THAT Conference - Wisconsin Dells, WI

THAT Year, a retrospective



THAT 2020

As 2020 draws to a close I wanted to take a hot minute or two reflecting on a few of the moments this past year.

I'll start with a heartfelt Thank You. Thank You for supporting one another each and every day. We started THAT to help foster a community of folks, who would support one another in their ambitions. If 2020 has shown us one thing, it's that beyond the tech, ya'll not only care about one another but you care about making the world around you a better place. I'm humbled to be in your company and appreciate all of the stories people have shared.

Everyday I seek the positive, the inspiration to make the 24 hours slightly better than the last. I try to live by acting rather than talking. If COVID was a spark to kick off 2020 then it lit the world on fire surfacing our worldly problems. We have plenty and I'm encouraged because we're having a conversation. People are listening. But it's how we act that will lift us up for generations to come.

Our industry is unique in that we get to work with folks all over the world. We have such a diverse set of people, experiences, education, yet we all speak Geek. It's our superpower, it's special, and when we work together we make some amazing things happen.

If you've been around THAT then you know we've built everything that runs THAT. A little over a year ago we hit delete proceeded by File New. Many, many months went into the design and planning on a new experience that would serve the community better, serve you better. Everything we're building is open source, every planning meeting is open, everyone is invited. We launched the new THATConference.com in October 2019 and then launched Call for Speakers in January 2020. It was a crazy amount of work, and I thank the crew for taking this journey. Then COVID hit, we went from a busted timeline and a potential reschedule, to an all out survival in just a matter of weeks.

I personally don't believe in the "virtual event", rather I think there is a better way to collaborate online. I can't replicate our in-person time together, virtually. I won't even pretend to try. Years ago I started formulating what we now call THAT at https://THAT.us. A place where we didn't have to wait for an event, a place where we could seek the help we needed whenever. A place that would connect geeks across the globe in a safe, authentic way. I wanted a place where we could share screens, do code reviews, design reviews, whatever we needed to, whenever, with whomever.

Ironically COVID opened the door to make this a reality. We ran through that door and since May, we've been hard at work building this reality. Together we have something special, something amazing. This year we've already accomplished well over 200 activities, hundreds of hours of conversation and met people all over the globe. I invite you to head over to THAT and take a look around, join an activity, create an activity, maybe even just lurk. Regardless I know you have questions and I know you have answers, and I know we all have something special to share.

Over the past 10 years and 9 major events later, THAT has grown in every way imaginable. What was once a few words on a napkin at the local pub, it has become a reality, a family, a platform. When I put on this year's shirt, I'm proud of what it represents, and those words are your words, not ours.

We're just getting started. A phrase I've said all too many times. Hopefully our actions reenforce how committed we are to serving you and the community at large. We have so much more we can do, so much more we'll do together.

What's in store for 2021?

That does seem like the million dollar question. I'm asked every week if we will have a THAT Conference 2021. Well, Yes*! I mean hopefully, it sure is the current plan. There is no doubt it will be different, and we're not even sure when, but we remain positive we will get together soon.

We're laser focused on building out THAT.us. We're currently working through the last few features adding support for a monthly gathering. Once completed that will help us kick off 2021 with another amazing THAT Online and then every month thereafter. We're working with a few user groups and different community leaders to provide a new home for them on THAT where they can grow and expand. Lastly we're working on a few different ways you can support us financially so we can keep the lights on. Did I mention we have some epic new shirts? Use code refactor to receive an additional $5 off both the Refactor and Holiday Lights adult sizes in our new store.

I'm so pumped for the future to come. Keep being awesome, and know there is an entire community of Geeks and Geeklings to support ya. I look forward to collaborating with you on THAT and from our families to yours, big ole virtual hugs. Please stay safe. Please stay healthy.

Happy Holidays where ever you call home.

Clark Sell - Founder, THAT