The Virtual Experience

I just completed the 2020 DevOps Enterprise Summit a few weeks ago, and it was enlightening to me to see that so many people liked this experience. They appreciated not traveling, being able to drop in and out of sessions while near their home and family. I found that lots of people also liked the MVP Summit last spring, which was also virtual.

The PASS Summit went virtual recently, and I went through an all day pre-con as well as a few sessions during the week. As many of you, I’m a bit screen and Zoom fatigued, and while I enjoy learning and seeing people passionate about a technology, I’m tired of seeing it inside these four walls.

I worry that I’m in the minority. I recognize the value of the inclusion of those that don’t have the time or money to attend a conference live. I appreciate that the ability to watch when and where it fits into my schedule. I love that others can pause, rewind, get captions, and more that spread knowledge out.

However, I think we’ve lost something, and certainly lost some of the collaborative, discussions and debates that we can have in live events. While I can reach out and discuss with anyone, it’s hard to discuss with just someone. Others can join in, and semi-private channels, and especially the times during breaks when I can get up and walk while talking, are things I miss in the virtual experience.

If virtual events were spread out more, and not everything in my work world were virtual, perhaps I would feel differently, but for now, I don’t love the virtual experience, and feel it’s a pale shadow of a SQL Saturday, user group, or live conference. I hope that this isn’t something I do too often, but I suspect this will be a permanent part of our lives forever.

Steve Jones

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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3 Responses to The Virtual Experience

  1. Brian K says:

    I don’t think you’re in the minority at all. It’s just something we’re stuck with for now, so we have to deal with it. The convenience vis-à-vis a physical conference is definitely a plus (it’s nice to have a backlog of webinars to keep me occupied for months), but the fringe benefits of a conference are pretty much non-existent virtually.

    Going forward, it wouldn’t surprise me to see PASS do something like a regular summit AND a virtual summit six months apart in perpetuity.

    This is probably the first time I’ve ever used vis-à-vis and perpetuity ever, much less at the same time.


  2. way0utwest says:

    I do think that two a year, maybe one online, isn’t a bad idea. The hard part is pricing, content, etc. For me, I’m struggling a bit with SQL Sats, virtual UGs, the Summit, Bits, and what’s the difference?


    • Brian K says:

      Yeah I’m mulling over DPS and coming to the same questions. Why pile on more recorded webinars to my already large queue from Summit last week? Makes you realize that the locations was a huge differentiator of conferences in the past.


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