As you can imagine for folks in the business of producing conferences the last few weeks have resulted in a great deal of thinking…. and rethinking of our plans for our upcoming events, particularly Code and Code Leaders in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the meme goes–”life comes at you fast”.
Just 7 days ago we wrote to our Code speakers while considering all possible outcomes and how we could address these to ensure the “show would go on”; the most unlikely of scenarios we were contemplating just late last week is now the path we are 100% committed to:
Code is now Code://Remote – an entirely online and remote-first experience.
We’ve also moved the date back a few weeks to ensure we have sufficient time to coordinate all the moving parts, and Code://Remote will take place Thursday July 2 and Friday July 3, 9am–5pm AEST.
What will happen to the program?
We’re currently working with our speakers to ensure they will be able to participate (we have speakers lined up from all over the world, some in lockdown right now), and a revised schedule, which will feature most if not quite all the currently planned speakers and topics will be available shortly.
What about Code Leaders?
We’ve also decided that for this year we’ll put Code Leaders on hold, to focus on ensuring we deliver the best possible Code://remote conference, given it will be our first online-only conference. (but we don’t think our last
Can I register now?
Yes (please do!) we’ve just opened registrations, and pricing is considerably lower than for our in-person event. We’d love you to register!
Until May 1 we’re offering very special pre-release pricing. We’re also offering discounts for teams of 5+ and teams of 20+ attending.
How will Code://remote work?
While it sounds ambitious, we genuinely want to reimagine what a conference is when it is remote-only. Yes, it would be easiest to simply livestream an event from the speakers’ laptops, as many have done before, we are thinking much more broadly and deeply about why people attend professional conferences and what they want out of attending.
What exactly are conferences for?
We’ve thought a lot for many years about the job a Conference does for attendees.
- One very important thing they do is help us identify the gaps in our knowledge (or provide a sense-check that we’re on the right track). In short, in Donald Rumsfeld’s much lampooned but actually quite insightful formulation they help identify “unknown unkowns”–the things we don’t know we don’t know.
- But they do much more than that–they help us connect with people who spend much of their life considering similar challenges as we do–speakers, fellow attendees, sponsors. They facilitate connections, help maintain relationships, create new ones. They make us feel connected to peers, colleagues and an industry and profession we are part of.
So, the challenge for a conference moving entirely online is how do we continue to do these jobs for you?
That’s exactly what we’re attempting to address as we take (at least some of) our conferences online. We have put a lot of thought into both these elements; the content and the connection.
The program is always the foundation of all Web Directions events, and Code://Remote is no different. It’s our belief that for an entirely screen based conference, the key to engaging an audience over an extended timeframe is very well produced, high quality content, that is delivered with an online audience in mind.
- So we don’t plan to simply livestream; instead we want to capture the essence of the conference and most importantly the content from our speakers in a way that provides the most value to attendees. All presentations will be pre-recorded; we have engaged filmmaker Matheus Siqueira who has edited our conference videos for some years now to direct the conference, and advise us as to how we can ensure the recordings are the highest possible quality. They will then be edited, transcribed and captioned before broadcast.
- We will work with speakers to ensure they have all they need to deliver excellent online content. We have worked with Tarek Said and Sarah Ewen from Public Speaking for Life for many years now helping our speakers prepare for our conferences and we have engaged them to help our speakers deliver excellent talks in an online environment.
- And we are partnering with the Centre for Inclusive Design to ensure the event, online content and the overall experience is as inclusive as possible.
Pre-recording and then broadcasting the conference talks will allow speakers to engage with the audience much more strongly during the conference, perhaps providing additional content or information while their presentation is taking place, or chatting directly with attendees in dedicated breakout spaces.
We will facilitate the asking of questions by attendees. Provide spaces for attendees to meet each other, sponsors and speakers during breaks. We want to create the dynamism of attending an event in an online environment.
Many small and medium businesses worldwide are going to be navigating a very difficult terrain so it is going to be so important that smaller businesses and your local communities are supported during this time. That is why we are working with a range of individuals and small business owners as part of this reimagination of our events.
I cannot begin to adequately express my appreciation for your patience and support at this time. Of course in the scheme of things a conference for professional development is but a trifle right now. But for Web Directions, after 15 years of holding events it is a pivotal moment.
I cannot adequately express my appreciation for your patience and support at this time. Of course in the scheme of things a conference for professional development is but a trifle right now. But for Web Directions, after 15 years of holding events it is a pivotal moment.