Trip Reports | Videos | Slides | Thanks

Great Success

Our experiment with an online experience for CppCon 2020 has proven to be a great success! We had almost a thousand (994) attendees that were willing to take a chance on our first online conference. To put that in perspective, that’s over fifty percent more than joined us for our first onsite conference in 2014.

In our attendee survey, it was clear that people preferred the onsite experience, but over eighty percent were either pleased or very pleased about attending an online CppCon. Some, who are unlikely to be able to make it to Aurora, were grateful for the opportunity to finally get to attend CppCon. I’ve appended a few comments to this post.

Trip Reports

For more in depth comments on the online CppCon experience, here are a few Trip Reports:

Javier Estrada is reviewing sessions in several posts on his Se Habla C++ blog.

I’m always grateful to individuals that take the time to share their experiences with others. If you know of a trip report that is not listed here, please let me know so I can update this post.


CppCon videos are a much anticipated part of every CppCon. Attendees look forward to seeing the sessions that they missed because we have so many tracks and non-attendees looking forward to experiencing the most impressive collection of C++ content of the year.

We started updating the CppCon YouTube channel on the 22nd and Jim Roper, who is handling our videos this year, sent this on the 24th:

So far we have released 12 videos and they are performing very well. In fact, so much so that we actually broke YouTube’s analytics for a short period of time (it simply gave up trying to report the views accurately).

In the last 48 hours (the time since releasing the first video) the channel has received more than 48000 views. At one point earlier today we had 100 views in a single minute! 

He shared this analytics report earlier today:

Since we began releasing videos on the 22nd, the channel has received the following:
    • Impressions: 4,192,687
    • Views: 187,736
    • Watchtime: 32,030.6
    • New Subscribers: 1,133

There is clearly a hunger for high-quality C++ content. and I’m delighted that CppCon is one of the sources to help satisfy it.

Slides and Source

If you are watching a video, and would like to see the slides to follow along, please check the CppCon 2020 repository for presenter materials.

Big Thanks

The road to CppCon 2020 was long, tortuous, and scary. Before it was clear that we had to move online, we had to meet the deadlines necessary for planning an onsite conference. When we made the switch to an online conference, we “threw away” months and weeks of careful (and painful) planning and embarked on doing something we’d never done before (produce an online version of a thousand-person conference) with insufficient time to do it.

This was only possible because we had the support of our sponsors and exhibitors.

Needless to say, an awful lot of people stepped up in a big way to make this achievement possible.

I want to thank Nick Gully for planning a field trip that we’ll bring you in 2021 instead.

I’d like to thank, our onsite team made of teams from Krueger Event Management, LSAV, the Gaylord Rockies, and Bash Films. Although we ended up not having an onsite event, it wasn’t because these teams didn’t plan and organize one under very tough circumstances. I very much look forward to working with this team again. We are all anxious to bring you the onsite event that you want so badly to have.

We relied heavily on the experience and talent of Phil Nash and his C++ on Sea conference, which was held in mid-July. Phil agreed to co-chair the online conference and introduced us to Jim Roper, who did an amazing job at handling all of the video magic that is at the heart of any online conference. A number of our staff, volunteers, and speakers gained valuable experience by working on and/or attending this earlier, successful experiment in online events.

We changed a lot of things about CppCon this year, but one thing that did not change was our commitment to delivering top quality C++ content. For that I thank Bryce Adelstein Lelbach, the Program Committee, our dedicated track chairs, Arthur O’Dwyer and Ben Saks, Bob Steagall and all the instructors in the CppCon Academy, Michael Caisse and all the Lightning Talk presenters, Arthur O’Dwyer for two Pub Quiz sessions, and about a hundred of the best C++ presenters from across the globe.

The person who our transition to an online conference might have been the hardest is Herb Sutter. Herb is President of and our liaison to the Standard C++ Foundation which is the organization of which CppCon is a project. Not being onsite means: no piano! But we did have Jim Basnight and the Jim Basnight Band. They were able to join us from their new studio. Thanks, Herb for being there and for not freaking out at all the places where most people would have.

I also want to thank Daniel Hanson for running the Student Program. We had a significantly higher proportion of students at CppCon 2020 than at any previous conference. Online means lower travel costs which opened up an opportunity for students to attend in much greater numbers.

Daniel also joined Kern Handa and Zoe Carver to archive slides and other material submitted by presenters. Thanks to this team, you can find session slides in the CppCon 2020 repository for presenter materials.

Thank you Lisa Wells for keeping me sane and on-track.

The only way that we can hold CppCon every year is because we have an army of talented and dedicated volunteers. Year after year they do whatever is necessary to make CppCon possible. But this year was a special ask for volunteers. Online presentations require a good deal more technical support and each volunteer had more more training than is required for onsite volunteering.

Under the leadership of Brett Searles and Matthew Butler, our volunteers received training on all the different software packages that we used to make the online presentations as smooth as possible. Then volunteers were paired up with presenters. The volunteer/presenter teams spent a week dry-running every presentation. We asked far more of this year’s volunteers than we’ve ever asked before and the conference succeeded because they came through in a big way. Individual volunteers stepped up time and again when new requirements popped up.

Thank you so much Austin Morton, Tanki Zhang, and Zoltan Juhasz for all the late nights you spent sweating the details on the graphical design of the conference, it’s menu system, and the introductory tour.

I want to thank a group of volunteers and staff that worked as a team, finding creative solutions and innovative improvements and dealing with all of the dozens of things, big and small, that come up and will turn into a crisis if not handled timely and correctly. Thank you Aaron Robinson, Austin Morton, Chris Ryan, Greg Marr, and Jim Roper.

You are all my heroes.


Jon Kalb
Conference Chair


CppCon 2020 Attendee Survey Comments

  • I felt very pleased with being able to interact with the best in chats during talks
  • I think it was great, I loved it.
  • Excellent once I figured it out; I was initially anxious about being able to do so.
  • I was pleasantly surprised at how well the online experience worked. The whole “room”/”table” experience made it feel almost like I was attending in person.
  • I thought it was organized very well and it worked.
  • you made online work.
  • exceeded my expectations for an online conference
  • I have never attended cppcon onsite. To me, it was a marvelous experience attending it. Lots of info captured within each hour of the presentations and also other Q&A session. Well done to the team behind all of this preparation.
  • I felt it was “almost” as good as in person normal schedules, but for the price it was a much better value, but it’s also hard to factor in the value of the in-person experience.
  • It exceeded my expectations for an online conference but it is not that same as being in person.
  • The conference was well done and I appreciate you all pivoting to an online version.
  • This is my first year of attending cppcon. Was amazed how different aspects have been taken care of and it was a smooth process for attendees.
  • I am very impressed about the platform and how it worked.
  • Really great conference. We had some amazing talks and I enjoyed it. This was my first year, so I don’t have other conferences to compare this year’s to.
  • It was an impressive technical feat, the community responded well, and the content was really good
  • The conference was very well organised and everything ran smoothly.
  • Really a great experience. Got to connect with some really cool people.