What is the best swag you've received at a conference or meetup?

spboyer profile image Shayne Boyer ・1 min read

The atypical stuff you usually get when walking into a conference is the t-shirt or screen-printed bag. But what has been that item you took a second and when daaaang, now that's nice! Or thought, that was different?

For me there are two levels.

  1. Speaker gifts
  2. Attendee giveaways

Dockercon Europe 2017 gave out super nice puffy jackets to the speakers that were embroidered with the conference logo.

As an attendee, I have gotten beach towels, fidget spinners, stickers, every t-shirt you can imagine...

What's been your favorite?

Posted on May 17 '18 by:

spboyer profile

Shayne Boyer


I work on open source in the cloud @microsoft. containers, kubernetes, .net core, nodejs, typescript


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I love this GitHub figurine I got in my speaker swag at CodeLand


Personally, I liked the waterbottles given to us during the Azure Tour.

Unique to each city, actually useful and of quality and the branding is tiny on it so it doesn't look like "Conference swag" but more like "Awesome swag".


I've never been to a conference and I've never been to a meetup that had swag.
In general, I find the idea problematic, since these conferences tend to cost a lot to go to, and some of that money has to be going to subsidise these pointless trinkets. I'd prefer to get in for an amount of money I can afford instead.


I too find the trinkets pretty pointless, but I think their presence in our current economy probably goes towards subsidizing the ticket price. The sponsor pays the venue, say, $25 per attendee to give away the swag that costed somebody $2.50, in theory the net benefit is passed off to the attendee in some way if they don't mind being sold to.

In a few cases, like my treasured, octocat figurine I posted in this thread, it seems like a win-win-win where the trinket isn't pointless. But yeah, this kind of appreciated value is usually lost and the whole effort is wasteful capitalism.


There are meetups and user groups at times that are sponsored. Weekend Code Camps too give fun things away, but obviously not why any of us go. Still, cool to be surprised with a neat giveaway even at the free shows.


I got an Oculus Go, at F8 this year. Not sure if it is a swag but that was cool


At DevIntersections, I got a powerbank from Microsoft with like 9000mah, pretty sweet. They were just sitting out on the table, kind of wish I went back around a grabbed an extra.