I don’t have pictures of it, but most tables sat probably 8-10.

There were a number of interesting selections, including fish, meat and vegetables:


I decided to try a bunch of things, although I forgot what those orange “things” are in the middle. The were like some type of fruit / nut combo. Pretty good!

Hack Day

Docker gave us a few prompts to pick from. Çiğdem and I decided to do a “this or that” Docker themed video. She posted it on her YouTube channel:

We brainstormed 10 or so choices and then went to the other empty conference room, propped her phone up on a water glass, tried to frame it the best we could and recorded it.

Then we found a mobile video editor that made it easy to add text labels and didn’t insert ads into the final video. It’s interesting, I learned she does video courses too so we both have video recording experience.

I have to say, this was a blast to record. We tried so many silly things.

There was also a professional videographer who recorded short sessions with some of us. Both of us recorded a few videos with him. I imagine Docker will post those eventually.

One of them was another this or that style video and the other was asking us questions about what Docker is and how you would describe this event to non-technical folks.

Boat Ride

After that we all met in the lobby around 5pm to take a big bus to the marina for a boat trip. This was a very nice unexpected surprise. It was the only time we left the hotel as a group.


It was a 2 hour ride on the river which showcased a bunch of great scenic spots. They also served snacks such as cheese, grapes, crackers and drinks.



Of course shipping containers were involved:


As far as I saw no one got sick. The water was pretty calm but I will admit it was a little rocky at the start. Thankfully I don’t get motion sickness on boats but it was weird, later that night when I was laying down to sleep it did feel like the Earth was moving. It was soothing.

Docker got us there by bus but we were on our own to get back to the hotel. We were about 45 minutes or so from foot or 20 minutes by metro, but it was only 8pm.

We all broke up into small groups and went off in our own directions.

Walking Back to the Hotel

Marco, Çiğdem, Julien, Rachid and I walked around while chatting about whatever came up while we enjoyed the scenery.

Julien was giving us a history lesson about certain historic sights as we passed them. However, we soon realized his facts were complete bullshit so he earned the well deserved title of the “best worst tour guide” in Lisbon.

On the way, we found a clothing vendor who clearly likes shell scripting:


At this point it was maybe 9pm or so and while we all had a good lunch, most of us were getting a little hungry.

While walking around, we ended up meeting up with Don, his wife, Michael and Julian (who is different than Julien btw). We all decided to try pizza in Portugal and found a place that had an open table for all of us.

Most of us ordered personal pizzas of different types.

Çiğdem and I weren’t super hungry so we decided to split one. We wanted to try pineapple and mushrooms, why not!


The presentation was “interesting”.

Julian ordered a pitcher of Sangria which I never had before. Thanks for picking that up. I’m not a fan of drinking wine but I’m happy to have had an opportunity to try it.

The pizza was about average, most of us rated it about 6 / 10.

As Marco is from Italy we asked his opinion. He was so nice about it, saying things like “it was pizza”. Eventually when we left the restaurant he gave it a 2 / 10.

Still, it was an enjoyable experience. It was all about the company, the food was a side effect. Also, since we’re from a number of different countries we had a chance to look at each other’s physical money.

Up until this trip I’ve never seen another currency in real life except maybe for a few pesos. I did pickup $50 euros before the trip in cash but Çiğdem showed us some money from Türkiye which was pretty cool.

I don’t think anyone got a picture of that, but here’s a photo from Google:


I had a US quarter which I gave to her as a souvenir. It was a good example of how common something is for someone but so unique and interesting for someone else. Marco was looking at it with such intensity and interest as if came from an alien spaceship. I don’t blame him haha, it was the same for me seeing other currencies. I spent like a solid minute investigating euro bills when I got them.

After dinner we made our way back to our hotel rooms for the night.

Day 4: The Real Event Day 2

Like the first day, it started with a 7am breakfast. We both had similar things as the first day except more assorted fruits.

Going Up in Front of Everyone

Before the summit, Alba asked if anyone wanted to talk a bit about doing contract work. Çiğdem, Julien, Rachid and I volunteered to do it.

There were no slides needed. The expectation is a few of us go up and chat for a few minutes about 2-3 topics around the idea of “top 10 things I wish I knew before starting in consulting”.

The 2 topics I picked were:

  • Charging based on the value you provide
  • Putting yourself in a position to be labeled as “the problem solver”

It’s funny. I’ve recorded like 300+ unscripted YouTube videos and 100+ podcast episodes with different guests but I’ve still never given a talk in front of a live audience. I’ve done a few online talks but that’s just not the same.

I figured it was time for some personal growth and this was a perfect chance. Sure it was being recorded but it was for a few minutes about topics I know inside and out and at this point everyone in the room felt like a friend.

I didn’t plan anything other than writing those 2 bullets out in our private group Slack. That was to ensure we all picked different topics.

One theme of this trip for me was avoid overthinking things and just do it:


I trusted that my brain would be able to come up with something. I’m not sure if it will be posted but my memory of it felt decent. I don’t think I did amazing but I don’t think I tanked it. The most important thing is I didn’t feel nervous. Standing up there with a bunch of cameras and 40+ people in the room had zero impact on my heart rate, I don’t think 400 or 4,000 people would have made a difference.

It’s all about how confident and conformable you are with the material you’re talking about. In my mind that’s a purely internal process. The external world does not affect that.

I hope Docker does more things like this because it’s a very good activity to get people used to speaking in front of a live group. I’ll certainly do it again if given an opportunity.

I will say this though, certain areas of your brain shut down in situations like this. Alba had our Slack DM up on her laptop so we could all see our bullets.

I tried scrolling down to see mine for the 2nd bullet and tried to use my finger to scroll the screen. In my defense I don’t really use a laptop so I don’t use trackpads much but I mean, I know how trackpads work haha. However my brain was too focused on being up there to solve extremely complex technical tasks like scrolling down in Slack chat.

Çiğdem sat this one out as she was feeling a bit under the weather. Being sick, going up in front of everyone and live converting Turkish to English is a lot to ask.

A number of folks had a sore throat, sniffles and overall didn’t feel great that day. Fortunately I didn’t get too sick. I ended up getting a mild 2 day sore throat and sniffles about a week later but it went away quickly and didn’t impact my trip.

After this, another group of captains went up to chat about different topics.

Docker Product Overview

This talk is under NDA as it included a number of roadmap items. Exciting times ahead!

Product Feedback Session

We broke up into self-regulated teams of 4-5 on our own and came up with a few ways to improve Docker’s ecosystem of tools and services.

I liked this event. It got us working together as a group to work towards a common goal while having a time constraint of 45 minutes. We had certain folks on the team perform a specific task like making sure we’re on pace to complete the task, dictate notes, etc..

Our team was Don, Çiğdem, Camilla, Rossana, and myself. I’m basing that on a visual scene I have in my head where Don was sitting across from me. Then I was sitting next to Çiğdem. Camilla was to our right and Rossana was at the end of the table. I hope that’s right, I am writing this almost 3 weeks after the event after having done a whirlwind of a personal trip after the summit.

Beyond that, our team name was “flock of seagulls”. Each team had their own spreadsheet with their details. We also gave a summary of our findings at the end.

In the end, this may result in a few changes to some of Docker’s offerings.

Korean Candies

Eva has been traveling the world for years. She recently went to Korea and brought a few bags of treats. She positioned it as a grab bag where she went around the room and let us blindly pick something.

I didn’t take a picture of it, but I got some type of Korean candy corn. It was both sweet and salty. It was one of those things where it wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t want to have more than a few. It had a unique taste, that’s for sure.


Like the first day, we had a nice hotel buffet lunch. Beyond that, some of us shared some of the different candies we got right before lunch.

Korean Candies (Part 2)

Eva was standing around with another bag of goodies after lunch.

We don’t have dedicated pictures of what we got but here’s a picture that shows both. Çiğdem got a stuffed animal which you can see in front of her laptop. I got Korean instant noodles which is in front of the 2 water cups on the right with the green lid:


I haven’t had instant Ramen in a long time but I was looking forward to trying these out. When I picked it out of the bag, I said out loud something like “wow, this is great, I like instant noodles, I can’t wait to try them” while proudly showing it to like 4 people.

There’s the problem though, a few hours later I learned it was a collagen face mask and that 2nd bag of goodies wasn’t candy or food but instead it was makeup and things mostly aimed at the women of the group.

Later I learned that when I picked it, Eva was standing there in total silence with a dead straight face thinking “wow, Nick must really care about keeping his face clean”. I can’t believe no one corrected me on the spot haha, damn you Eva! I spent half the day excited to try noodles either at home or if one of the other hotels had a microwave.

The messed up thing is, if no one told me and I opened it and didn’t see noodles, I would have thought it might have been seaweed or another Korean snack and would have still tried to eat it.

I don’t know what the inside of it looks like because I gave it to Çiğdem and she saved it for home. I hope it was nice!

But seriously, look at the above picture. Are you telling me that doesn’t look exactly like an instant noodles package? Yes, it does.

This was a great reminder of the dangers of internal bias. The first bag was snacks, I was absolutely convinced the 2nd bag was too. I don’t know why Çiğdem’s stuffed animal didn’t register as a non-food item, my brain completely filtered it out.

The really messed up thing is later on in the trip when I was off on my own, one hotel left this next to bottled water:


I thought to myself, wow how nice of them to leave complementary Portuguese white chocolate. Nope, it’s soap. Apparently I have a problem with not reading labels and easily jumping to incorrect conclusions.

Hack Day

This was a video heavy session that was really fun.

First, the professional videographer was recording some of us providing information like what our name is, what Docker is to us and how it helps us. Çiğdem and I both did this along with a bunch of other captains.

After that, we did another this or that video with the videographer. That was only a few minutes. It was set up much differently than our one from yesterday. It was fun. That video isn’t posted yet but the idea is it will include a bunch of shots from all of the captains who participated. I’ll update this post when it’s available.

Lastly, Çiğdem and I wanted to plan a multi-captain video around the idea of “what’s in your tech stack?”. That was one of the prompts provided by Docker to make a video on.

We planned it out with the idea that we’ll find 10 or so captains and ask each of them what they would use for 1 component of their tech stack to take a product from development to production. For example, what programming language, database, cloud provider, logging solution, etc. would you use.

Çiğdem went down the line and asked everyone for their answer:


Huge shout-out to her! She had to say and remember a lot. She did all of that with minimal to no preparation and didn’t even have to look at her notes.

All things considered it went smoothly, thanks to everyone who participated.

I tend to be a perfectionist but this was a nice change of pace to see how quickly something can come together and get produced.

A rough timeline was Çiğdem and I figured out what we wanted to ask for maybe 10-15 minutes, then we started to think about who we wanted to ask for each prompt which quickly transformed into finding anyone available because we had to work within the time constraints of the videographer who was making other videos.

Before we knew it, we were running around asking captains if they wanted to be in a video while we herded everyone into an empty conference room and then we explained the idea.

I’ll post the “real” video here once it’s available.

I mentioned the “real” video because while we were getting everyone and everything together, Oleg wanted to have some fun so we recorded a behind the scenes edition:

As you can see, we take ourselves very seriously.

Wrapping the Event Up

This event day ended at 5pm with a closing presentation. Some of us said goodbye in case we didn’t see each other on the next day which is when most folks traveled out.

We also had a chance to get one last farewell picture as a group:


Exploring Lisbon for Our Last Night

Çiğdem mentioned she researched a few things and wanted to check out Belem tower and a monastery next to it. Sounds good to me, I also had those as bullet points for when I was looking for things to do in Lisbon.

At this point I activated my eSIM so I was finally able to use the internet away from the hotel. We would definitely need that because getting there involved quite a bit of walking and taking a train.

We asked around if anyone wanted to join us. Some folks wanted to eat, others wanted to swim in the hotel pool or find more active nightlife activities. Julien was up for it so the 3 of us left the hotel around 5:30pm.

For reference, Google maps said it was a 2+ hour walk but you can cut that down to 1 hour with the train:


We decided to play it by ear and walk until we got tired of walking. It’s about a 45 minute walk down to the river from the hotel and from there there’s multiple train stops that lead to Belem tower.

We had an enjoyable walk down the river, we even stumbled upon a live band:


And one of our photos got accidentally (read: perfectly) photo bombed by a pigeon:


Speaking of pigeons, after I got home one of my friends asked me what was the most unexpected sound you heard during the trip. It was definitely the pigeons. They have an accent compared to NY. In my mind the pigeons have a French accent but I can’t explain why they sound French.

We decided to keep walking and only took the train when we noticed the next stops were quite far. We wanted to make sure we got to the tower and monastery with enough day light to see them.

It was a cool walk though, we crossed through a little park and saw this:


We looked it up and it might have originated from Thailand, but then again Julien looked it up and if you remember he was our best worst tour guide. However in this case, it’s true. It’s the Pavilhão Sala Thai.

There’s no pictures of the train but that was a fun experience. We entered at a small train station that only had a kiosk to buy the tickets so we figured that out and made sure we got on the right track because that train goes in both directions.

I’m not used to using trains, especially not in Europe. We each bought our own 1 way tickets which turned out to be valid both ways. It seems the ticket’s validity is based on a timer, not taking 1 specific trip. There was a machine to check if it was valid.

We arrived at the Belem train station and found the tower. Unfortunately it along with the monastery were closed since it was after 7pm but this turned out to be kind of nice because it was really empty.

I don’t know how but none of us took a picture of the tower at the time. I ended up taking this one later on during my solo trip which is why it’s so cloudy:


After that we went to Belem’s famous pastry shop. The wait was over an hour to sit down but thankfully you can go to a different line to buy them to eat outside, the line took 2 minutes. Here’s Çiğdem ordering a sleeve of 3 for us to share:



They were really good. If other captains are reading this, there were smaller versions of this at the hotel but these were on a different level. They were warm, easily a 9 / 10. Beyond the pastry they also gave you cinnamon you can sprinkle on. We all tried it with cinnamon.

Julien also tried some type of doughnut that had custard in the middle. He shared it with us, it was also good. I can see why this bakery is so popular.

After that pre-dinner snack we found our way to the monastery:


It was impressive. There was so much intricate detail on the walls and towers:


It also had a really well kept garden to walk around which we passed through:


After that we decided to hop back on the train and take it closer to the main city area where we casually walked around until we found a spot to eat dinner.

We didn’t take a picture of the place but it was nice, at this point it was getting dark out and we sat outside where they had fireplaces and other yellow lights.

We ordered a few things. Julien went for fried octopus and cuttlefish, Çiğdem got some type of meat dish. I tried a burger with an egg on top but didn’t take a picture. We all shared a little bit of each, it was a nice time:


Here’s Julien devilishly eating our good friend Docker Compose:


After that we walked our way back up to the hotel. Julien’s phone battery was running at 1% for a while so I took over navigating. It’s a good thing I activated my eSIM!

The city was really nice at night, we even saw a pay phone lurking in the shadows:


It was 11pm or so by the time we got back. Other captains were already in the lobby.

Day 5: The End

At this point the event was technically over and it was the travel day out for everyone not staying extra days on their own.

We had our last hotel breakfast and we said farewell to a few captains who were leaving.

After that Çiğdem and I decided to visit a park that was pretty close to the hotel to walk around for a bit. Lisbon has a lot of hills and steps so be prepared for that if you ever go.

We didn’t stay too long because Eva mentioned leaving at 11am and we wanted to meet up. This is what the hotel looked like from the outside btw:


I was flying out at 3:25pm for a domestic flight to Spain. Çiğdem had a 4:25pm international flight back home so our times were pretty aligned to goto the airport at the same time. James also had a flight around then so we all shared a Uber there.

We tried to use Bolt (Portugal’s alternative to Uber) but for some reason it never confirmed our ride. We tried a few times.

The Uber driver was really nice. He accommodated for James by finding a secret entrance to terminal 1 that had no stairs and he even drove me down to terminal 2 which was a decent ways off (~5-7 minutes). Airport roads are crazy, so many circles and loops.

It was too bad our terminals were split. Both of them were taking international flights so they were at terminal 1 where as I was at terminal 2. That basically means we had to part ways early. I ended up passing through security and everything else in like 20 minutes so I was sitting there for over 2 hours.

Here you can see it’s not even 2pm yet:


On the bright side, I didn’t have to think about missing my flight and I would surely rather be early than late when talking about flying.

Thanks again to Eva (left, right is Camilla):


And of course Fotini (front), Shannyn and everyone else at Docker for putting this together:


I had the best time and really hope we have another summit and wake up one day with an invite to it. It was nice to meet everyone I’ve seen on Slack and Zoom over the years. I can’t believe I never went to a live event or DockerCon prior to this, here’s to next time!

The video below is talking over this post with a bit more detail, but there’s no extra footage or photos.

Video Recap


  • 0:45 – Scrambling for a passport
  • 5:22 – Business and personal?
  • 9:42 – SIM cards
  • 11:16 – Day 1: Lisbon to NY
  • 18:01 – Day 2: Welcome to Lisbon
  • 22:19 – Captain’s dinner
  • 25:49 – Day 3: Event day 1
  • 31:12 – This or that video
  • 36:58 – Day 4: Event day 2
  • 41:53 – Korean candies
  • 45:52 – What’s in your tech stack?
  • 47:56 – Our last night in Lisbon
  • 54:17 – Day 5: The end

Have you been to Lisbon, what did you do there? Let us know below.

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