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Attending a tech conference in the age of COVID-19 – Source

What if someone threw a hacker conference and nobody showed up?

As I boarded a United flight at SFO on March 17, the first day of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order, that question was on my mind. I wondered just how many people would be attending CanSecWest 2020 in Vancouver, and if I’d be the only one in person.

Car traffic in both S.F. and Vancouver was light, even though Vancouver wouldn’t enact stricter social distancing rules until March 21, the day after I would return home. The airplane was half-empty, and there was no line for security in either airport. It seemed that some people were finally starting to take seriously the spread of the novel coronavirus that’s been plaguing the world.

As bizarre as the lack of bodies on the road and in the plane were, the 20th annual CanSecWest attendance was even emptier. Three attendees showed up in person—not counting me—along with half a dozen staffers. That two-to-one ratio of conference organizer to attendee might seem…

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