Thoughts on the PASS Virtual Summit

Some thoughts on the PASS Virtual Summit this year:

  • Clearly the in-person option wasn’t doable. Just too hard to know infection rate, local rules, employer travel guidelines, attendee and speaker risk tolerance – all factors. Plus, social distancing is really the antithesis of what the in-person event is about.
  • That leaves the option of going virtual or skipping a year. From a revenue perspective doing something makes sense as we want to retain key talent at HQ and make sure we have funds available for a hopeful return to a normal 2021 Summit.
  • Going virtual is a risk of its own. No real experience with a virtual event that size, needing to find a streaming/conference platform and all it’s costs/unknowns, all on a very tight timeframe. It’s a long leap from something like 24HOP which is free and a single track. Paying attendees will expect a quality experience. All of that would give me pause on selecting virtual, but I think would still have voted to give it a try.
  • In terms of cost to attendees, I have no idea what is fair. For me, if I sign up for the full package of around $1000 I’m well under the $400-$600 I’d expect to pay PER DAY for in person training, so I can’t really complain about the price.
  • My plan is to take the 2 full day classes, attend 1-2 hours daily of the main conference, and then block out an hour a week for the next year to watch more. If I can watch more live I will of course, but I don’t think I can sit and watch content for an 8 hour day.
  • I’m planning to attend for the learning, but also because I want to see how it all works (or how well).
  • Related to that, will introverts like it more? Be more likely to attend? I suspect training value/opportunity remains the key driver, but I’d be interested to hear afterwards how introverts and extroverts perceived it.
  • Attending is also part of trying to keep moving forward as we go through uncertain times.
  • I’d remind the Board that it’s absolutely worth trying all the extra stuff (sponsor chats, 1 on 1 with Microsoft, etc), but in the end what matters is delivering the training. Good streaming, good moderation, practice sessions for speakers well in advance to master whatever the platform is – those are the heart of it. Have to get those right (and assume with tech that on game day stuff will go wrong!).
  • From what I’ve seen at other virtual events (Redis, Github) having some people doing the MC/DJ thing makes it feel like a contiguous event and that matters. It should feel different than 24HOP.
  • I was really looking forward to a Summit not in Seattle!
  • It won’t be perfect, but I’ll bet it will be pretty good.

More on PASS related stuff in a day or two.

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