What very few people know is that my career as a Java expert started because of a backpack.
In 2001 I met with Bruno Souza and he had this awesome backpack with the Java logo shining on it. I asked him what I had to do to get a backpack like that and he said: "Easy! Just submit a presentation proposal to JavaOne and, if they approve it, they will give you a backpack".
I thought that was a crazy idea, no way they would accept my presentation at JavaOne. But, since I was working with Java for a few years already and had some pretty good work to show, I decided to risk it.
To my surprise, the presentation was accepted and I went to San Francisco to get my backpack. They scheduled my presentation to 11pm. I remember that I thought that nobody would be there at that time and my presentation would be probably cancelled. But the room was completely full and some people had to sit on the floor to watch it. I think that was one of the best presentations I ever did.
After that, the several JavaOnes I attended gave me more 10 backpacks, a Duke's Choice Award, a keynote participation with Scott McNealy, a documentary about my project and dozens of new friends. But that first backpack is still the coolest of them all.