It's been over a month since we posted "2020 Conference Rethink", such has been the complexity of the moving target that is COVID-19, and its impact on our society.
We didn't expect to have taken so long to come to a decision, but it felt like the goalposts have been constantly moving - to the point that we no longer feel confident in being able to put on a physical conference any time this year!
So we have decided to move online.
In the last post we made the statement:
Moving online seems the safest, and most resilient, option - but also the one that misses the most of the value of an event like C++ on Sea.
That second part has been a concern, so we have done a lot of thinking - and also experimented with the format at the C++ London meet-up, which has also moved online. We are now confident that, while it will certainly be different, we can actually offer something valuable and exciting, and which goes some way to recapturing what we looked forward to in physical conference.
In some ways it may even be better! For example speakers can run polls during their talks to guage how audiences break down. Questions can be asked at any time, then answered at well defined stopping points during and/ or after the talks. The talks will be broadcast streamed, but attendees will also have access to video conferencing rooms (using Jitsi) for chatting and networking between the sessions, and in which the speakers will hang out, too.
But there will be some other changes, too. First the date. In consultation with our speakers we have decided to postpone the event to July - probably the week of the 13th. We will announce the exact dates shortly.
We will also be slightly reducing the number of talks. This is because a three-day, four-track, conference is going to be too much for many people to be able to follow entirely online. A number of speakers have either preferred to sit this one out for one (good) reason or another - or have volunteered to defer to next year for the sake of the programme. While it is sad to lose some great speakers, we're just happy to be able to offer a substantial part of the programme this year. We're still finalising this process - full details will be announced shortly.
While we think this is still going to be a great event, which we're all going to get a lot out of, we do recognise that we still lose something in the process of moving online. We also reduce our overheads (although some commitments are lost), so we're reducing the ticket price to £150 for the full conference! If you have already bought tickets we'll be in touch to offer options, including partial or full refunds, depending on how you wish to proceed.
Of course, with the barrier of travel (and accommodation) removed - as well as a reduced ticket price - we hope that many who would not have been able to come are now able to do so. Perhaps if you have been wondering about the conference, but weren't sure whether to commit - this could be a great opportunity for you to get a taste.
Ticket sales will reopen shortly, once all the details, including dates, are finalised.