That dude in the vest is seriously ugly.
I've spent the last 20 months doing online events. On one level, they're helping people who couldn't/wouldn't ever attend in-person events, which is truly awesome. All the virtual stuff has made it possible to reach some people we couldn't reach.
However, the level of interaction online is not as good as with an in-person event. The networking is not the same. The Q&A is not the same. While we are getting to more people through all the virtual events, we are absolutely not having as high a level of interaction, by many factors. Personally, I blame millions of years of evolution. We evolved speaking face-to-face. We're better at it than the other, and it has been on display over these 20 months.
I get that the online experience is more egalitarian since it can reach a radically wider audience. I get that many simply can't afford to make it to something like PASS Summit. I understand these things. However, I'm telling you, the in-person experience is coming back. I was just at an event in Belgium, dataMinds Connect, great event, that was fully in-person, and it was amazing. I had more and better conversations over two days than I've had in 20 months.
The plan is, without giving away any detail of any kind, to host an in-person event in Seattle sometime next year. However, I suspect it will be at least partly online as well as people try to serve both audiences, the lucky ones who can/will do in-person, and those who can't/won't. We'll see how it goes.
Also, pleasure to meet you. I hope it happens again sometime. Stay involved. Stay in touch. This community really does make a difference.