Hi everyone, yes the most important IT event in Mauritius has been postponed. If you don't mind I'd like to share our activity yesterday about postponing our Developers Conference 2020 in Mauritius.
Starting in the morning the organising team reached out to all partners and supporters of the event via telephone to have a personal conversation with each decision maker on their side asking for their view and opinion in regards to COVID-19 situation on the island. There had been a number of international calls, particularly to the UK and South Africa among the many local ones. Every (!) partner showed great understanding and agreement for our upcoming decision and announcement, some even offered additional support.
Next, we reached out to the venue and explained them our thought process for the delay and asking for their support to shift the event dates to a later stage. Although our agreement stipulates that there would be at least 25% cancellation fee, we remain positive that this won't be the case given the pandemic situation (no confirmed cases in Mauritius yet) which shall be classified as "Force Majeure".
Then we sat down for an official statement which has been published on our regular community website; as anchor for any further communication.
This newsletter has been distributed to all our 1,600+ members, not just the RSVPs of the event, via Meetup. As well as published on all social media channels that we used to promote the event previously.
And lastly we used the mass mailing feature of Sessionize to inform all confirmed speakers.
As it stands for now, the event might be scheduled sometime in September or even later this year. The remaining job that we have to deal with are the various airlines that we booked tickets for the international speakers. Most of them started to offer special conditions and waivers for fees in regards to rebookings.
FYI, overall the response is super positive and we did not receive any negative comment about the decision to postpone the event.
The decision is based on multiple factors:
- Recommendation by the WHO to avoid larger gatherings
- #FlattenTheCurve and #WorkFromHome initiatives
- Cancellations by international speakers
- Establishment of travel bans and border closures (abroad)
- Increasing numbers of quarantined / isolated people on arrival
The following resources added to this decision:
- Flattening A Pandemic's Curve: Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives
- The Korean clusters - How coronavirus cases exploded in South Korean churches and hospitals
- WARNING! Singapore Study Shows That Covid-19 Patients Could Be Misdiagnosed For Dengue Due To False Positive In Dengue Serological Tests
To give you a better inside of the drawbacks on our side I'd like to give you an overview of withdrawals / cancellations due to the travel ban:
- 2 speakers from the USA
- 3 speakers from the UK
- 1 speaker from Denmark
- 1 speaker from France
- 1 speaker from India
- 5 speakers from South Africa
- 2 partners with a total staffing of 6 people from the UK
- 3 partners with a total of ~10 people from South Africa, most prominent Red Hat
All those partners were interested to have their stands placed inside the available area of Caudan Arts Centre, and were looking forward to have in-person interactions with attendees. Particularly in regards to recruitment and job placements.
We thought about going digital / online only but decided against it for the following reasons:
- Partners paid us to have a booth during the event: recruitment is key!
- International speakers wouldn't be around for recording
- Lack of experience with live streaming
- Lack of enough channels to live stream sessions in parallel (4 tracks vs. 1 stream on YT)
- Empty rooms / no audience for the speaker(s) is awkward. :wink:
What are your thoughts?
How do you deal with cancelled / postponed events (at the moment)?
Any advice what we should do now?
Thanks for reading this essay and looking forward to your feedback in the comments.Image credit: Brandon Lopez