Dev events beyond 2021

Various well-known developer event organisers discuss what they see as being the future of gathering, talking about how events will look like in 2021 and beyond!


  • One of the main things to always remember is that each event -- online, hybrid, or physical, it's those little decisions made by the core team that can eventually make the event successful and now it depends on how you set the metrics for success.

  • In an online world - if someone is online and present —they're likely willing to be approached.

  • Reaching out to speakers is hard for in-person events.

  • Try to think more about reach than attendance as a metric.

  • Having a global staff helps to reach global audiences.


🚩 Takeaways

  • It's really difficult to know who to approach IRL (in real life), online events make this easier, especially for introverts.

  • People were left with less time during COVID, not more time.

  • In an online world - if someones is online and present —they're likely willing to be approached.

  • People from niche interests can come together, overcoming geographical limitations.

  • Letting people who wanted to attend but couldn't due to cost issues.

  • Long-tail of talks being available on Youtube long after the event.

  • Online events are driving up the quality of the talks, giving speakers more confidence, helping them overcome stage fright, etc.

  • Online brings more diversity on how to deliver talks, it is more accessible, and being able to educate/teach/talk in so many different formats

  • Noticed a trend of online communities (Slacks, Discords) staying more active after events, Kevin's communities have noticed the opposite, ie, less or no activity after events.

There is more organic engagement in the community in between events. People stay connected because they remain on the platform, instead of physically going to a different space and disconnecting from the community. -- @Jonathan Gottfried from MLH

  • Now that events have transcended geographical limitations, it would be really useful to think across timezones, languages, etc to expand the potential audience to the whole world.

  • Think about accessibility in demographics where people might have limitations for example connectivity speed.

  • Having a global staff helps to reach global audiences.

What are some positive outcomes in taking events online, What would you retain?

  • Recording stuff for later reference.

  • People have been making more meaningful connections because everyone seems more 'equal'.

  • People are more receptive to being approached.

  • People took respite in online events due to the disruption in their lives due to COVID.

  • COVID forced us to pivot, put resources to best use.

What do you see as the future of Hybrid Events?

  • Hybrid events are hard, just like hybrid workplaces!

    • Going to have to get really really creative.

  • Events are social experiences, talks are important but not the main thing.

  • Harder to bridge the gap between in-person and online.

  • Depends on the nature of the event. Easy for hackathons, harder for conferences.

  • Serendipity online vs in-person may not have a lot of overlap.

  • We need to know what part of an in-person event will get value from having an online component, taking the whole event online may not make perfect sense or be feasible.

  • Challenges of covering in-person events via video and taking them online fully.

  • Reaching out to speakers is hard for in-person events.

  • Issues finding accessible and inclusive venues - some people can't go to bars for example.

  • Inclusive timings are still a challenge. Everyone's being cautious about hybrid events!

How can we get more people to attend events?

  • Try to think more about reach than attendance as a metric.

  • Reusing assets from events afterwards.

  • Online events might have greater reach post-event, youtube videos for example. - Low attendance could be because of Zoom fatigue.

  • Rethink online event as not just a Zoom call, but maybe say as a Youtube playlist.

  • People look for social aspects in events, if that can be replicated online, then it might be helpful.

  • An event needs to offer high-quality social contact.

  • Content is a hook, not the full reason to attend.

  • Often there's not a real good engagement strategy for IRL events.

We need to rethink the success metric. In the past an event's success used to be measured by "how many people attended" there is a real opportunity here and now to go beyond that. You can have low attendance numbers and still be considered a success because you can now measure other things now, like engagement. - @Kevin

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