O’Reilly closes the live conference business

the coronavirus scare You have claimed yet another financial accident, which in this case will have a huge impact on the tech world. O’Reilly Media, which runs events such as Strata Data and OSCON, has decided to close its live conference business for good.

It comes in the wake of one series of cancellations triggered by travel bans and shelter-on-site directives that have canceled virtually all live events during the spring season, which along with the fall is a highlight of technology conferences. The first domino that fell was Mobile World Congress originally set for Barcelona last month. Looking ahead, some events like Google Cloud NEXT 2020 has been postponed indefinitely, while others like Microsoft Build 2020, is converted to digital online events.

O’Reilly had already pulled the plug on his spring series, such as San Jose Strata Data Conference, originally scheduled a few weeks back.

The news came in a letter this afternoon from O’Reilly vice president of content Rachel Roumeliotis on “I am writing to inform you that we have made the difficult decision to close the personal conference business in O’Reilly including the upcoming Strata Data & AI conference. “

At this point, the ink on O’Reilly’s announcement is so new that its site is not yet updated. It still shows events like the Software Architecture Conference, Infrastructure & Ops Conference and TensorFlow World – in addition to OSCON and Strata – on the calendar for the next six months.

The irony is that with the advent of broadband that makes it possible to work virtually, the future of conferences should be jeopardized. Yet, with work becoming more virtual, attendance at conferences was actually spiky. The isolation of working from home actually increased the demand for having the types of random interactions that are only possible when people physically gather. And not surprisingly, city-by-city expanded their conference centers. On a personal note, we find the absence of Strata and other O’Reilly events as a big hole as they gave us the chance to get a grip on the pulse of business without the usual filters.

O’Reilly isn’t pulling out of the event business entirely, but the future will be online. In the same note, Roumeliotis added, “We will certainly be innovating in the virtual space.”

postscript: Here’s the bulletin that O’Reilly Media subsequently released and explained its decision.

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