Dev tools at conferences examples


Big Lego set giveaway from Sigma Computing

Instead of giving away hundreds of small things that people will forget give away one thing that leaves an impression.

And a huge LEGO set is a great candidate for that one big thing. There is a big overlap between devs and folks who love LEGOs. They are both builders after in their hearts.

Now, some important considerations:

  • Create a giveaway so that you can still get all your badge scanned, social mentions, GitHub stars KPIs
  • Make the prize visible to conference participants. Put it out there. Make it obvious.
  • Make participating relatively easy to complete.

You need to commit to it too.

Don't do 3 different things like that at a conference. Focus on one play like this at a time and try other cool ideas at another conference.

Folks from Sigma Computing ticked all these boxes.  Love it!


Coconut water giveaway from Datafold

Thinking about your next conference giveaway idea?

How about a coconut? Datafold did just that!

Coconut + logo burned on it + a person who can open them up


A memorable, shareable, fresh (literally), and wholesome conference experience.

And I bet it didn't cost an arm and a leg too.

It goes to show how creativity matters when planning those things.

Thinking about doing a similar thing in Poland... with potatoes of course ;)


Swag donations

What if your next swag was a donation? That's what Cockroach Labs did.

Ok, so the typical way of doing swag at a conference is to give out t-shirts for badge scans.

And then folks either wear them or throw them away (or keep wearing them when they should have thrown them away but that is another story).

After the conference you take leftovers with you, ship them home or, you guessed it, throw them away.

A lot of throwing away for a badge scan if you ask me.

Cockroach Labs decided to do something completely different.

They donate a few $ to a great charity @Women Who Code for every badge scan they get.
I love it.

An extra benefit (and where the idea originated) is that with this, you can do virtual badge scans too.


Swag with CTAs from

How to get more ROI from your dev conference booth? -> Add obvious CTAs.

Yes, giveaway stuff.

Yes, make it nice and branded.

Yes, make it funny, shareable, and cool.

But give people an easy and obvious option to give back and support you and your goals.

I really liked how approached it at the recent MLOps World conference:

  • A simple folded paper info with CTAs right next to your giveaway
  • CTAs to GitHub stars, Linkedin, and Slack community

Just a nice little tactic but I bet it squeezed a bit more of that ROI juice that we all need in 2023 ;)


Speed Tetris at the booth from Storyblok

Conference activation idea: Tetris competition at the booth.

It is hard to get devs to your booth if all you offer is a "do you want to see a quick demo" spiel.

You need to get a bit more creative than that.

💚 The team at Storyblok ran a Tetris competition:

  • Playing station at the booth to make sure people come by
  • Live leaderboard for when people were not playing + to get folks to play again
  • Branding around the playing station for those who take photos to share it on socials
  • A cool devy prize (mechanical keyboard) to build some additional reason to play talk about it

Afaik it was a big hit and I can definitely see why.

📒 A few more notes:

  • make it live at the booth, not available online -> you'll get no buzz for it otherwise (made this mistake)
  • try to get organizers to give you a few minutes of the schedule to give away prizes
  • if you can connect the game to your product in a memorable way do that.  

btw, I read about it on DX Tips. You want to check out that article on dev conferences from DX Tips