I’m not supposed to be here.
I know. We’re all thinking that, and it’s true for everyone. But I was literally supposed to be somewhere else this month. In another province – one that has never seemed further away.
“Instead of crying, I started laughing.”
We know what we’re gaining by staying home (safely). What are we losing? And what are those organizations and communities that were built to bring you to a specific place, at a specific time, doing now?
Uniting the Prairies is an annual tech conference connecting the Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan tech communities. For a region often considered “flyover country” by the major Canadian tech hubs, that’s a big deal.
UP 2020 was to be the event’s second year, and feature speakers from Microsoft, Shopify, Google, and BetaKit, as well as a ton of local founders and startups. Jordan Dutchak, founder of the conference and executive director of Co.Labs, a Saskatchewan technology incubator and partner for the event, explains what it’s like to pull the plug on the event you built for your community, and how that community is getting through COVID-19.
Not every event is cancelled. While many of the major tech events have halted, some have pivoted to video! Collision will attempt that later in June, and so will CIX.
But there are still events scheduled for later in the year sitting in limbo. Like many professional sports, there’s a possibility they might return, but almost a certainty that they won’t look the same.
Take Elevate, Canada’s largest home-grown tech and innovation festival, which is scheduled for late September. We spoke with Lisa Zarzeczny, Elevate’s Senior Director of Operations, about what it’s like to plan for an event in an uncertain world, and how the festival has tried to re-produce its in-person experience online.
Hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Produced with support from TWG.