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Recap: Seeing things differently at Pluralsight LIVE 2020

October 15, 2020

Turning our epic, annual conference into a virtual event was going to be a challenge—we knew that. But we also knew we could go big AND stay home, so we went all in on setting a new standard for virtual tech conferences. 

LIVE 2020 challenged technologists around the world to see things differently, and to our knowledge, was the only conference this year brave enough to tackle the truly tough questions, like “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” (Yes.)

Check out some of the highlights of LIVE for some fun and insightful glimpses into what made the experience so great. 


Preview Day was all about you!

Our virtual conference needed a host extraordinaire to guide us through all the goodness we were about to experience. And no one could fill those shoes better than Pluralsight’s very own author and VP of Content Partnerships Don Jones. Don set the stage for Preview Day, powered by Pluralsight One, and dedicated the day to the developers, engineers, architects and craftspeople living, breathing and working with technology.


We did our best to honor our community by getting down to the good and nerdy right way. We kicked off the Google Cloud Hero and AWS Deep Racer challenges, brought our All Hands on Tech podcast to the screen and stirred up a little controversy in a heated hot dog discussion. 

It wouldn’t be a day dedicated to the people behind the code without talking about equity in the workplace. Our panel shared incredibly powerful messages about co-creating outcomes, using the right language and being consistent to bring us closer to the future we all aspire for.

But the best part of the day by far was when we got to hear from our two keynote speakers. 

Microsoft MVP and CEO of Ursatile Dylan Beattie made us want to be Rockstar programmers and reconsider our aversion to legacy code. Then Truckla inventor and self-proclaimed Queen of Crappy Robots Simone Giertz taught us that you don’t need a reason to build things; you just need the enthusiasm to try and to fail.

beattie _giertz

And don’t think just because it was virtual, we didn’t close out Preview Day in style—because we definitely did. Whether you were beating other attendees in pub trivia, learning how to craft a cocktail, glued to the psychedelic stream of DJ J Paul’s live set or dancing to his heart-pumping mixes in your living rooms, it’s safe to say Preview Day was a success.


Day 1 was packed with announcements and inspiration

The next day we shifted our attention to making technology teams the best they can be. Our CEO Aaron Skonnard took the virtual stage to discuss the importance of skill development in a mid- and post-COVID world, and why happy customers depend on strong tech teams.


Aaron also shared a piece of exciting news—Pluralsight has acquired DevelopIntelligence, a leader in strategic skills consulting and virtual instructor-led training. DevelopIntelligence will join the Pluralsight ecosystem as part of our Professional Services arm, helping us give more customers than ever guidance and support in creating custom skill development programs for their organizations. Read more about how this change can help you accelerate learning outcomes here.

Soon after, Aaron was joined by our EVP of Skills Brandon Peay and our EVP of Flow Kathryn Murphy to share exciting new product announcements for Pluralsight Skills and Flow. With the addition of cloud labs, priorities and the delivery module, we aim to enable your teams with the capabilities, improved workflows and leadership you need to be successful. There’s a lot to unpack with these new products, so dive in here for a deep look at all of our new additions.


We then got to hear from some of our future-focused customers like Verizon, The Home Depot, Workfront and PlanSource. It was fascinating to learn more about how they use Pluralsight Skills and Flow to help their teams acquire tech skills, work more efficiently and deliver better products faster. We also enjoyed fireside chats with Zions bank, BNP Paribas and DBS Bank—all of which are committed to ongoing skill development and meeting ever-evolving customer demands. 

The day ended with an astoundingly powerful talk from Common, who inspired everyone to serve the world regardless of where they’re at right now. “You don’t need to have read Aristotle to serve,” was a sentiment he echoed throughout his presentation, while stressing the importance of belief (it’s contagious!) and conscious leadership.


The final day was a captivating close to a great week

We started the day by hearing from a heavy hitter right out of the gate—Joanna Peña-Bickley from Amazon. She gave the perfect talk for this moment in history, encouraging design-minded people everywhere to use their talents for good. Her passion for making the world a more equitable, healthy place through innovative thinking and compassion was infectious, and we don’t think we were the only ones to get chills while she was speaking.


The conference continued with talks by Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty, Chief Learning Officer at Ericsson Vidya Krishnan and Corporate VP of Developer Relations at Microsoft Jeff Sandquist, who took the time to share how their organizations are navigating digital transformation, building world-class solutions for their customers and upskilling and reskilling employees. 

And if you thought HR wasn’t part of the equation, Lucy Adams proved you wrong. She helped us rethink outdated HR practices, remove the idea of parenting our employees and instead reminded us we’re all adults.

As we ended the day, our own HR team was asking themselves, “Wait, is Reggie Watts a Pluralsight employee? Is he our founder?” His hilarious improvised songs and frankly terrifying definition of emerging technology had us laughing and tapping our toes.


Until next year

Thanks to everyone who joined our biggest, virtual conference ever—all 1.5M of you! We had attendees streaming LIVE from 140 countries, tuning into our keynotes and sessions in between wrangling kids and work, and using the conference to unwind after a long day (one of the perks of going virtual!).

We’ve never had an event quite like this, and it wouldn’t have been possible without so many of you taking time out of your schedule to try something new with us. We hope you left LIVE energized by all of our amazing speakers, informed thanks to our expert breakout sessions and excited to try out our new product experiences. 

Who knows what the future will bring and whether LIVE 2021 will be in-person or virtual, but we hope you’ll join us again. You still have until Oct. 31 to catch most sessions in the LIVE platform. After that, you can relive them in the Pluralsight app. 

See you next year!