Below you will find a short story about our journey as organizers, trying to organize a global online event in such uncertain times.
You may click here to skip the story & just read about the updates
Four years ago when we started RustFest we wanted to create an event that was different, something that was fresh, and something that catered to the community. When earlier this year we had to scrap our in-person conference plans we thought a lot about how to bring that spirit into the context of an online event, and create something fresh and exciting while at the same time giving back to the Rust community. We will soon have some exciting news on the first part, too, but for now let us address the latter.
Big dreams on a small budget
When we set out to plan RustFest Global, we had a lot of interesting ideas – but also lots of uncertainty, especially around our budget. We have seen people and companies treating online events very differently from how they viewed in-person conferences, and we weren’t sure of the appeal of “yet another conference, online”.
RustFest is a small, non-profit event. We had some funds lingering from previous events, but were unsure of how much sponsorship we would be able to gather, or how much ticket income we can expect in this “brave new world”.
At each RustFest we tried to be open & upfront about the limits of our conference, but nevertheless we always wanted our speakers to be treated like the beating heart of any conference they are. Paying speakers at small, community events is often a giant headache (due to all the legal hurdles of travel and visas), so we did our best to recompense them however we could, for the effort they were expending — and all the missed work days they instead spent on educating the Rust community. As you might imagine, speaker dinners and paying for international travel are not exactly the perks of an online event (or this new world we live in, for that matter), so we thought about other ways of recompense. Due to many of the above issues and uncertainties we didn’t feel confident offering rewards that depended on our wonky early budget projections, not knowing if we will be able to deliver on our promises. Until today.
Giving back to the community
You might have noticed that we haven’t sold tickets to the conference yet. We have thought long and hard how to make RustFest Global truly Global, and we think we have come up with a pretty good deal, we will share more about this soon, too! That said, it is due to our generous sponsors that we are able to confidently offer some of the things you will find below – thanks to the contributions of our sponsors (some new, some have supported us from the very beginning) we can make RustFest even more supportive of the people who make this conference tick: our speakers.
New speaker perks: hardware refunds and a speaker fee
Today we are updating our Call for Proposals with several new additions. One of the biggest changes is the expanded Speaker Perks-section!
Of course all our speakers still get full access to the event, but we want to go beyond that both in supporting the delivery, quality, as well as the effort of creating and presenting the talk:
- All selected speakers are now eligible to claim up to 200 EUR in reimbursements for hardware purchases such as a better microphone or webcamera, or even better lighting.
- We now also offer a 200 EUR stipend (speaker fee) to offset the work effort of speaking at RustFest. Speakers may also choose to donate to a non-profit of their choice.
While this may not seem like that much at first, these two items currently take up almost half of our entire projected online conference budget! The organizers at RustFest agree that paying these people for their work is not only important because it’s the right thing to do, but also because this directly contributes to our inclusivity efforts.
Which, of course don’t stop here.
Doubling down on talks from non-English speakers
The first version of our CfP announcement already mentioned that we were interested in non-english talk submissions (and talks). We understand that our initial CfP might have been not too accommodating to encourage this (as well as a little scarce on details) and we haven’t really received submissions that departed from the canonical english submissions. This is on us. We are not giving up, though, and doubling down on the outreach as well as fixing some of these mistakes in the updated call for proposals:
- Thanks to the tireless effort of the global teams who joined us in co-organizing RustFest Global our Call for Proposals is now available in 6 languages!
- We pledge to provide English translation/subtitles to all talks presented in languages other than English, so these talks can reach wider audiences (both at the conference, and after released free on the Rust YouTube channel after the conference).
- We offer speaker coaching and help with writing and submitting proposals, check the details on the CfP page! During review, new & beginner speakers also compete in their own “league”, separately from the experienced speakers, to help us encourage more new faces appear at our events.
- We understand that our reach might still be somewhat limited, so we ask you all to help us spread the word about our CFP, especially in local communities, around the world, everywhere.
We hope these changes will help encourage more submissions in one’s native language, but we are continuously refining our approach and so feedback is always welcome!
With that, there’s one last announcement we are making today:
Extending the CFP deadline
We are giving everyone an extra week to submit your proposals, or help us convince people to submit a talk! The new deadline is at the end of the month, September 30., 23:59 UTC.