In a normal year, we would be wrapping up our topic interest survey right about now, and prepping our carrier pigeons to cast the wide net known as the ‘call for speakers.’ We’d be bombarding your inbox with surveys, and such. Instead, we’re wearing masks and checking our hands for paper-cuts on a daily basis.

TLDR: We are informing you that CodeMash 2021 [and KidzMash] has been cancelled. 

“I want to know more, and I like reading.”:
Back in June, the CodeMash committee started working with the Kalahari to pull together a plan for how we could still hold CodeMash 2021 and stay safe. We did the best we could, and published that plan at We then asked you, the faithful attendee, the intrepid speaker, and the amazing sponsor, to give us your feedback on said plan.

The feedback was loud and clear. It was near universal that people would choose to not attend, speak at, nor sponsor CodeMash 2021 because of Covid, despite how great they thought our plan was. As you can see in the following chart, only 10% of respondents said they would come. We also combed through all of the written responses for ideas and feedback as well. The feedback could be summed as “We love CodeMash, there isn’t a safe way to do this, and we’ll see you in January 2022.”

This put us in a tough position, considering our contract with the Kalahari. The Kalahari has always been a great partner to us, helping us in our mission, and being flexible because we are a community run not-for-profit. We showed them the anonymous survey results, and talked about the impact to our plans, and said that we felt we needed to cancel CodeMash 2021, for both safety and financial reasons.

As a sign of a great partner, while disappointed, they fully understood, and waived any cancellation fees or penalties! Without hesitation. If they had chosen to enforce those penalties, it would have ended CodeMash as an organization.

Our team did discuss offering a virtual event. We chose to cancel the conference instead of planning CodeMash® Virtual Edition™ for a few reasons.

  1. There are other great conferences that have gone virtual this year, and we didn’t think we could add anything unique to the space. You should attend one of those conferences.
  2. It would be like planning a completely different event, which means not being able to reuse a lot of our regular tools and processes.
  3. We feel that the real value of CodeMash (the in-person connections, etc) go beyond sitting in a room with a speaker, and therefore, didn’t really translate to a fully virtual conference.

We also looked at delaying CodeMash 2021 until the summer. While that might be doable, that also had a few issues. First, summer is already a packed conference season, which is one reason why we run in January. That would also put two CodeMashes very close together on the calendar. Most speakers, attendees, and sponsors would find it hard to spend time and money on two CodeMashes within six months. We are looking at the possibility of a couple small one-day workshops that would not conflict, to be held next summer.  ​

We are officially suspending the CodeMash planning thread, and will awaken in May of 2021 to start planning for CodeMash 2022.

If you can, please support the Kalahari, as they have been a great partner to us, and like many businesses, they are working hard to make it through such a challenging time. Give them a shout out on the twitters, and maybe purchase a gift card this year in anticipation of great fun at Kalahari during CodeMash 2022.

Until we see you next year at CodeMash 2022, please be safe and ship quality software.

Brian Prince
CodeMash Conference