Remote Work
Dec 18, 2019

Remote Conferences Don't Work

I saw something the other day about a “remote conference.”

Now, I’m a huge fan of remote work (in fact, I sometimes feel like I never leave the house except to go to the gym). I think there’s a bit of a halo effect around the word remote because remote work is so great.

There are some things that we should not apply the remote concept to. Remote marriages, for example, would not be good. Marriage is cool, and remote is cool, but they don’t work together.

What makes remote work great is that you can do the work from anywhere, on your own schedule, and on your own terms. That works. But a conference? I understand the concept...we’re all going to log in remotely and listen to talks. The idea behind it makes sense, and comes from a good place. Not everyone can afford to travel to a conference, and this makes it more accessible.

But what makes a conference a conference is more than just watching the talks. Watching talks online isn’t a conference—it’s basically just a livestream.

Maybe there’s a chatroom aspect, where you can network with other attendees. But that’s basically Twitter.

You just can’t really replicate with remote what makes a conference great—that person-to-person connection.

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