This past week I had conversations with a few organizers in the US that are looking to set up new events in 2021. This was a nice surprise for me, as I’ve contacted a number of different oganizers over the last few months that had no interest in a 2021 event, primarily because they and their members were tired of virtual events.

I get that. I’m tired of virtual events. I can’t wait to see people and shake hands, get a hug, or just wave with the elbow bump.

I wrote this post to talk about a few things that I learned from the conversations.

A New Organizer Missing Events

One person that has been to a number of events, and missing the contact, reached out after my blog post about more events. They wanted to know what to do.

My advice, which I’ll put up under the resources at, is:

  • to go for a small event with a couple tracks
  • pick a date
  • just put out a call for speakers

I can help find a broadcast platform, and certainly with small amounts of funding if needed. I also recommended a couple volunteers and keeping things short and simple, with a 60-90 day lead time for market the event.

The individual was receptive, and we’ll see what happens.

A Live Event

One person is on the board of their local User Group, and they’ve struggled this past year. They had very poor attendence at many meetings (5ish) and everyone was feeling a bit sad about the state of the world.

However, they do want to reboot their group, and perhaps use a SQL Saturday to get their members interested and excited. Their local area is opening up a bit, and they can get a large room at the local library. The normal capacity is 80, but even at 50%, 40 would be a nice start.

Their goal was a hybrid event, as there are plenty of people that don’t feel safe in a crowd. We talked about a strategy for holding an event.

Smaller is key here, and when running a hybrid event, I have a few thoughts. First, the fewer rooms the better, as cameras and keeping things interesting is tough. Second, we want to show the speaker and room, not just powerpoint, so using a camera pointed at the room is a way for someone at home to still get some sense of what is happening.

We also talked about simplfying the event by eliminating food. That is one of the more challenging items, especially if people have to unmask, which might cause some concern for attendees that want to come, but not increase their risk. Therefore, an 11a-4pm (or 5pm) event, one track, might be the easy way to start things off.

Their board is going to discuss it, so we’ll see what happens.