The next edition of t2 will happen in spring 2021. We’re opening our thought process below.
As the first phase of COVID-19 pandemic is almost behind us, it may initially seem counter-intuitive to cancel now. Rest assured, we still know what we’re doing. t2 has always been an event for the community by the community, and shifting the traditional October event was not an easy decision, but it was the only one we could make.
This isn’t the case of being risk averse, rather it’s about understanding both the upsides and the downsides, our own values and focusing on what truly matters.
As a community event, protecting both our audience and speakers is the only important thing at the moment. While countermeasures and protocols against the novel coronavirus and other infectious diseases have been implemented all over Europe, there’s very little practical experience on living with the “new normal”. Second wave might be coming in the fall and that’s just Europe. Last year we had visitors from 17 different countries.
Being a practically-non-commercial event, we can err on the side of caution – there’s no need to calculate “acceptable infection rate”. If you don’t personally know your audience and guests, you might be tempted to categorize “95-99% uninfected” as a job well done, and the few infected just being the cost of doing business. Yet, many of our visitors are longtime t2 attendees and good friends – the rest, new friends and (hopefully) future t2 visitors. Who’s an acceptable casualty?
With the heavy parts out of the way, we can now ridicule glitchy webinars as full blown conference replacements. No doubt watching a hung-over Grugq deliver a keynote over Zoom, wearing just Vibrams without pants, and waiting for the video to buffer like it’s RealPlayer’s heyday, is the epitome of conference immersion for many. After all, how cool it is to sit at home, unshaven and alone, in pajamas, while tweeting how awesome a conference you’re attending? During breaks, you can either join a chat room with thirty to fifty other introverts trying to make awkward small talk all implementing CSMA/CD, or better yet, call one of the other attendees you know and with whom you speak weekly in any case. Instead of proving Dave Aitel so wrong by serving him pizza in Europe at 02:30AM, you can play online (chat) roulette or read someone else’s retweets.
The in-person interaction, exchange of gifts/drinks/insults/cash/exploits, lobby bar chats, meeting new people or old friends whom you mostly meet in conferences, or just casually (and legally!) analysing the security level of a publicly available computing device are the key ingredients for a successful t2. Just like Campari & Soda, t2 is an acquired taste.
By postponing the event to 2021, we have plenty of time to scout for a new venue, with a functional lobby bar. Having t2 in spring means better weather in Helsinki – we’re expecting to finally reach the Security Vacation Club Global Top 5000 list and are thus preparing accordingly. In the meanwhile, we’ll collect more data on the global pandemic and event safety processes, which actually work.
Exact dates and CFP will come out later. Stay safe. Be Brave.