These are no ordinary times, I doubt anyone will argue with that. The pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives. We do not work the way we used to do before the pandemic, we don't socialize in the same way, and we do not do the same things we used to do in our spare time.
The industry of tech events is among the ones that have recently been forced to adjust to the "new normal". Because of the pandemic most tech events this year have gone digital, and there's no sign of that changing for a while.
We love tech events and usually try to attend all those we can. We feelit's a great way to meet like-minded people and to stay informed on the industry's latest trends. Because of this, we've seen this change first hand, and for us the experience has been bittersweet, with lots of downsides (this is 2020 after all), but with some opportunities too.
We miss meeting face to face
One of the biggest drawbacks is not being able to meet new people in person and talk over a cup of coffee. Some of the events we've participated of recently and that were held entirely online (Collision, TechCrunch Disrupt, IOT World) had great platforms for networking and meeting new people, but nothing beats meeting someone face to face. This is something we really miss.
It's difficult to make time to fully immerse ourselves in the event
Some of the events we attended had great speakers and sessions spanning through several days, but for us it was very difficult to make time out of our schedule to check them out. We did watch the ones we found most interesting, but it was only a handful. Before the pandemic it was common for us to travel to a different city or country to attend a tech event, forcing us to make more time for the conference, and this usually resulted in having a bit more time to attend sessions and enjoying the experience a bit more.
More people can attend
If there is one advantage to this whole situation is that events are now available for people all over the globe. With on-site events you usually have to travel to where the event is held, having to pay airline fares, hotel stays and other expenses; and this can be every expensive. With online events you only need to pay for the ticket —some of them are free, so not even that— and you're set. This gives the opportunity to lots of people to get the most from events they would not be able to attend in normal conditions, and in our opinion this is a huge plus!
Hattrick's booth at Disrupt 2019 in San Francisco
We miss the "old normal", but if there is one lesson we hope the tech world learns from this whole thing is that there is a huge importance in democratizing tech events so everyone can benefit from them. We'll have to wait a bit more to see how that unfolds, but we're optimistic.