116: The State of Developer Conferences with Brian Rinaldi

Brian Rinaldi, Developer Experience Engineer at LaunchDarkly and long time friend of the show, recently wrote a blog post that was picked up in the TL;DR newsletter. His post, titled The State of Developer Conferences, shares a theory as to why both online and IRL (In Real Life) conferences are struggling to reach pre-pandemic attendance. Brian, who's been running conferences for 15-years, has a keen understanding of who attends events; and, why the demographics of attendees might be shifting. Conference organizers around the world are reading Brian's post and are nodding in strong agreement.

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With audio editing and engineering by ZCross Media.


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[00:00:00] Tim: I told Adam he had like a last year at a, like, what are our goals? A Working Code dev conference where y'all just, we all just go to Cabo. We go to Cabo San Lucas. We, we were in a big house we all present on some crap.

[00:00:15] Tim: It doesn't matter. We'll just, you know, tell our employers like, yeah, I'm speaking at this conference. And, yeah, we hang out for like three days and Cabo and

[00:00:22] Brian Rinaldi: I don't know how the sponsors would feel about this. Like,

[00:00:26] Tim: Uh,

[00:00:27] Brian Rinaldi: up you, what's going on

[00:00:49] Intro

[00:00:49] Adam: Okay, here we go. It is show number one 16. And on today's show, we're going to discuss the state of developer conferences with friend of the show. Brian Ranaldi. Hi Brian.

[00:00:58] Brian Rinaldi: Hello.

[00:01:00] Ben: Ah,

[00:01:00] Adam: Hey, Brian. So, actually before we do our usual jump into triumphs and fails, why don't you just give us a quick construction? Who are you and, what do you, why, why do you have stuff to say about conferences,

[00:01:10] Brian Rinaldi: So, my day job is, I'm a developer experience engineer at LaunchDarkly.

[00:01:15] Ben: Oh yeah,

[00:01:17] Brian Rinaldi: yeah, so I've been doing dev stuff for like long, long time, 12 years. and why about conferences specifically is cuz I've been running conferences for about 15 years, which, you know, makes me seem old and I am actually old.

[00:01:35] Brian Rinaldi: so , so yeah, I, I started, some of y'all may remember this one, like Flex Camp Boston. That was my first event about 15 years ago. and, and I've run since then. I've run a ton of events, like both in person, online, you know, I, I've, I've run like company events like big corporate, like they are our big corporate event, or I've run small, like, you know, community type events.

[00:02:02] Brian Rinaldi: and , I mean, like I said, you, you name it, I've run a conference or some other kind of event like that. I've run local meetups, as well. so I've been deeply involved in events in various levels, both running them and speaking at them and so on. So,

[00:02:20] Adam: And so you have a lot of experience to draw on. And you have some conclusions or some, some theories that you've drawn on the current state of developer conferences,

[00:02:29] Tim: And, and I'll say how I found him. So I have a, a daily newsletter that I read called tldr. It's all tech kind of stuff. And, I'm scrolling through, I've been reading this for probably the past year and a half, and I'm scrolling through and looking at all the articles and I'm like, it says state of developer conferences, Brian Reno.

[00:02:48] Tim: I'm like, wait, wait, wait. I know this guy. I know this guy. So I sent him a message like, Hey, saw your thing on, on the newsletter. He is like, I, I haven't heard of that one. So I sent him the, the TLDR and yeah. So I was like, we gotta have you on the show. If, if you're getting quoted by, by a, what I think is actually a pretty prevalent, newsletter, then we gotta have heavy on the show.

[00:03:07] Tim: So thanks for.

[00:03:08] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. I mean, you don't even, it's not that you think it's like, I, I hadn't heard of it, but oh my God. It's like I'm at the very bottom of that newsletter and it sent thousands of people. Like, I'm like, okay. Wow. Yeah,

[00:03:22] Tim: your blog should be getting some hits.

[00:03:24] Brian Rinaldi: it did. Yeah.

[00:03:26] Brian Rinaldi: okay. But, you know, as usual, we're gonna start with our triumphs and fails. And Ben, I'm gonna start with you.

[00:03:32] Ben's Failure

[00:03:32] Ben: All right.

[00:03:33] Adam: that good? Huh?

[00:03:34] Tim: Wow. That good? Huh?

[00:03:35] Ben: this is not a personal failure per se, but,yesterday it was announced at work. They were going through another round of layoffs. we, we had a, a massive reduction in force, Last July. We cut about 60% of the company and yesterday, unfortunately, we had to let go.

[00:03:51] Ben: I think about like another 10.

[00:03:54] Adam: Mm.

[00:03:54] Tim: Hmm.

[00:03:54] Ben: and, we lost some really great engineers, o one of which, particularly near and dear to me, this guy, Joel Hill, who's been at the company for over nine years. Just an amazing guy and just, it's just heart-wrenching to see good people let go, especially when it, you know, as Tim, as Tim talked about one of the previous episodes, it has nothing to do with performance.

[00:04:15] Ben: You know, it's just literally trying to cut cost and there's no easy way to do it. And, you know, you're not drawing straws per se, but like, you're basically figuring out which services can run basically unattended for the most amount of time. And, and, you know, it sucks. That was, that's horrible, but I don't want to be like a complete downer.

[00:04:39] Ben: So I do want to have one positive vibe, which is that, I am proud of myself for sticking with, I'm continuing to research the hot wire framework. And, as I've talked about before, it, it, it feels very weird to be learning something from scratch. Haven't really done that in a long time. So it's a lot of ups and downs and, you know, one day I'm like, oh, this is stupid.

[00:04:58] Ben: Like, I'm just gonna go back to Angular. And then I'm like, Nope, let me just stick with it. Lemme just stick with it. and then I find some cool stuff and, and it's kind of this up and down, but I'm just excited to be learning something new. Putting some more fresh information, fresh ideas in my head.

[00:05:11] Ben: So at least I got that. That's nice.

[00:05:14] Adam: Little bit of balance,

[00:05:15] Ben: Yeah, exactly. Not all doom and gloom. So that's me. Adam, what do you got?

[00:05:21] Adam's Triumph

[00:05:21] Adam: so we talked not too long ago about, me falling on the sword of, SOC two. That's expanded actually, by the way. So now in addition to SOC two, I'm also handling some PCI compliance work, which also involves, getting a penetration test, like an official, a person sitting at a desk trying to penetrate our applications,

[00:05:40] Tim: I hate that word,

[00:05:43] Tim: Yeah, it's got some connotation, but that's what the industry calls it. I call it pen test. Sounds better.

[00:05:47] Adam: sure. but, so it's a, it's a whole thing. I, I couldn't tell you the day. That was the last day that I wrote code at work. I, you know, I've wrote code today, but it was personal time. You know, me, project code. I, cuz I got it right.

[00:06:02] Adam: I'm not gonna go a whole week without writing any code. It's I'll, I'll get the itch. but, so the, the triumph here is because of the SOC two project. you know, we're using some, some software that automates finding some of the low-hanging fruit, the O of compliance, right? So one, like, one of the rules is, you're, you have to encrypt data at rest and in transit two.

[00:06:24] Adam: But the, the thing that was problematic for us was we had some S3 buckets that were, public and unencrypted. Now, these buckets that were public. Deprecated and no longer used, and were intentionally public, but it was like, okay, well yeah, duh, let's go clean that up. And so I found probably half a dozen S3 buckets with maybe a gig or two of data each in them.

[00:06:46] Adam: So not a ton of money, but I found some money to save. That's the, the, the triumph here is because of SOC two, which, I think any engineering person would agree sucks as a, as a thing that you have to do. I, I found the silver lining, which was it helped me find some money to save. So, so, buckets that were public and buckets I could delete and stuff.

[00:07:04] Adam: and, and some other stuff like, you know, as much as it sucks to go through the process of, of doing the compliance work, when you find things that are not compliant, it's good to get them compliant. Like the, the, the purpose, the end goal is a good thing, but the process of getting there socks . That's what I hate about

[00:07:19] Tim: It, it sounds like a lot of paperwork and homework, right? that's the thing I hate about it. It's just like, it's like, come on. Really? Are we really having to check this? Okay, fine. I'll check the box.

[00:07:30] Adam: Yeah, I mean, we're a six person company and just the, the PCI document that we were doing previously, it's the pci, S A Q D, which is a self attested questionnaire for whatever. so this was, you know, this was just a, a sort of, you know, I promise I got my covid vaccine sort of situation, right? These are the paperwork you fill out to say I'm doing, I'm following all best practices for, even for us, a six person company was a hundred pages of, of like checklist items.

[00:07:57] Adam: Now there's a lot of duplication in there, but it's just ridiculous. I

[00:08:00] Tim: So why are you having to do the D?

[00:08:02] Adam: I don't know.

[00:08:04] Tim: Because all of our customers, because they use our services for for credit card stuff, have to do the A and the A is like one page. It's like five questions and they're done.

[00:08:14] Adam: I, I should ask. I don't know. The d is what we've done in the past. And, so because of. I mean, don't forget too, that you and I are in entirely different industries,

[00:08:26] Tim: True. But I mean, are you ever actually handling the credit card numbers?

[00:08:29] Adam: No, no. We use, gateway tokenization providers. So Spreedly or Braintree or, you know, that sort of thing, where you know, it, it, it renders on our page, it looks like it's part of our page, but if you dig into the source, that's actually an iframe

[00:08:43] Adam: that's there. And, and

[00:08:45] Tim: So it never actually goes through your network.

[00:08:47] Adam: right? So they send Ajax requests out from the, from within the iframe, get the data that they need, and then they can pass it back up to the parent and they give us a token that represents that call card that's been vaulted. and then we can use that token

[00:08:59] Tim: See our p i works the same way and our customers only need to do the A. So I'm just, I just wonder what the difference is.

[00:09:04] Adam: No, I mean, I appreciate you asking the question and, and you know, I'm gonna, as soon as it's not my turn to talk, I'm gonna mute myself and go open my notion talk and write down why are we not doing

[00:09:12] Tim: Yeah. The A cuz the A is super easy. It's, it's basically hosted somewhere else. All the credit card processing is hosted somewhere else. So that's the

[00:09:20] Adam: I mean, the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that we have, a requirement that we need to be able to support, for example, a phone based charge. So somebody might call and say, I wanna sign up for this event. And it's a, you know, it's a, the pres, the, the university president or their, their wife or somebody.

[00:09:36] Adam: and, so this is a V I p and you wanna be like, okay, sure. And I just need your credit card information and I'll get you all set up. Right? You wanna give them that white glove service. And so while the credit card information isn't transiting our networks and being stored on our servers, the person using our application has the information.

[00:09:53] Adam: I don't know how that might affect the situation, but

[00:09:55] Adam: that's the only thing I, I can

[00:09:57] Tim: Yeah. That, that, that can make a difference. That that could definitely make a difference.

[00:10:01] Adam: So anyway, the, the, headline here is SOC two saves money. So

[00:10:07] Tim: I don't, I don't know about that, but.

[00:10:10] Adam: yeah. Not net.

[00:10:12] Ben: It took me a while to understand what encryption at rest even meant, because things like R d s, I believe with Amazon are encrypted in rest and you can have S3 encrypted at rest. You have all kinds of things that are encrypted at rest, but when you interact with them via your application code, you don't have to do anything.

[00:10:29] Ben: Like, it's just transparently unencrypted for you on the fly. So I'm always like, what's the whole point of having it encrypted at rest? Like what is it actually adding? If someone were to break into the application, like they can just get all the data and our security guy finally explained, he's like, no, it's not about break into the application.

[00:10:45] Ben: It's like if someone physically broke into the Amazon data center and stole the rack that you're storage happens to be on, they can't get it. I'm like, ah, ok. It just never occurs to me that stuff like that could actually happen.

[00:10:58] Adam: Mm-hmm.

[00:10:59] Ben: I would like to add one more triumph to you, which is a, as you talked about

[00:11:03] Tim: No, no, no. Pilot on.

[00:11:04] Ben: No, no, no. This is Ra Adam talked about in last episode that, he was getting, glasses and, and you can't see it dear listener, but he is looking, very intelligent and very handsome. So let,

[00:11:18] Adam: I, I appreciate that. I, I will, accept your compliment by saying that at dinner tonight, one of my children told me he thinks I look, what was his word? Hideous

[00:11:29] Tim: uh, the honesty of children out of the mouths of babes.

[00:11:35] Ben: oh, kids are the worst.

[00:11:37] Adam: They're the best. You know, it's, it's okay. Now, look, the glasses that I bought, including shipping, were like $24, I think. 2395, right? So these are l cheapo glasses. I just wanted, these are my first glasses. I've been, I've had like 2015 vision my whole life, and I just wanted to like, verify the fact that having a prescription in front of my eyes was gonna make life better.

[00:12:00] Adam: And I wanted to do that as cheaply as possible. I got something. would be generally a good shape for my face, but these are not what I would go in and pick out if I was gonna spend $500 on glasses. Right. so, you know, we'll see, you know, I'll give 'em a week or two, see if they make life better and, and then maybe I'll consider investing in something slightly more sophisticated looking or whatever.

[00:12:19] Adam: These are pretty, you know, chunky, just like, you know, sort of Ray Band knockoff,

[00:12:24] Tim: He looks like a buddy.

[00:12:25] Adam: play I do. Cuz I just got my hair cut too. Yep. Oh, all right. All right. That's enough for me. How about you, Tim?

[00:12:35] Tim's Failure

[00:12:35] Tim: Yeah, so Carol's has something come up, so she's not gonna join us. Maybe she'll join later. We'll see. But as far as me, I got another fail and I'm mad about it. So you, you guys know, I've been struggling with, with sending text messages. Like, so they keep changing the rules on, on s m s messaging and I got an email from one of our providers today and they basically said, look, if you're not registered, and I've been trying to get registered for like six months with these people, if you're not registered by March 15th, you won't be able to send any SMS messages from a 10 digit code, they call it, uh uh, it's the 10 dlc, which is 10 digit long code

[00:13:16] Ben: Wait, you won't be able to send at all or just to

[00:13:20] Tim: at all.

[00:13:20] Tim: They will block, they will block any sms. If you're not registered with the telcos by just March 15th, they're gonna just block you will not be able to send any s m s messages from that. and so I have like these outstanding tickets with my provider. That's, I'm like, I've asked you. 15 weeks ago, register my 800 numbers so I can send text messages and, I've not heard anything, so I keep like, ha like every day I've been hitting them up, you know, with, with messages and, but I can't get ahold of anyone.

[00:13:51] Tim: So fortunately I have another provider who's a lot more hands-on. they're called Plum Voice. so I'm gonna see if they can maybe help me out cuz it's like, it just, it's just frustrating right now cuz they, but, but no, so I'm, I'm upset because I know there's this deadline, but knowing how this hall works, the telcos are so far behind that March Fifteenth's gonna hit and they'll be like, oh, we've extended it, so I know that's gonna happen.

[00:14:13] Tim: So I'm not that worried. But at the same time I sent that I need all this information from my customers because I'm a reseller and so I need, like their tax id, I need all their, their legal names. I need a, a legal representative that can be a, so I have to send this information out and now they're all upset, like, are we gonna like get cut off?

[00:14:31] Tim: For me it was because they make. Our, our customers, you know, they're making money because we're sending messages to their insurance to say, Hey, your car insurance is about to expire, pay now. And that's, they retain a huge amount of business that way by sending that message, like, are we gonna lose this?

[00:14:45] Tim: I'm like, I don't know. I have no clue. I can't tell you. So I've just really s m s rules why you keep changing.

[00:14:54] Adam: and yet I still get three texts a week about my, my, car's, insurance

[00:14:59] Adam: policy is gonna expire or whatever, and extended warranty.

[00:15:03] Tim: And this, after I just did the whole thing where I built this pool, I mean, I spent a lot of time building this pool of like, local numbers that I could like, send and like rotate through them. So to make sure that I'm not, you know, sending too quickly or sending, and if it one fails, I shift to another number.

[00:15:18] Tim: I, this whole scheme that I built is gonna just completely go in the trash, supposedly on March 15th.

[00:15:25] Adam: Well that's unfortunate.

[00:15:27] Tim: For sure, for sure. So, yeah, I'm ruining that. But yeah, it gives me something to do. So,

[00:15:33] Adam: job security.

[00:15:35] Tim: yeah, for sure. Sorry about that, Brian. I didn't mean to unload all that. what, what you got? Do you have a triumph or fail? Do you wanna

[00:15:42] Brian Rinaldi: you didn't have a, a triumph. There's, that's

[00:15:44] Tim: No, I had a fail. You can have a triumph or a failed. These guys are greedy.

[00:15:47] Tim: They want the double dip. I'm just, I'm just going with the fail.

[00:15:51] Tim: I'm going with You don't have to do both.

[00:15:53] Brian's Failure

[00:15:53] Brian Rinaldi: okay, then I'll, I'll just do the fail. I mean, it's not a big fail. This is not like, I, I will say like, listen to you all. I'm like, oh God, that sounds rough. All of those things sound

[00:16:04] Tim: Wow.

[00:16:04] Tim: Thanks. Thanks for making me

[00:16:05] Adam: of sad sack.

[00:16:07] Tim: Appreciated that.

[00:16:08] Brian Rinaldi: my fail is gonna be like much, much lighter than that. It's, it's more of like a personal failure.

[00:16:13] Brian Rinaldi: Like I, I, so you know, I don't have to build like. Big complex things. I build demos for a living, basically like it's so, you know, I come up with the idea and I'm like, Hey, I'm gonna build this, this thing can write an art blog post about it, maybe record a video or whatever. And my idea seemed relatively simple.

[00:16:32] Brian Rinaldi: I was gonna do like, was gonna use state machines within a app,to just manage

[00:16:39] Adam: my.

[00:16:39] Brian Rinaldi: UI state. Yeah. And I'm like, okay, this, this should be pretty easy. I was using X State with felt and I'm like, I don't think this is gonna be too difficult. And, and my demo, just to kind of add some color to the whole thing is, is actually like gonna be, so the idea was I gonna have feature flags and they were gonna alter the state.

[00:16:59] Brian Rinaldi: So I was like, oh, I'll do a multi-step form where like, you could then have a flag that says, okay, I'm testing out this new flow to the form, so I'm gonna actually shift somebody to a new. Branch, like basically I'm gonna say, oh, okay, this, you're getting a different version of this form where step three for you is, is different than step three for everybody else to see whatever, if it's more effective, was kind of the idea.

[00:17:23] Brian Rinaldi: Anyway, so my, my form is actually a version of the,and if you watch Monte Python on the Holy Grail

[00:17:30] Tim: Mm-hmm.

[00:17:31] Adam: Yeah, of course.

[00:17:31] Brian Rinaldi: a bridge keeper. I call it the bridge keeper form. So the third question keeps changing depending on, you know, so it's like, you know, what's your name, what's your quest? And the first one is like, what's your favorite color?

[00:17:43] Brian Rinaldi: and so if you, obviously if you get something wrong, you get thrown into the volcano. Um,Yeah. So that's good. That's the, the, the demo. But anyway, I have been. Just like sunk way too much time into this. It's been so much more difficult to implement than I ever thought it would be. I just could not get the state machine just so to do it.

[00:18:10] Brian Rinaldi: I still haven't figured out like exactly how I'm gonna do the, I kind of have an idea how I'm gonna do the feature flags anyway. It's one of those demos that's probably not worth the amount of time I put into it, but I'm like, I'm already this close. I gotta finish this thing. So, you know, the, the, you know, the semi triumph is that I, I did kind of finally get past the biggest roadblock I was having, which was just like getting X state to work the way I wanted it to. and, and so like, anyway, I, I'm past that. It's not, it's not fully functioning yet, but, but it's, it's getting closer. So that's my mini triumph. I someday in the next like few days, I might actually get it to work.

[00:18:53] Ben: Nice.

[00:18:54] Brian Rinaldi: a dumb multi-step form. I'm not doing soc two compliance or you know, all

[00:19:00] Adam: You're writing code though?

[00:19:01] Tim: yeah,

[00:19:02] Brian Rinaldi: I am writing code.

[00:19:03] Brian Rinaldi: Not very well apparently, but yeah, I'm doing it

[00:19:06] Adam: Oh, man, I, I've touched a little bit of X date and, I didn't even, I wasn't the person to implement it in our project, but looking at it, I was very, intimidated, I guess is the right word. Like, it seems like a library that Ken really support a a million different use cases and a whole lot of, you know, configuration and possibilities, which is great.

[00:19:27] Adam: But if you have, you know, the, you know, a, a really small use case, it's like trying to, I don't know, kill a bug with a cannon or something.

[00:19:37] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah, I mean, I, I would say that's, that's kind of true. You can make it pretty simple. and they have like a, a tool now that like you can use to, to kind of, build it out, right? Stately, it's called stately.ai, that you can actually use to kind of do this using a state chart and then you export that into straight into X State.

[00:19:59] Brian Rinaldi: but yeah, even with that, I was still failing. I'm not exactly like a, a state machines expert by any means. I mean, most everything I build, it's something like, okay, I don't know how to do that, but I'm gonna figure it out. cuz

[00:20:15] Ben: It's the best way to

[00:20:15] Brian Rinaldi: that's my job.

[00:20:17] Tim: I mean, for sure.

[00:20:18] Ben: Yo, I I do wanna say I am a massive fan of LaunchDarkly, end of feature flags in general. We actually did like, kind of two different episodes about LaunchDarkly slash feature flags. I'm a just tremendous fan.

[00:20:32] Brian Rinaldi: Oh, that's why I'm here. I'm only here cuz like, yeah.

[00:20:35] Tim: Brian ticked everything off, so he talked about spelt for Adam, right? So spelt, yeah, spelts like his, his jam. He talked about LaunchDarkly for Ben, he talked about prototyping, which is like pretty much what I do for my company. I build a

[00:20:48] Tim: prototype to

[00:20:49] Tim: sell something.

[00:20:49] Ben: now we just gotta talk about, ColdFusion and I think we, we hit all the high.

[00:20:53] Tim: Yeah, yeah.

[00:20:53] Brian Rinaldi: just did. There you go. We talked about ColdFusion

[00:20:56] Tim: There you go. We're done. Now.

[00:20:58] Adam: And never should it come up again. All right. seems like a good place to pivot. So how about the state of developer conferences? So, Brian, if you could for, you know, of course we will put a link to your blog post in the show notes, but if you could, for the, the listeners, maybe give us the, the TLDR

[00:21:20] State Of Developer Conferences

[00:21:20] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah, so, the tldr, okay, I'll try and make it short, is basically I am worried about the current state of conferences. I think we've seen a handful of, not too many yet, but a handful of conferences kind of call it quits this year already. and I speaking to organizers and, you know, just kind of surveying the state of the conferences I've attended or, or read about, I am concerned that many of the smaller conferences, more of the community led type ones, even if they're run by a company like the smaller, kind of independent, not run by like Microsoft or Amazon or whatever, that those. Are not in good shape, and we may actually see a number of them call it quits this year.

[00:22:05] Adam: it's concerning as somebody who likes to attend these event.

[00:22:11] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. So I mean, I'd say given my background in events, I know a lot of people who organize these events. and given being in Dev, I get to attend a lot of events and,

[00:22:21] Adam: Mm-hmm.

[00:22:22] Brian Rinaldi: and I just, I, I've been spending last year since, or so since they've kind of opened up, like talking to people, like see how things are going because I've run conferences for many years, and even ran one right before covid, which, you know, nearly killed me.

[00:22:38] Brian Rinaldi: but I'm always like, oh, maybe I'll get back into like running a, an in-person event. and the more I kind of dug into how things were going, the more I was like, no, I'm staying far away right now. you know, so cuz it's just things are not, not in good shape. a lot of, a lot of events are down about, based on my talks to people, most events are down, still down about 40% from where they were pre covid.

[00:23:07] Brian Rinaldi: Even though everybody thinks like event in-person events are back, they're not the attendance they used to be. that combined with the fact that many of them are still under, venue contracts that existed before covid that just kind of got delayed. which means that they have, they've, they're kind of locked into, deals that weren't, are not necessarily advantageous for a smaller event if you're down 40%.

[00:23:31] Brian Rinaldi: it's, it's, that's

[00:23:32] Adam: already locked in on the catering bill.

[00:23:35] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. You probably, you have a catering minimum, you probably have a room, you know, like a guaranteed room guarantee for a certain number of rooms. You have, you know, you've paid for space that's probably acce in excess of what you need. you know, so it, it's, it's kind of, and I also think even the events that may not be locked into those contracts have keep expecting things to come back.

[00:23:56] Brian Rinaldi: and it just really hasn't come back, cuz we keep thinking we're more or less back to semi-normal. But it's that a chunk of the audience just seems to have disappeared from in-person events and decided not to.

[00:24:13] Conference Expenses

[00:24:13] Ben: I, I know that when I first started going to conferences, maybe like 15 years ago, You talked about this in your article a bit that, I just assumed that the ticket sales paid for everything. I mean, I paid, when I went to CF United in, in Bethesda, Maryland, I think I paid like $900 for my ticket or something, which was like, at, at that time in my life especially was like an ungodly amount of money.

[00:24:37] Ben: And I only, you know, in the subsequent years have learned that $900 for a ticket is actually like, pretty reasonable sometimes. I mean, some of these tickets can be like two, $3,000 I think for, for bigger conferences. So to me, I'm, it, it, I just assumed it was all ticket sales and just to learn about how much everything at a conference costs.

[00:24:56] Ben: I mean, if you look at just the, you know, naively you look and say, oh, you're just using the event space. Like why the hotel is, that's like just gravy for them. They make all their money off of rooms, I would assume. But, but the event space and like all the, like everything is controlled by unions and Kansas soda are like $6.

[00:25:13] Ben: And you talked about the coffee being super expensive. I mean, it's just, I think that's gonna be really, really surprising for, for most people who don't have to think about that kind of stuff.

[00:25:24] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. So like, I mean, yeah, I mentioned the cup of coffee and actually Eric Meyer, who, who ran what was it called? An event apart. He was one of the organizers of an event apart, that's one of the events that called the quits. He, he commented to me on Mastodon, he's like, he's like, yeah, you said, you said it was cost as, as much as, that kind of crappy cup of black coffee you've got would cost as much as Starbucks latte.

[00:25:46] Brian Rinaldi: And he's like, but it actually costs more. , which is part of the problem, like, you know, and I mean, the coffee's bad and it's, it's, it's insanely expensive. so you know that, that's like a tiny little cup of black coffee and it's like eight, $8 each cup,

[00:26:01] Brian Rinaldi: basically, because you have to pay for like, the service and you have to pay for all the, I mean, it's, it's, that's, they will often give you the space for free or at a nominal fee, because okay, well you're gonna have these rooms for free, but then you have to guarantee X amount in, in food and drink and, and plus you, you know, and then a room guarantee if you're in a hotel or whatever.

[00:26:25] Brian Rinaldi: so things like that, where that, that is where they make their money is off the food. and off, off the rooms. Obviously the, the spaces. Is often a loss lead. Like they don't, they don't really get, take anything off the space and then you're locked into like, you know, you have to use their food and then you have to use their partner for, for AV and, and all these things are excessively expensive.

[00:26:47] Brian Rinaldi: I, you know, I would often run things in outside of conference venues because, because of how expensive they were. but you know, it's often the only place that you can really run an event of certain size. Like if you want an event, once you get over like 300 people, you start running out of places that can host you that aren't a conference venue.

[00:27:10] Brian Rinaldi: If you want multiple rooms running at the same time, that's often really difficult to find at, at a non-conference venue. And then you have the added thing, like as an organizer, there's a lot you have to do already. And if you run it at some kind of other venue, oftentimes it's like, well, Now a lot of things that I would just normally go straight to the venue and say, Hey, you know, they're taking care of food, they're taking care of, you know, when stuff gets shipped for sponsors, it has to be there days before because you wanna be able to ship it ahead of time.

[00:27:42] Brian Rinaldi: They're gonna take care of that. They're gonna, you know, all like, there's a ton of like little things that you don't even think about. Then all of a sudden it becomes, it lands on you as the organizer to have to manage all those different pieces. So yeah, you, you've saved a lot of money, but you're also, the burden is really high to run that event.

[00:28:01] Tim: Yeah, I, I've. A few conferences myself, been on the steering committee on several, but, for like being a sponsor of a, of a conference, so we did one in Las Vegas as a sponsor and we wanted to have a beer garden, right? So it was a conference in Las Vegas and when the, the pres, the actual sponsor floor, the, the vendor floor was open for like two days.

[00:28:27] Tim: So it was like $40,000 just to have the booth and then another $20,000 just to serve the beer on those two days. But to be honest, we are the only place in the entire conference serving beer. And we started at like 11:00 AM in Vegas. And so we, we, I mean, we only got two leads, but those two leads totally paid for themselves within that year.

[00:28:47] Tim: And they're like, you know, they'll be customers for years. So, you know, it was a lot of, it was a lot for me, it felt like a lot of money, but to be honest, in the long run, it, it was worth it.

[00:28:57] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. I. I was at Reinvent and we sponsored Reinvent, and our, our booth at reinvent was insane. And, you know, the amount of money I, I can't share with you, but I know what our budget was, and you'd be like, floored. And yet, from like a sponsor standpoint, certain events like, like reinvent. Like they, they tell us every year.

[00:29:18] Brian Rinaldi: It's like, yeah, yeah, we spent a lot, but we're gonna spend more next year because we still made money off that event. So, you know, it really, I mean that's, that, that's a lot like dependent on the event, right? So, and that, and I think it's, it's harder to sell those community events, which are really, it's like much more developer focused in a way than like a reinvent.

[00:29:39] Brian Rinaldi: It's not a marketing event. And, and I think PE developers go there for something different than they go to like a reinvent. You know, one of the things I found odd about reinvent is, is nobody had a problem. Like everybody was there to be sold. They didn't have a problem with me selling to them. That was what they were there for.

[00:29:57] Brian Rinaldi: They're like, they went, it was like they go to the expo basically to go shopping. whereas like the community events, it's, it's a bit of a different atmosphere, right? Like the, the developers there are often like, you know, not the decision makers from a purchasing standpoint. So it's a very different audience.

[00:30:14] Why Is Attendance Down?

[00:30:14] Tim: and, and I, I kind of wonder, so. I have a theory, and I'm gonna run this past you, Brian, because I'm probably wrong. I usually am, and our listeners tell me constantly how wrong I am. so I, I think with developers, you know, we went through this period with, with Covid and everyone kind of just got really, really comfortable with staying at home and we had a lot of conferences online and we just consumed them online, or we got a recording of it later or whatever.

[00:30:41] Tim: I, I, I just get this feeling that developers in particular are more prone to just be like, well, you know what? We had conferences online and they're pretty much free, so why don't we need travel anywhere? I really don't wanna go anywhere, anywhere anyway, so I'm just gonna stay home and if you're gonna make me come to, like, mingle with people in Las Vegas or you know, in Boston or Washington, DC I'm really not that interested.

[00:31:05] Tim: So I'll pass until I find a a, a conference that's just gonna cater to me just. Being an introvert and staying home. I mean, is there any truth to that or just is That's just my imagination.

[00:31:16] Brian Rinaldi: I think there's some truth to it. First of all, I, I gotta distinguish between like I'm, when I talk about the state developer comp, I'm mostly. Like the non like reinvent. I'm not talking, reinvent was nearly at what it was pre covid this last year.

[00:31:31] Tim: I don't know what re is,

[00:31:32] Tim: so.

[00:31:33] Adam: That's the AWS

[00:31:33] Adam: one.

[00:31:35] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. So like Build, I think is the same kind of like these, these these big corporate events are, are doing generally fine.

[00:31:42] Brian Rinaldi: I mean, reinvent was that like 70,000 people. So, at which I think

[00:31:46] Adam: I think

[00:31:47] Brian Rinaldi: pre Covid it was like 80. So

[00:31:50] Adam: a AWS has so much money, they could just, you know, pay people to come in, attendance in the seats.

[00:31:55] Tim: True.

[00:31:56] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah, I mean, yeah, I think half of 'em were employees, but No, I'm kidding. Um, butyeah, so, so I am speaking specifically of like independent events, like not Mark, not these big Mark corporate marketing events, which seem to be doing okay. but there is some truth to that. And that's kind of like where I get to my theory of like, what's happening is that I feel like.

[00:32:18] Brian Rinaldi: Some of the audience. So, okay, if you go back in the day and you, you know, or even, you know, I guess pre covid, think about when you went to a conference. Typically you'd go to the room, like, here's, there's the session room. And you'd have a bunch of people, like let's say you had a 15 minute break before the, the session.

[00:32:37] Brian Rinaldi: There'd be a bunch of people just went in there, sat, grabbed their seat, I'm gonna sit here, wait for the content. Those people often, at least from an organizer's standpoint, like I would see those were the same people who generally, as soon as the event, the sessions are over, they, they went back to the hotel room, they went home, whatever, they were there purely for the content, right?

[00:32:57] Brian Rinaldi: And I kind of guesstimated like it was about 40% of the audience. And this, by the way, this is true for meetups too, when I ran the meetup here. So we had a pretty big meetup and it was like we'd get anywhere from a hundred to 200 people for this meetup. And we'd have like, you know, about 40% of the group just come grab a seat, wait for the talk.

[00:33:16] Brian Rinaldi: As soon as the talk was over, they, they book it out and, not hang around and chat with anybody. and then you had the, the other people who came, they wanted to network. They were there to meet people. They were there to like, you know, just have that interaction and, and stuff

[00:33:29] Tim: hire people.

[00:33:31] Brian Rinaldi: yeah. And those, those people have come back.

[00:33:33] Brian Rinaldi: That's my theory. Those people have all come back because I go to these events now, and I'm like, where I even run the local meetups and stuff and it's like, okay, I used to have to kind of encourage people, Hey, why don't you talk to other people? And now it's like, you know, everybody's chatting, everybody shows up to the

[00:33:51] Brian Rinaldi: social event.

[00:33:52] Brian Rinaldi: It's like, okay, you know, there's not that the people who, who would rather be home. So I'm, my kind of theory was that, that those people are the ones who came back, the ones who really needed that interaction and everybody else who. It feels like, Hey, I could go to an online event, I can watch YouTube now.

[00:34:12] Brian Rinaldi: And like I get exactly what I needed out of this, which is just the content

[00:34:16] Brian Rinaldi: without the hassle and the expense has decided they're just not gonna go. and for what it's worth, like this post is kind of a year in the making in the, because I've been going to offense for like a year plus, let's say.

[00:34:29] Brian Rinaldi: Whenever, as soon as events started opening back up. And I would talk to organizers constantly and be like, cuz I know them from my, you know, work as an organizer myself. And I'm like, I'd ask them how things were going, what, how's, you know, what were they expecting? How, how much were they down? Cuz I was thinking about getting back in myself and I'm just like, okay.

[00:34:48] Brian Rinaldi: seeing what, how they're doing. And I would even, I passed this theory around with organizers for, for ages, and every one of 'em was like, you know, I can't, there's no way to be sure, but that sounds pretty. It has a lot of like, potential truth to it. and then that post went out and I've had organizer after organizer sharing it, saying everything he says Here is exactly what I've, I'm been experienced and I thought it was a US thing.

[00:35:16] Brian Rinaldi: But for the most part it's like I've, I've heard from people in Latin America, from Asia, like who've shared the post and been like, yep, same, same thing here. So

[00:35:25] Tim: Yeah, so anecdotally I can tell you, so our very first, so in 2021, we went back to our first trade show as a, as a sponsor. And I got the feeling and it's like, cause I would like say people would come in, we'd talk to them and say who you know, who you with? We found there was a whole lot of, like the salespeople, it was like, It was like all salespeople at the show.

[00:35:47] Tim: There was no buyers There were no buyers there because they're like, the salespeople like, we just wanna get back on the road. They were itching. They, it's like a year and a half, almost two years. They hadn't been going anywhere. They just want to get out there because they felt useless. Right. It's like they've been doing year, year and a half of like online, zoom calls to try to do sales and they're like, we just wanna go to a show.

[00:36:08] Tim: And, and that's kinda the feeling I got. And, and I'm, I mean, I didn't go to any shows in 2022. I will this year. but yeah, I sort of got that feeling like it's like, it was like just, we just wanna get the engine going again. but pretty much like last year was, I, I just got the feeling that it was a whole lot of, salespeople talking to salespeople.

[00:36:26] Tim: Not a whole lot of buyers or, or consumers of, of the product.

[00:36:31] Brian Rinaldi: yeah, yeah. I, I mean that, that could be, I, I've, I've seen a lot of, like the Deval folks are, are there, they're at all these events and they're like, the events are not short on people applying to speak. , the other oddity. But that's cuz the people applying to speak are like several folks who thrive on that interaction and stuff like that.

[00:36:52] Brian Rinaldi: So, and for what's worth the other side of this coin is that, is that the virtual events are down too. So all those people who like, who Yeah. Who wanted to go to virtual events. like I saw my event spike up in, you know, during Covid big time and it's dropped a lot. The, not just dropped, but the behaviors different too.

[00:37:13] Brian Rinaldi: Like people will come, like few people will sign up, but most of 'em watch the recording. Like fewer people come live and most of 'em are watching the recordings. They're not, they're not even attending the live version of the event. which is a distinct difference from how things were for a while. I, I, I could predict how many people we'd more or less get, as an example, like, I had, you know, I ran one in January, a virtual conference, and we were down about 40% in, in actual tickets, like basic people pre-registering for the event.

[00:37:47] Brian Rinaldi: We had the exact same number, like we had one more person attend live than last year. I mean, that's a substantially like, but so lots of people buying tickets. And then now we've had a lot more people watching the recording. So, you know, it's like all those people who signed up last year didn't show up are actually now like waiting and just watching the recordings.

[00:38:11] Tim: Do you, do you charge with recording?

[00:38:13] Brian Rinaldi: I'm charged for any of that. I, I, I learned last year, you know, during covid you could get away with charging for a virtual event. Now it's like nobody's gonna pay for a virtual event. I, I mean, I hate to say it like, I know some people still charge and. Occasionally people who still pay, but it's, it's really, it's, it's not a, an easy thing.

[00:38:32] Brian Rinaldi: So I basically get sponsors and

[00:38:35] Brian Rinaldi: to cover the costs that are associated with the virtual event. Make it free.

[00:38:39] Ben: Do you think that there's an age component here at all? And, and I mean that only because the, the tech industry web development, maybe more specifically. You know, started in, in like the nineties and we were all relatively young when, when we were going to conferences and, and I, and I only bring this up because I think about it now, if I want to go to a conference or even just a meetup like that, I don't have anything local.

[00:39:07] Ben: When I go to meetup.com and I look for stuff, it's all like two and a half hours away. Like it would be a, I'd have to get a hotel room to go to a meetup and I think about like, I gotta leave my family and, and the dog and then like, my wife has to take care of the dog. And it's like leaving has a lot more weight than it did, you know, 10 years ago when, when nobody cared what I did.

[00:39:30] Ben: And, I don't know if it's just like there's a certain population of people who are not, I don't wanna say aging out of going to conferences, but just that conferences have more of a, of, of a weight to them than they did before.

[00:39:42] Tim: You know this new generation's constantly cycling

[00:39:44] Ben: No, I know, but they're, they're, you know, they're a generation that likes to watch movies on their phone.

[00:39:49] Ben: I mean, they're, they're dummies. I can't, you know, I can't,

[00:39:52] Tim: Wait, hold on. Don't talk about my

[00:39:53] Brian Rinaldi: whoa,

[00:39:54] Tim: Oh, it was

[00:39:56] Tim: fight words.

[00:39:57] Brian Rinaldi: yeah. I hope your editor figures out a way to edit

[00:40:00] Tim: No,

[00:40:01] Tim: that's staying in. That's staying in. Ben hates young people. Ben hates young people.

[00:40:07] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. So,

[00:40:08] Adam: were the one that wanted haters.

[00:40:11] Brian Rinaldi: I, I think you're right. In one set, somebody commented, like, I got, I got a feedback on the, the post, but, and it's not, it's kind of the opposite of what you're saying. Not that people are aging out. So we, we had so much hiring, so many new developers in the past five years. A lot of them kind of came into the industry more or less during these covid years that like sudden. They never, they never got to go to conferences. It was not even a thing for them. Like, so, so their theory was that a lot of these people just figured like, eh, what's the big deal? I'm not gonna go. you know, I don't know if that's the case, but

[00:40:52] Ben: to some degree, you know, when I say people watch movies on their phone, but like, like that's kind of what I mean is, is, is that there's a generation now of kids who, who learning from a media screen is, is not just one of the ways they do it. It's almost like the only way they know

[00:41:09] Tim: only way. Yeah,

[00:41:09] Brian Rinaldi: primary, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that, that could be,

[00:41:13] Tim: I, I ripped you for that, Ben. But honestly, it's like, I'm thinking of my son right now. You know, he's like taking these cybersecurity courses. Everything he's done has been a hundred percent online. He's not gone to one class. He's got like certificates for like cybersecurity, and none of it has been in-person classes.

[00:41:29] Tim: And so I think, I think there is the generation coming up. They're. I don't really understand what the benefit of going, hanging out with a bunch of people at a bar and talking about code would be because I've never done it.

[00:41:42] Brian Rinaldi: I, I think that there's possible possibility that that's true. and that would actually be a theory you could sort of test relatively easily, cuz

[00:41:52] Brian Rinaldi: events kind of know the demographics of who attends and if the, the, if they could see, if the demographics are trending older, then that would be, you know, validation of that idea.

[00:42:04] Brian Rinaldi: I mean, it's, it's possible. I, it's really, I, I can't say for sure what the reasoning is. I think we, you know, we're gonna have to like, well, okay, I'll say two things. One, one thing is first of all, that it's always easy when an event succeeds to kind of pick out why it has succeeded. I can tell you and run a lot of events, knowing why an event failed is really difficult, cuz you can't ask the people who didn't show up why they didn't show up.

[00:42:32] Brian Rinaldi: Right. and so it often is very difficult to figure out what, why people aren't coming. And so you're left kind of, you know, throwing things at the, you know, at the wall trying to see what sticks to, to draw people next time. so, so I don't know that we will ever really quite know what's happened. I, I kind of feel like at this point we have to adjust to a new reality, which is of smaller events.

[00:42:59] Brian Rinaldi: I think people are looking for something different outta these events cuz they're more, they're more interested in that interaction and that networking aspect. And so the content, while it's important, it's always been what we led with before. It's like, come here, see the speaker. Right. But it really, I think a lot of people are coming there.

[00:43:17] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. I wanna see that speaker, but I mostly wanna see people, and, and kind of network and stuff like that. So, so maybe we gotta lean into that a little bit and, and adjust the events to be a bit different in the way they're formatted.

[00:43:32] Why Should People Go To Conferences?

[00:43:32] Tim: And I hope so because I mean, honestly, let's, let's look at the situation here. All three of you, I know from conferences, I, I would not, I would not, I wouldn't be on this podcast had I not met Adam.

[00:43:45] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah.

[00:43:46] Tim: I'm pretty sure Adam, well maybe he would've got Ben, cuz Ben's like a prolific blogger. But it's like, and, and Brian, the only time I've ever met you is at conferences.

[00:43:55] Tim: So it's like, I hope this doesn't go away because I think it's a super important aspect of, of, of our life. And, you know, introverts, people think they're, they're antisocial, they're not, they just need something in common to talk about. They, it's like they don't wanna just talk for talking sake like extroverts do.

[00:44:14] Tim: If we have, like, we're, hey, we're talking about, hey, I've had this problem with s m s, what have you done, Tim? Okay, yeah. I can talk all day about all the crap I've dealt with, with texting messages. and so that unites us, right? We have something, we have a united goal to talk about and that we don't feel like we're just talking for talking sake.

[00:44:31] Tim: So I just really hope this doesn't go away. If we, whatever tweaks we need to make to conferences, I hope we can make them so that we can actually be in person again. and get that, because nothing beats that. I mean, seriously, if you, if you're just on a Zoom call with 500 people, you don't see, most of 'em don't turn the screens on.

[00:44:51] Tim: And it's like you just, you are watching a recording and there's no interaction and there's just, there's there's lost opportunity there. So Brian, fix it for us. Figure out how we figure out how we can make the in-person conferences Cool. Again.

[00:45:05] Adam: I, I think that, for me the, the value proposition of, of conferences was always twofold, right? So I would get my employer to pay to send me to a conference. They would pay for my airfare and my ticket. And, and I think the ticket usually included food, right? and, and

[00:45:21] Adam: from,or per diem, it depended on where I was working at the time.

[00:45:24] Adam: And then, usually I would sweeten a deal by like, trying really hard to submit a talk and, and get picked to speak so that then my, at least my room would be covered. If not, you know, more than that. And so that was good for the company because A, if I was speaking, you know, I was getting our name out there, maybe it would help us with hiring, but at the very least, from their perspective, I'm learning something, right?

[00:45:42] Adam: I'm there, I'm getting training. You know, there's, they might be spending $2,000 for me to be gone for a weekend. you know, I'm not even gone on work hours. I might miss like a half day on Friday or something for travel. But, you know, so that's their value. And for me, the value was always the hallway track, like you were talking about Tim, you know, meeting people, making connections, learning who's doing interesting things, who can I, latch onto and suck value out of for the rest of their life.

[00:46:06] Adam: Uh, ,invite them on my podcast later. Um,and, for me, that's the most devastating thing about the idea of conferences going away. Like maybe it's, maybe it's the millennial in me. I'm, I'm think I'm on the younger side of our generation and, and gray area millennial or not. But, You know, I, I like YouTube content from conferences because I can watch it at two x or because I can rewind it and rewatch it, or I can turn on the closed captions if I can't quite follow somebody's accent or something.

[00:46:35] Adam: I, I mean that's not to say anything negative about in-person events. I think that they just are different modes of learning. but what I think is interesting to ask in this moment is Brian, you know, you've talked about how you have had conversations with so many different organizers and they all see the same thing going on.

[00:46:53] Adam: I have to imagine that all of them are trying to figure out what that they, what they can do to provide value that an attendee can't get from an online conference. That, you know, what can they do to sweeten the deal on the hallway track or other, you know, in per some sort of activity that has to be in person that's not just like, come hang out with a speaker.

[00:47:15] Adam: you know, what are the. Have you seen any patterns or interesting ideas?

[00:47:19] Brian Rinaldi: you know, I, I talk a lot about, a conference called that conference, which is, it.

[00:47:23] Brian Rinaldi: happens in Wisconsin. They have one in Texas now too, though. That one's really small. Um, but there are other ones like this that are trying to do things slightly different. They've been doing this for years, but it's just like, build a community around our event.

[00:47:36] Brian Rinaldi: you know, and, and see if, if that generates like a kind of loyalty out of people that they keep coming back. That one in particular like does something where like you can bring your whole family and it's like they have event, they have sessions for kids and, and for, you know, so you, you're encouraged to bring your family to that event, which is also kind of different.

[00:47:58] Brian Rinaldi: I mean, I think there those are, that, that's like one creative idea.

[00:48:01] Ben: wasn't there a RIA cruise or something like in a, like a

[00:48:05] Ben: conference on

[00:48:06] Brian Rinaldi: Years

[00:48:06] Adam: Oh, I remember that. Joshua Seer, right?

[00:48:10] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. Yeah. Josh se. , you know, I, I don't know that, that, that would, cuz that's hard to convince my, I still gotta get my employer to pay for it. And unlike you, Adam, I actually like, I'm like, and I'd rather it be during the week because then I don't have to work, but Okay.

[00:48:26] Adam: Oh. I mean, I would rather it be during the week too, but the, this just happened to fall on the weekend.

[00:48:30] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. but I think, I think they're thinking about it, it's, it's not that easy to shift course on these things because, because typically they're planning the next one before, you know, almost as soon as the last one ended. And, and so you're kind of got this machine rolling and, you know, and particularly if that's really, like a business for you, it, it's not that easy.

[00:48:53] Brian Rinaldi: But I don't know. I mean, and to, to be clear, I'm not saying conferences are going away. I think we're gonna have fewer, particularly of the smaller ones. And, and I, I feel like that's why I worry is because the big ones, I go, I go to the big ones and I don't, I don't generally meet anybody. , the only people I meet might be, are generally people I already know because it's so hard to find anybody there.

[00:49:13] Brian Rinaldi: it's these smaller events that I, I think are like, if, if, well I think we all met at CF United or CF objective, you know, one of the two years ago. And if those had been 40,000 people, I don't know that we would've met. you know, but, but because there were 800 to a thousand people like that give us the opportunity to meet people.

[00:49:35] Brian Rinaldi: you know, so

[00:49:36] Brian Rinaldi: those are the events I worry about.

[00:49:38] Ben: that's something that I think about a lot, which is that I, I often wonder, and I don't know if this is just my own perception of the world coming from CFML, that the technology world just used to feel much more cozy, like everyone did jQuery. So when you went to a jQuery conference, like you knew people because you knew them from online and like people were writing jQuery plugins and you were, you knew them from that.

[00:50:02] Ben: And, and, and I don't know, now it just feels like there's so many different technologies and so many different areas of interest. There's not that, there's just not that coziness. And I don't, it feels, I dunno, it just feels

[00:50:16] Adam: And all these new people are like notifications in your inbox, Ben, you don't, you don't want to touch

[00:50:20] Ben: I know. I just have to ignore.

[00:50:23] Tim: Hey, you're gonna be the Hot Hotwire Evangelist.

[00:50:30] Brian Rinaldi: it, I, I think things are more siloed and, and, and, Some of the events that seem to be doing okay are like geared towards very niche. Like, okay, I'm only for this. You know, I, and I'm, I, that also makes me sad. But that's a whole other topic, which is just that like, you know, we, we used to have a lot of web development conferences, for instance, and now it's all like, you know, oh, framework this conference.

[00:50:58] Brian Rinaldi: You know, like, you know, I dunno, those, that to me is like, it keeps me in my bubble, doesn't teach me something. I mean, like, I learn more, maybe more about this one tool that I use, but it doesn't introduce me to tools I might never have thought about using, but

[00:51:15] Tim: I'll say at the conference, I wanna see, I told Adam he had like a last year at a, like, what are our goals? I'm a Working Code dev conference where y'all just, we all just go to Cabo. We go to Cabo San Lucas. We, we were in a big house like all the old crew that we used to hang out with. All of us just show up and we all present on some crap.

[00:51:37] Tim: It doesn't matter. We'll just, you know, tell our employers like, yeah, I'm speaking at this conference. And, yeah, we hang out for like three days and Cabo and

[00:51:45] Adam: So, I mean, we have our organizer right here,

[00:51:48] Tim: for sure

[00:51:49] Brian Rinaldi: yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I, I think it, this sounds like a gr I sounds like a great idea. I'd love to be there. I don't know how the sponsors would feel about this. Like,

[00:51:59] Brian Rinaldi: Uh,up you, what's going on

[00:52:02] Tim: No, no, come on. I'm, I'm sure I, I'm sure we get at least a hundred

[00:52:07] Brian Rinaldi: Oh, a hundred. Okay.

[00:52:09] Tim: Maybe a hundred Houston Reactor will sponsor it. Come on.

[00:52:13] Adam: to, to sign up, you have to show your old blog posts from early

[00:52:16] Tim: Exactly. Yeah, for

[00:52:18] Brian Rinaldi: Oh God. Those I. Okay. I wouldn't even be able to go now cuz my old blog posts have long I retired

[00:52:24] Adam: archive.org. Right.

[00:52:26] Brian Rinaldi: There you go. There you go.

[00:52:27] Blogging, Online Interaction

[00:52:27] Brian Rinaldi: I, you know, it's crazy too, like a total side note, but like, I, I was looking, I was redoing my blog recently when this part of like, my, my thing for this year was start blogging again, which is what led to this post and other stuff, lately.

[00:52:41] Tim: which blew up, by the way.

[00:52:42] Brian Rinaldi: yeah. Yeah. Thanks that. Yeah, it's been fun. Like, like it's just writing for me again, except just writing for work. But, yeah, so that blog is already old and it doesn't have any of my stuff for my CFML days. so I haven't quite been blogging as long as Ray Camden with his 20 years of blogging, but I am, I'm not that far behind him,

[00:53:06] Tim: no,

[00:53:07] Brian Rinaldi: it's been a

[00:53:07] Adam: So your, your blog doesn't have comments on it. How do you keep track of like, who,

[00:53:14] Adam: yeah. You just delete every comment. how do you keep track of what people are saying and, and where it's being talked about or, you know, like, do you

[00:53:22] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah, some people DM me with, with like, here you're .

[00:53:26] Brian Rinaldi: you're, you're .Exactly. No, you know, I I, I've lost track of that a lot, especially cuz now I'm not on Twitter at all. other than I just for dms, I don't, I don't actually so, so yeah, I, I've, I've lost track of a lot of that. It's mostly like, this one got a lot on LinkedIn.

[00:53:45] Brian Rinaldi: It was in newsletters and people would let say, Hey, I saw this, you know, here. you know, I'd see it on Mastodon, which is the only place I'm really on social, like, for social media anymore. so yeah, I don't, I don't know. I, speaking of that, I have a blog post sitting there like ready to talk about, like, to, to write this, my week, this weekend is like, how do you do Dere without Twitter?

[00:54:09] Brian Rinaldi: Cuz it's been there since day

[00:54:10] Brian Rinaldi: one

[00:54:11] Tim: for the after show.

[00:54:12] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. So

[00:54:13] Adam: yeah, that'll be an interesting thing.

[00:54:15] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah, it really does. It's actually that, that's been impactful. so I, I don't know the conversation that's got, I, I've, other than people hearing about it, I decided to disable comments cuz honestly, I never got any, and it was a pain in the button.

[00:54:28] Brian Rinaldi: I don't feel like

[00:54:29] Tim: Well, Ben does, but they're mostly hate mail, so

[00:54:32] Ben: Yeah, I don't, I mean,

[00:54:34] Ben: talk about

[00:54:34] Brian Rinaldi: about your 20 year old pictures that are often the top.

[00:54:38] Ben: Well, yeah. I mean, going back to the idea that the world used to feel much more cozy, it also just feels like even online there used to be more engagement and now it's, it's like a ghost town compared to what it used to be.

[00:54:52] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. Yeah. It

[00:54:53] Tim: I don't know if it's a ghost down. I think that, I think there's just a lot more noise to signal.

[00:54:58] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah.

[00:54:59] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. I, you know, it is, it's, it is a weird time. I, I don't completely disagree with you. I think there's a lot going on. It's just not. It's not necessarily

[00:55:12] Tim: What you

[00:55:12] Brian Rinaldi: the, yeah, there's, there's like less value to the conversations that are going on, which is why I don't miss Twitter, honestly. Cuz it turns

[00:55:22] Brian Rinaldi: out those conversations were, were not good.

[00:55:25] Brian Rinaldi: So, yeah.

[00:55:26] Adam: They were not building me up. They do not spark Joy

[00:55:30] Brian Rinaldi: no, exactly.

[00:55:32] Tim: Let's Marie Kondo, that stuff.

[00:55:34] Ben: Hey, let me ask one question before we, it sounds like we're, we're wrapping up here, but I, I kind of, in the middle of the pandemic, I was listening to an interview with a guy who was talking about wanting to start his own event company. and he was talking about how expensive it was to be at a hotel and, and kind of to Tim's joking point about going to Cabo or wherever it was, you know, like, oh, we could just rent like a mansion and host a couple hundred people or something.

[00:55:59] Ben: And he looked into it and he's like, oh, like immediately upfront I need to get 5 million in liability insurance to be able to have 500 people in the house. And he's like, that's a no go from the start. When you host an event at a, at a hotel, I do. Are they handling all of the liability insurance or do you as an organizer have to bring insurance with you?

[00:56:20] Brian Rinaldi: you have to bring insurance. So like when I've done this through companies, they, their company, like corporate insurance policy, often covered. but from an organizer standpoint, I don't know how it is renting a house cuz I've never looked into that. But any other venue, like even for my meetup, we often be, because a lot of even that's become more difficult to get venues.

[00:56:41] Brian Rinaldi: We actually have to show insurance. and what you, what Yeah, it's, yeah, things have changed for that too. we could have a whole other show about that. but yeah, there's places that will sell you one time insurance policies that are like actually super, super cheap. So you just pay like, you know, it's like a hundred bucks and it covers, you know, they're like, do you how many people you're gonna have alcohol?

[00:57:04] Brian Rinaldi: That? A couple of questions. And it's like, okay, here's your policy for that particular

[00:57:08] Brian Rinaldi: event. It's that, that part's not a big deal. it, you know, it'll go, that price goes, ranges depending on the nature of the event and what you're doing. But, but it's, it's really not that bad.

[00:57:20] Tim: Usually costs less than the cost of the pizza you're buying for everybody.

[00:57:24] Brian Rinaldi: Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. Definitely less than the food. Yeah, for sure.

[00:57:28] Tim: For sure.

[00:57:29] Adam:

[00:57:29] Patreon

[00:57:29] Adam: Okay. This episode of Working Code was brought to you by Hotwire.

[00:57:32] Adam: look for your neighborhood Ben Nadel, Hotwire Evangelist. Coming soon. And listeners like you, if you're enjoying the show and you wanna make sure that we can keep putting more of whatever this is out into the universe than you should consider supporting us on Patreon, our patrons cover our recording and editing costs.

[00:57:48] Adam: We couldn't do this every week without them. special thanks to our top patrons, Monte and Giancarlo, but I did also this week wanna just throw out a special thank you to everybody that supports at that minimum level. There's a bunch of you, you know who you are. And I just wanna say we appreciate you because having a lot of people support at a small amount brings a lot of stability, right?

[00:58:09] Adam: that way cuz people have to come and go. And we don't begrudge you that, you know, we've had patrons come and go over the years and, and, you know, we're just happy that you ever thought, enough of us to give us a little bit of your money for even a small amount of time. So we totally understand if you need to go, no hard feelings, but by having a lot of people supporting at that minimum $4 a month level, that just brings stability to the amount of money that we have and, and helps us forecast and spend appropriately.

[00:58:35] Adam: So we really appreciate you guys. Thank you very much. and you know, if you were thinking if you were on the fence, you know, $4 a month from you doesn't, doesn't seem like it would help much, but actually it really does. So if you're on the fence, please consider patreon.com/WorkingCodePod.

[00:58:49] Tim: Hey, and it's tax season, so if you get a tax refund and you wanna do a yearly, we have a yearly subscription, which is a discount, but will help us out a lot.

[00:58:57] Adam:

[00:58:57] Thanks For Listening!

[00:58:57] Adam: your homework this week. I'm going to, once again, I'm once again asking you to leave us a review

[00:59:05] Tim: Okay, Bernie,

[00:59:07] Adam: to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. go to workingcode.dev/review and that will take you to Apple Podcast in your local, what TLD I guess, if that makes sense.

[00:59:17] Adam: and you can leave us a review there and we would really appreciate it. Thank you very much. that's gonna do it for us this week. We'll catch you next week. Until then,

[00:59:25] Tim: remember your heart matters. Join us in Cabo and drink our $10 Cokes

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