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!!Con 2021 starts today!

!!Con (pronounced “bang bang con”) is a radically eclectic, radically affordable conference of ten-minute talks about the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing. I co-founded it with a group of friends back in 2014, and we’ve been running it every May since then; in 2019 we started a second event, !!Con West. !!Con features ten-minute talks about any computing topic imaginable, as long as there’s at least one exclamation point in the title of the talk!

Until this year, every !!Con and !!Con West conference has been packed into a single weekend: a focused, intense barrage of thirty or so talks in two days. It’s a lot of fun, and when we went online for the first time last May, we stuck with that format. But this year, we’re trying something new: spreading our event out over a whole week, with a few talks per day — starting today! Our live stream launches in less than an hour (!), with our opening remarks and our first keynote talk going live at noon Pacific time. Anyone can tune in to the live stream; you don’t need to have a ticket! Check out this year’s amazing speaker lineup.

Why’d we switch formats? Running the event online gives us opportunity to be flexible and play with the format in a way we were never able to do in person. We’re hoping that one or two hours per day for a week is more feasible for a lot of people — especially for people with kids or other caretaking responsibilities — than two eight-hour weekend days. I know that’s true for me. (My fellow !!Con organizer, Joshua Wise, has written at length about this year’s format and how we decided on it.)

If you’re reading this blog, then I think there’s a good chance that you’ve been to !!Con or !!Con West before, so you already know how much fun it is. But just in case you’ve never been to !!Con, I want to personally invite you to check out the program and tune into our live stream this week, if only for an hour. If you like what you see, I hope you’ll join us in person next year for !!Con or !!Con West!

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