Bring Fisting Swabs and Nasal Swabs-Technology Conferences are Back


The return to Tech conferences didn’t start not with a bang, but a whisper. It was the first day of the Code Conference, and Kara Swisher-one of the most famous voices criticizing the technology-lost her voice. He entertained the attendees, after Covid’s stop, at a Marge Simpson race.

Swisher has hosted the Code Conference, an annual gathering of tech and media moguls, since 2003 (then called All Things Digital). Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and other industry leaders are ready to undergo Swisher’s famous talk without being imprisoned on stage of it. Covid put the Code to a halt, though, along every other technology conference. A year later, it will include the first tech conferences that will also feature a full -fledged person, a possibility that will improve for the future of events.

Not that everything is business as usual. At the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, where the conference was held, everyone’s vaccination cards were verified. Afterwards attendees were subjected to a lateral flow Covid test, which involved an uncomfortable nasal congestion. (Swisher may have laryngitis, but attendees were assured that there was no Covid.) Everyone should wear a mask indoors. Frequent back-clap and handshaking are replaced by nasty nods and fists, as people change again in the company of strangers. In the hotel ballroom, where Swisher interviewed Elon Musk, Marc Benioff, and Satya Nadella, people managed to keep their distance, leaving no chairs between them.

If it’s the price to do it yourself again, many will be happy to pay it. (That’s said to be absent from the actual ticket price, which is nearly $ 10,000. Reporters like me attend for free.) People don’t seem to dress often for much of Silicon Valley, which isn’t ‘y solution and business casual. In between sessions, conference attendees sampled gourmet pastries and homemade smoothies. A mixture of “antivirus”, with ginger and beets, is on the menu. Strangers started lunch conversations, sharing tables and exchanging business cards. A tech executive told me he came to not hear the interviews but for it, the mix: It’s been a long, missed year of screen meeting.

There have been many changes in the world in the past year, and there has been the same grip on what will “return to normal.” Conferences, which created a $ 15 billion pre-pandemic market, as one of the things that could disappear or at least diminish, were not made to move to the virtual. Even Code administrators seem to be committed to keeping things as usual, until poker game hours in the hotel conference room. The only difference in attendance: The conference reduced on-site capacity to 600 this year, down from 800 in 2019, but another 600 people joined the livestream, thanks to Code’s first $ 125 virtual ticket .

Conference speakers wondered where the world came from. (Ari Emmanuel: We’ll definitely be back in theaters; Marc Benioff: We’ll definitely not be back in the office; Elon Musk: We’ll definitely be going to Mars.) After a year of many advances in technology companies, Swisher Invites many visitors will discuss why Big Tech needs to be controlled or disbanded. Two of his most famous guests were Gary Gensler, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Margrethe Vestager, the former Commissioner of European Competition. The conference swag bags also included coffee mugs that said “Wu & Khan & Kanter” – a reference by members of antitrust team in the Biden administration.



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