So as crazy as it sounds with Covid cases crossing 200,000 a day in the U.S., there’s finally a bit of light with a vaccine coming and dramatic improvements around same-day testing.   And that means, as crazy as it sounds right now, a potential for an IRL (“In Real Life”) SaaStr Annual in 2021.

What’s our plan?

Right now we are quietly planning for a SaaStr Annual 2021 in the Bay Area in Q3.  We have a venue and date picked, but of course it’s too early to announce anything (although we already have several new sponsors for it — thank you!!).

But you could imagine an event something like this:

  • Proof-of-vaccine required.  This should be fairly easy to implement.  We were already planning to do enhanced screening at 2020 Annual for every attendee, so we know how to do this.  Ticketmaster and others are working on something similar.
  • On-site testing, potentially of all attendees.  This is becoming do-able and the Warriors have proposed it.  It likely would cost $500,000 or more at our scale, but that’s OK.  That’s what it will take.  Depending on how proof-of-vaccine works, this may be secondary screening or it may be primary.  Things are changing quickly.
  • Outside, and relatively distanced.  This makes a difference, as we all now know.  Our current plan would be to have an event almost entirely outside, and not return indoors until 2022.  In fact, it is difficult to imagine returning to an indoor venue again until HEPA-grade filters are installed (again, as the Warriors are planning on doing).  An outside event on 40+ acres should feel a bit like wandering around a less dense downtown, e.g. Palo Alto or Redwood City.
  • Masks.  Yup, we’ll still be wearing them then.  As would 100% of everyone that attends.  Will 1-on-1s with vaccinated attendees have masks, though?  We’ll see.  The venue will be highly spread out with tons of seating across acres.
  • Less Travel.  A bit of a bummer for us, as 50% of Annual attendees come from outside the U.S.  But likely even Q3’21 would be too early for significant international travel.  However, even here we’ll see.  Travel passports could change a lot.

Will it happen for sure?  We don’t know.  We have a full slate of 6+ incredible mega-digital events coming in 2021.

But we want to do it, and we’re quietly planning on it.  Our digital events have brought 100,000+ Cloud execs, founders and investors together at scale.  It’s great, and we’ll keep doing them.  But Annual IRL is iconic, and we’ll be back.

If it’s safe, we’ll see you there in Q3’21.

Until then, stay home for the Holidays, stay away from others, wear a mask, and look forward to vaccines and real-time testing.

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