A curated Modern Frontends summary (according to those who attended)

Basic stats:

  • Frontend tech event (workshops + conference) in London that took place November 15-18
  • Promised 3,000 attendees and over 100 speakers
  • Tickets were £600

What people are saying:

…there were certainly not 3000 people at the event, perhaps a few hundred.

For the price of a £600 ticket, attendees were treated to a single coffee service, with urns of pre-made coffee and tea and a lunch of ‘packet sandwiches’. It was swept away within an hour too, so late attendees or those working over their lunch-break did not get a lunch. I don’t want to sound entitled, but for the price of the sponsorship and the quantity of sponsors, along with the price of the tickets, and the fact that they weren’t paying their speakers (I assume they might have paid some of the bigger names) it feels like the funds have been spent elsewhere…

Jo Franchetti

Where the funds weren’t spent was on recording and livestreaming the talks. There was no recording equipment in any of the rooms. When I asked Gen about what had happened to the livestream she just told me that she was going to refund the people who had paid for livestream tickets and offer them a free ticket to next year’s event (ha!). At the time I asked, tickets for the livestream were still available for purchase on the event website at £43. This feels very close to fraud to me. 

Jo Franchetti

There were speakers who had originally been told accomodation was covered, but then were told they had to cover it themselves.

Speakers who had dropped out due to lack of communication or lack of transparency around travel and accomodation.

Speakers who were funding their travel and accomodation from workshop sales – only to be told days before flying that their workshop was cancelled and that they would have to foot the bill themselves.

Cassie Evans

As I walked through the hallway Gen came up to me and told me that she thought it was ‘funny’ that people were complaining about the event on twitter, and that she didn’t care.

Jo Franchetti

You want to fund your extravagnt lifestyle, work for it. Don’t skim off the top of the pot and take from attendees, speakers, and sponsors. You’re nothing special and you’re certainly not running a great show (or shows for that matter). Get a steady paycheck then spend your money on the lifestyle you want to live.

Todd Libby (above quote is referring to the organizer of Modern Frontends)

[The] vast majority of the 25+ workshop instructors were informed of their workshop cancellation days before their workshops[…]

Oh, and the cancelled workshops were still listed on the website. As well as the speakers who cancelled their attendance due to not being able to make the trip without the workshop. Using people’s faces and clout to continue to sell your event is not ok.

Kent C Dodds