I attended RStudio’s annual conference: RStudio::Global(2021) yesterday. Driven online by the pandemic, it was a fabulous day – even if a very long one – to listen to some fantastic keynotes, long & short long talks, & virtual conversations in between.
I have heaps of thoughts about this conference I will write about in due course but there’s one thing that continues to stand out most for me: the warmth & inclusive nature of the R community. Whether it’s on the Twitterverse, the R User Groups around the world, or in meetups that are hosted by people passionate about sharing their knowledge and improving their own, the R community very certainly has a strong leadership in RStudio & its team. Particularly, there were more women in this code/tech community, whether presenting or attending, than in any other I have seen (admittedly, I’m not a technologist so I could be wrong), more people from diverse backgrounds that presented their talks in a language they were comfortable even in this global setting. The subtitling feature in Spanish, Mandarin & English made those talks also accessible to everyone.
The team at RStudio did a fantastic job of curating this: pre-recorded talks that didn’t go over time, technology that almost never went awry, and scheduling the talks to run in 2 cycles so literally anyone around the globe could dial in. There were opportunities to connect using a virtual chat room between the scheduled talks, just like you would in a F2F conference (is that a thing?) I heard someone mention that last year’s conference drew 2000 people, and this year, doing it entirely online drew over 10000+. Great job indeed.