.conf20 Boss of the NOC: 7 Tips & Tricks to Ace The Game

You've signed up and built a team for Boss of the NOC (aka BOTN) at .conf20. Great! “But what happens next?,” you ask? More importantly, you're (hopefully) wondering, “How do I win?”. Don't worry, we have you covered. The tips below — while they can't guarantee a win — will certainly not hurt. Read up and get ready to giddy-up, Buttercup! 

Before we dive into that though, remember the four principles behind BOTN events:

1. Come to learn
2. Embrace some (friendly) competition
3. See real-world application in a not-so-real game world, and most of all, remember number
4. Have fun! Please enjoy your time at BOTN and if for any reason you aren't, talk to a coach


Welcome to BOTN at .conf20!   

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!: Schedule prep calls to make sure your team is ready, read up on any existing blogs/materials, and keep an eye on upcoming blogs which may contain hints on what else to study up on. Also look for an easter egg in one of these blogs and that will get you off to a great start with some sweet bonus points.

2. Team Setup: This year you can configure your team through a self-service registration site. Make sure you have your team’s configured/setup and are ready for fun!

3. Team Roles & Responsibilities: Plan on who is going to focus on what ahead of time. A breakdown of common roles is listed below, though you may find something different that works better for your team:

  • Scorer: team member who is responsible for entering the answer.  Doesn’t have to be one person, but it’s a good idea to have one or two people to help manage the workload. 
  • Searcher: team member who just wants to search for Root Cause or the crux of the problem. 
  • Episode owner: team member who understands the episode in and out,someone who did more than skim the episode description. Each Episode will have a backstory, and it’s up to the “Episode master” to understand it and use that knowledge to direct the “Searchers” on what to search for. 

4. I feel the need, the need for SPEED!:  Remember the speed bonus? Haven’t heard of it? Answer the questions as quickly as possible and you might just score more for being quick.  

5. Feeling stuck?: Don’t be afraid to raise your (virtual) hand and find a coach. They’re there to help you through the logic behind the question as well as help you through the answer. We are NOT there to give you the answer but rather to coach you through the answer.  

6. Still stuck?: Buy a hint! This year the hints ROCK – they really do! Expect hints that help you with your thought process, but also directly help you on finding the answer! NOTE: hints are not free, but its better to get some points than none at all! 

7. Accord with Discord: Given that everyone will be remote this year we will be using Discord.  If you already use Discord to pwn n00bs or haxor the gibsons, you know what to do. If you don’t know Discord, don’t worry: but it would be a great idea to look at Discord’s YouTube channel here to learn the basics..  

Above everything else, the most important tip we have for you is to have fun! Not yet registered? Sign up here, or learn a bit more about the event over on this page. Got questions? Shoot us an email at botn@splunk.com

Kirk Hanson
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Kirk Hanson

Kirk Hanson is an Senior Customer Engineering Manager. Kirk has worked in the event monitoring, event management, and service and support space for more than 20 years. He started his career as an SAP analyst and has worked for IBM, BMC Software, and now Splunk, where he is focused on event analytics and machine learning for monitoring.

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