Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Finland has forbidden meetings of more than ten people at a time. As a result, we’ve decided to postpone the conference. To make up for the change, we’ll run a series of mini-conferences instead to serve the community while hoping for the best.
In our statement regarding the now pandemic COVID-19 outbreak, we highlighted three options depending on how the situation will develop. Now, roughly two weeks later, it’s clear the conference will fall within the third, and the worst scenario we outlined.
Conference runs online - In the case it's not possible to run the conference at all, we'll run it fully online. We'll go with this option in case the government of Finland declares a national emergency and forbids public events altogether.
React Finland has been postponed to 2021#
We’ve decided to postpone the physical part of the conference by a year to 2021 (24-28.05). We considered moving the conference to the Fall but given how unpredictable the situation is currently, we’re afraid it might lead back to the same situation again. Instead, we decided to wait for a full year.
Organizing a conference is an upfront investment#
One of the difficult parts of organizing a conference is that it requires upfront planning and investment. React Finland 2020 is/was our first conference through our new business entity and in terms of money we’re starting from zero. To make a conference like React Finland happen, we require the support of the community in terms of sponsorships and ticket sales.
The fact poses a problem when something unexpected like the current COVID-19 outbreak happens and therefore it’s important to find solutions that are satisfactory to all parties while allowing us to keep organizing the events.
What are my options?#
In case you bought a conference ticket for React Finland 2020, we provide the following options on how to proceed:
- We match the best price (299 eur) for the conference ticket, refund the difference, and move the ticket to the next conference. As a bonus, you can access our React Finland 2020 online mini-conferences explained later in this post.
- We refund the difference between your ticket price and the best price (299 eur) on 29th of May when the sales for React Finland 2021 begin. The remaining money is refunded as we receive sales for the conference and are able to refund the money.
For workshops, we do a similar arrangement. Because of health and safety concerns, each workshop will take place online instead. We’ll discuss individually with each workshop instructor to find a good solution. The following options are available:
- If you still prefer to participate in a workshop even in its online form, we’ll refund half of the workshop price. That’s our half and given we cannot provide value for it, it’s only fair to give it back.
- If you want your money back instead, we’ll give your money back.
Often when traveling to a conference from abroad, the cost of a ticket is small compared to the other costs. For this reason, it’s important you’ll get in touch with your travel related providers and see if they can either refund or postpone your travel. You should also get in touch with your insurance provider as they may be able to help in these exceptional times.
We'll send you a separate query regarding your preferences through our ticket platform.
React Finland 2020 will be a series of online mini-conferences#
Although the conference itself has been postponed, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to wait a year. One of the side effects of the COVID-19 outbreak has been that an increasing amount of especially IT related work has moved remote and fully online. We feel the situation is going to push conferences to do the same and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
The initial idea was to run the entire conference online in the original dates (28-29.05). The problem with conferences is always the fact that it can take a long while to digest the content so we decided to do something different as we aren’t bound by time anymore. Based on this realization, we’ve decided to run React Finland 2020 as a series of online mini-conferences.
One of the perhaps unique features of React Finland is that it has been designed around themed sessions. Each session has 2-3 speakers and the topics are related to each other. As it happens, the arrangement is an excellent fit for online mini-sessions.
Here’s what we have in mind:
- There will be at least eight online sessions
- The sessions are held on a monthly basis starting from 28th of May at the end of each month
- The session topics will follow the original schedule theme-wise and we’ll negotiate separately with each speaker to make sure they are fine with it. If needed, we’ll find suitable replacements as this may be needed due to time zones and other issues given the format is different.
- Each session will take roughly four hours with QA and social time included (17:00-21:00)
The benefit of the approach is that you can join in after a day of remote work and learn more about React and its surrounding technologies at a relaxed pace over time.
A peek at our emergency budget#
In a situation like this, it’s expected to lose some money. Because of this, we created an emergency budget when creating the plan above.
We expect to lose roughly 42000 euros on travel, accommodation, the venue, and side costs. A part of this may be refunded as the situation clears up. It’s possible we can push some of the travel to the next edition.
We forfeit our personal pay and not a single organizer will get paid despite the time spent, and we absorb this loss personally.
It’s for this reason why we cannot offer full refund for everything out of the box and why we had to come up with the scheme to allow spreading the financial impact of the crisis over a longer period of time. Some of the losses will be pushed to the next conference and our hope is that with the support of the community, we can get through these challenging times.
Although the flame might be flickering, I hope we can find ways to keep the spirit of React Finland alive even if it means finding new approaches and ways to serve our community.
Our hope is that by 2021, the situation has normalized somewhat and we’ll be able to run the physical part of the event yet again. I wish you the best of luck with the on-going crisis and hope to see some of you in the online mini-conferences and workshops we’ll arrange this year.