I’ve written previously about how hard the MoT team and I have found it to announce the cancellation of TestBash Brighton and TestBash Detroit. Then followed the postponement of TestBash Netherlands. Well today, I’m writing to inform you that there won’t be another physical TestBash in 2020.
I’m going to share with you how we arrived at this decision, and what it means for the future of TestBash and Ministry of Testing (MoT).
We are living through a truly horrific global pandemic that is impacting every person and business. The impact on MoT is severe. About 70% of our revenue comes from TestBash and we’ve lost this forecasted revenue for 2020. Which for a small independent bootstrapped business is a significant problem. I had held onto a few threads of hope that physical events could resume later this year, but as each week has passed, those threads have become more frayed. But it isn’t just the threads that have become frayed, so have the team and I.
I reckon I’ve created more models and ran more permutations in the last few months than I have in my entire life. But each run created more unknowns. Now as testers, we’d seek answers to those unknowns, but there aren't any answers, because this is uncharted territory. Normal has gone, there is only new. These unknowns lead to a lack of control, and it's that lack of control that is breaking me, and in turn, holding MoT back.
Instead, I’ve stopped asking questions, and accepted these truths:
- It’s currently not safe to run a physical TestBash conference in 2020.
- We don’t know when it will be safe.
- When it is safe, conferences will be different.
- It’s wrong to give speakers, attendees and sponsors the hope of participating in a physical TestBash, to then potentially take it away from them.
- I’m putting MoT at financial risk hoping physical events can happen.
So with the acceptance of these truths, the threads of hope are broken, and MoT can focus on the next chapter of its journey. I find it unpleasant and uncomfortable to not have a physical TestBash to look forward to, but physical conferences will return when the time is right. And when that time comes we’ll be ready with the best TestBash yet.
I feel a huge sense of relief to accept these truths. I wouldn’t say I’m happy, but I have more control over our offerings. I also have a much clearer picture of our finances and where we need to be. Which leads me nicely to that 70% revenue deficit. How do we fill that?
- Online TestBash Software Testing Conferences: I’m blessed with an incredible team and they’ve already shown with TestBash Home that they can move quickly and generate value for the community and in turn, revenue. We intend to run TestBash Netherlands, Manchester and New Zealand online and are currently exploring some fun innovative ideas to bring those locations to the virtual space.
- Online Training Courses: We’ve also just announced our first online live training courses and have more online training events planned. These courses have been tweaked and perfected to feel as interactive and supportive as the face-to-face training sessions we usually run at TestBash events.
- Professional MoT Membership: Then there is Pro MoT. Our goal has always been to get Pro to a stage where it sustains MoT, but Pro has never got the attention it deserves. It will now get that. We’ll be adding lots more content, making it easier to find and digest content, and ways for you to share and record your learning.
The future holds many challenges and it’s going to be a tough journey. But there are many opportunities for MoT. Not only will we survive these times, I’m hopeful and confident we’ll thrive. If any company can, it’s MoT, due to the talent of our team and you, the incredible Ministry of Testing Community.
If you wish to share any ideas you have about what MoT can do, or want to wish the team your best, you can post them here.
If you have tickets for Testbash Netherlands, Manchester or New Zealand, you'll be hearing from the organsing team shortly about your options.
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