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  4. Ep. #20, Demuxed 2023 Conference Preview
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In episode 20 of Demuxed, Matt and Phil share a special preview of the Demuxed 2023 Video Conference. Together they discuss the planning and logistics of the event, the talks they’re most excited about, the ways the conference has evolved over the years, and how you can be a part of this inclusive event.


Matt McClure: So last time we did a podcast was in January, the year of the podcast yet again. Not exactly what it was intended to be.

Phil Cluff: It did not materialize.

Matt: It did not materialize. We have put out some banger newsletters in the last year, though, I think. I think this year's newsletters, I'm enjoying our snarkiness on the wild world of video.

Phil: They have got so sassy at this stage that I can't believe it. We'll pull back the covers a little bit. We've got a Slack channel internally where we just dump all of these things and don't commentate on them, and then paste them into the newsletter. When you're building a newsletter, you get a little anxious and you end up being really snarky or sarcastic as we're writing up the commentary for all of these links we've piled up over the previous month.

Matt: Hey, I think the commentary is good. I'm shocked, every time we put one out I'm expecting somebody to be like, "I didn't appreciate that." And so far we haven't gotten that. I think we usually try to be fair.

Phil: Yeah, I think so.

Matt: And I think the tongue in cheek usually comes through and people aren't insulted. Anyway, if you aren't subscribed to the newsletter, Demuxed.com and now there's a bunch of newsletter things that you can put in there. I don't know if you saw this in the last newsletter, Phil, that went out very recently, the October newsletter.

Phil: The October newsletter?

Matt: The October newsletter which is probably going to be one of two emails that go out in October. I was looking through our ticketing system and then found this interested group, I was like, "What is this?" And then I realized that there's a newsletter signup area in the ticket page, and it's been there since 2016. We started using Tito in 2016.

Phil: That doesn't do anything?

Matt: I mean, it does something. It dumps people into basically a spreadsheet in the backend of Tito but it doesn't go into the newsletter. So there's a chance that somebody listening to this podcast just got their first newsletter after putting their email into an interest form in 2016.

Phil: Wow.

Matt: When I imported the list, like half of the list either had been subscribed at some point, maybe had unsubscribed, maybe their emails were bouncing, whatever else. But it was hundreds and hundreds of people that had put their email in here, so I'm very sorry that we didn't call you back for years. But you're in the fold now, so there you go.

Phil: One of us. So is that now never going to happen again?

Matt: That is now never going to happen again.

Phil: Okay. You're going to do it every time, or did you fix it so it actually adds people automatically to the list?

Matt: No, I'm going to have to do it every time. I don't know how to make it add things automatically to the list. Maybe, I don't know. For eight years now as we're coming up on the ninth Demuxed, and for eight years of using Tito I've been like, "This year we're going to automate more things. We're going to automate the process of making discount codes for sponsors and stuff like that." And every year it doesn't happen, so maybe next year.

Phil: Next year will not only be the year of the podcast, but will also be the year we finally automate Tito.

Matt: I mean, better late than never, and literally a decade later is certainly late but better.

Phil: It's weird because I might be completely wrong here, but isn't it it'll be the 10th Demuxed but not the 10th year, effectively? What year was the first Demuxed?

Matt: 2015?

Phil: Exactly. So it's actually the ninth numeric year.

Matt: Wait, how does that-

Phil: Well, if you work it out. We did one in 2015, '16, '17, '18, '19, '20, '21, '22, '23, '24. So it's like 10 actual events, but it's only nine years.

Matt: Everything that you have said makes sense and I don't know why. It's been like 10 years of planning though.

Phil: It certainly feels like it has been, that's for sure.

Matt: Really? I think we started planning 2015. Well, no. We probably started in 2015, to be quite honest.

Phil: I think we started planning during 2015, I'm sure.

Matt: We did. I think probably it was the twinkle in our eye in the end of 2014, maybe. We should probably acknowledge where Steve is here, too.

Phil: Where is Steve?

Matt: Steve's planning Demuxico actually right now.

Phil: Oh. Planning or is on Demuxico?

Matt: He's in Mexico right now.

Phil: He's researching beaches and event spaces and tacos and sangria.

Matt: I'm sure that Steve is very disappointed that he can't be in front of a computer on this podcast right now because I think he is on a beach somewhere. I think it was his wife's birthday and so they're celebrating, which I would've loved to be there.

Phil: Yeah, I was going to say, did you get an invite, or?

Matt: Yeah, I got an invite. I was like, "It's the week before Demuxed, I can't do it, man." There was that moment, it was like the Kombucha Girl meme where I was like, "Ooh, uh? No."

Phil: It's the same as when everyone mentions going to Montevideo to us, and we're like, "Oh, well, how long's that flight again? Oh right, it's three changes and 22 hours and then we all cry."

Matt: No, listen. I can't. I shouldn't make any promises like this, I shouldn't say this on the podcast, but-

Phil: You should definitely say it on the podcast. Make that commitment, Matt.

Matt: I mean, Alex, I think Alex will actually kill me if we don't do it. She really wants to, frankly.

Phil: You're going to take two kids all the way down to Montevideo?

Matt: I think the one kicker would be that if we did it, we're going to have to do a solid month. We're going to have to make it a whole thing and I don't know, do we try to rent out our place while we're there or something? Which freaks me out.

Phil: You heard it first here, kids. Go rob Matt's house while he's in Montevideo next year. I'll be staying there, apparently.

Matt: Come back a little bit early, Phil's in his whitey tighties on the couch eating cereal, very confused why I'm back in time.

Phil: It's like, "Oh, I didn't... Oh, hi."

Matt: Okay. We should probably actually do some preview stuff here.

Phil: Okay. So Demuxed is in, what? About a week from probably when this is going to go out, and we have a packed schedule. Maybe we should talk a bit about the schedule shape this year. It's a little bit different. Maybe just remind people what happened for those who haven't heard about our adventures this year. You told the story so well on Twitch the other night that I think you should tell it again.

Matt: Yeah. Packed schedule, and I think I want to say that unfortunately that it was a packed schedule that wasn't necessarily intended to be a fully packed schedule because the piece of feedback we had gotten in past years was like, "Love all the content, it's amazing. But the hallway track is one of the things that's really important, I'd love more breathing room, more breaks, more time to actually hang out."

And so this year the big plan with the venue is we're going to do like two and a half days, start after lunch on the first day and start later on both other days, and have the same amount or even less content that's spread out over two and a half days instead of just two. Then in roughly June we got an email from our... Well, I started seeing the news reports being like, "Is the Westfield Mall closing?"

And I was like, "Huh, that'd be unfortunate because our venue is in the Westfield Mall. I really hope it doesn't close." And then before the news actually broke, so we heard it first, no big deal. Insider information. Bespoke the Venue sent this email being like, "We're closing down and liquidating because the Westfield Mall is closing, here's your deposit back. Sorry."

This was in like June, so mad scramble to try and find a new home for the conference this year. A few months out, in person events seems like it's really back in the Fall this year because everything was taken. Certainly everything in that... We were hoping for a configuration of being able to be a hundred, couple hundred people bigger than last year's event.

But anything in that 500 to 700 person range was just not happening. But we were able to find a really amazing venue, Terra Gallery. They were close enough on the days so we could do two of the days, do Tuesday-Wednesday instead of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Seated-wide, the venue can't fit as many as we'd originally hoped but it's okay.

Phil: It's a beautiful venue. Absolutely beautiful venue. It's a venue I'd have loved to have used earlier in Demuxed as well, so it's kind of nice to be able to use it now as well.

Matt: Totally. And the sponsoraries, honestly, the split between the two and there'll be food trucks outside for lunch. I think it's ultimately going to be really lovely and it's in a nice area of town. I think it's going to be really nice. It's just the scramble, didn't need that scramble in June or July, but it also pushed everything back.

It was why a lot of our messaging came a little bit later than we would've liked because of this scramble. There was a considerable amount of time where we like, "Should we have the conference? We don't know if we have a venue still, it's June, should we cut bait on 2023 or do something fully online or something?" And then luckily Terra Gallery came in at the last, in our darkest hour. But I think it's going to be lovely.

Phil: It'll be lovely. It's one of those things where it's been made even more difficult by Terra Gallery is wonderful, but it's an also super unpackaged venue for us. I don't know. Those of you who remember where we were last year up in Westfield, up Bespoke, a lot of that A/V comes packaged with the venue which is great. It reduces dramatically what we end up spending on building something and doing that same/better build out of audio/video in an empty space is incredibly expensive.

Restrictively expensive, and seems to have gone up 2X since the pandemic. I feel like a lot of places are working very hard on recovering what they lost during the pandemic. We're lucky we've ended up working with a great A/V vendor who's been happy to work with us to make something work within our budget, but it's still going to be a huge amount more work for us to build out in the venue we're in this year.

Matt: It is going to be better, though.

Phil: It is.

Matt: Bespoke, for all of Bespoke's amazing features, we did get... There was some feedback like, "It would be nicer if the projectors were X or Y or whatever else." So it is nice that we're going to have a nice video wall this year and repeaters, there's going to be repeaters downstairs. The A/V experience I think will ultimately be better for attendees and viewers, but the experience on the conference's wallet was suboptimal.

Phil: We have a wallet left? I thought it'd been stolen, robbed.

Matt: There's some stuff in it.

Phil: It'll be beautiful. I'm really looking forward to it. Even better, this year Justin isn't going to have to juggle, what is it? Eight MacBooks behind the curtain you were juggling last year?

Matt: That was truly a Turducken error. I don't even know. We had backup. There was the presenter laptop, the backup presenter laptop.

Phil: Slide loop.

Matt: For both types of slides and then the slide loop. Yeah, so that will not happen this year. Ed's coming back out too, I think we're going to do more stuff on his setup which is going to be nice. Whatever. The venue is going to be lovely. We got it working out. The other piece of the schedule shape that that did mean is that, yeah, going from two and a half to three, we'd already made some plans around content and so things are longer than we'd hoped. It did go back to being that 9:45 to-

Phil: 5:30, 6:00.

Matt: 5:00 to 6:00 ish. But with longer breaks.

Phil: There's more breaks. Yeah, there's more breaks.

Matt: Longer lunch, longer breaks. I think we were able to try and do as best we could to still listen to feedback while keeping the amazing cohort of content that we had this year. Speaking of cohorts of content as a preview, what are the talks that you're most excited about this year?

Phil: I don't even know where to start this year. It's such an eclectic mix of talks this year that's made me really excited. I know I say excited a lot of my life. But yeah, I'm pumped about so many of these talks. I'm actually going to say one of the pairs of talks I'm most excited, this is a pair of talks in here.

This might be the first time this has really happened with any foreknowledge, is we've got two talks about Assembly Language and I'm really pumped about this because when Kieran found out he'd got a low level talk accepted and talked to Ronald who also had an Assembly Language talk selected, they were like, "Hey, we're going to use Kieran's talk as setting a load of the background to teach people."

I think the title is Demuxed Babies First Assembly Language Function or something like that, which is super cool. I'm looking forward to learning how to do that. Then, yeah, I think Ronald is going to go a lot deeper on some of that stuff as it affects David and stuff like that. So I'm pretty pumped about that as a pair of talks, you don't often get pairs of talks.

Matt: I think it's Baby Demuxeds not Demuxed Babies. I don't know why, I think that's an important distinction.

Phil: Not-- . He literally had a Demuxed Baby.

Matt: I did. Yes, I had a Demuxed Baby. Yeah. I think I mentioned this on the preview with the Streaming on Streaming folks the other day. But what excites me about this schedule is I feel like even more so than past years, this is a really nice mix of meat and potatoes, good educational talks for somebody working in our field, and frankly just weird stuff. Just the weird things that are out there, borderline not really useful, but still really good.

I don't know. I think Sat, his talk, his whole thing on shoving V8 into ffmpeg. He hacked that together years ago and we're finally actually going to talk about it on stage, which I think is... I won't say the name of who said it, even though I think I've actually said it publicly already. But looking through the reviews of the talks, one of the comments on that talk was, "This is disgusting. I love it."

Phil: I know exactly who wrote that feedback.

Matt: Then, see, Vanessa who has brought the heat on the cool, out there talks every year. She's such a good speaker. That steganography talk, I think that's going to be amazing. On the useful side of things, Victoria's talk about AI and copyright law. It hearkens back to in 2017, the committee was like, "We need a talk on patent pools, because patent pools, they've never gone away, they've always been a big discussion."

But especially then, because I think HEVC was just starting. AV1 was 2013, right? So I think that had started getting a little bit of... The discussion about patents was kind of at a fever pitch in 2017, and so we had a lawyer come in to talk about these patent pools and what they meant, so I'm excited about this for this AI world that we're seeing.

Phil: I think the other one for me is, well, I feel like I could just name all of them, obviously. But just thinking thematically a little bit more, there is quite a lot of MOQ content in here, Media Over Quick content, and that is something that I am low-key passionate about. I'm really interested to see if MOQ is just the replacement for segmented streaming. Is that just the next thing that it replaces, HLS and Dash entirely? It's MOQ, maybe. So the buzz seems to be there, based on how many times-

Matt: That's a hot take.

Phil: That is a hot take. But the buzz seems to be there based on the submissions we got. Really excited. I think Geordie is going to talk about MOQ, who else? That's Geordie from Meta is going to talk about MOQ. Mike English.

Matt: Mike English is going to talk about MOQ. I think MOQ is going to be at least mentioned in a couple others, I'm sure. There's just a lot. Low latency is obviously still making its... I'm excited about a lot of the client side, the interesting sides of client side stuff. There was one that was unfortunately the speaker had to pull out because they were a little bit worried about our relationship with their past employer because they had done the work on weekends while at a previous employer that there was theoretically... I don't know. It felt like one of those, "I can't believe that the law would actually ever say you can't speak about this."But I totally understand why they-

Phil: We've all seen Silicon Valley.

Matt: Yeah. I get why they were cautious about doing it. But they were going to talk about web codecs and thumbnailing. That was, I thought, going to be interesting. But I think there's a bunch of really interesting talks about the edges of what we're seeing in the client right now.

Phil: I think about how far web codecs has come, how many web codecs talks that we saw as well. There's some really cool ones in there that I think are going to... We can do so much more on the client. Somebody showed me a demo who shall remain nameless at IBC, of like, "Oh yeah, we threw out all of our low latency H-Less stuff and just do it in web codec on a client now." It's like, "Wait, hold up, hold up. What?" And it's like, "Oh yeah, LLDash web codecs and we're running it on the iPhone as well." And I'm like, "Oh, okay. Okay, let's go." So yeah, that stuff is really exciting.

Matt: You know one we can actually announce it here? Because I don't think we've talked about it publicly, but another one that I think is going to be fascinating and I think the timing is great, we've got an amazing keynote speaker from somebody who was there from the beginning. They're talking about that untold story of Google's foray into open source codecs and the beginnings of A/V1 which I'm really excited about it, especially given...

I think it made even more sense because we had started talking, he was like, "Okay. Here's the different things we could talk about." So yeah, Jeremy Duig and I'm so sorry, Jeremy, if I'm saying that name wrong. We've only been emailing and so if that's incorrect, please correct me before we get on stage. But Jeremy, amazing career from Google through Disney most recently, a wealth of knowledge about the industry but talking specifically about that time and the early years of Google's foray into open source codecs and things along those lines.

I think that's going to be interesting. It's even better when I was writing up the 10th anniversary for SF Video. In one of the newsletters we'd talked about this month was the 10th anniversary of SF Video, here's what was happening in 2013, the year it got started, and it was fascinating.

Phil: Oh my gosh.

Matt: That was the year that A/V1 was formally announced, that was the year that h.265 I think was formally announced. It was the same year.

Phil: I remember sitting in. I believe you because I remember sitting in the Zen Coder office with... I think it was Yuri and Alex Converse talking about what at the time was going to be VP10 and then Alex being like, "Well, it's actually not going to be VP10. It's going to be A/V1." And that whole early moment of, "Oh, things are about to change a bit more."

Matt: The other things that I had listed in this list that happened in 2013, just to put this in perspective.

Phil: Oh my lord.

Matt: Edward Snowden. Higg's Boson was confirmed. H.265 finalized as a standard, VP9 was released and Vine was released. That was Vine was launched that year.

Phil: Whoa. Wow. Two bros chilling in a hot tub.

Matt: That didn't come until three years later.

Phil: Okay. I'm glad you got a date on that. I have one more talk that I am pumped about, just because it's so endlessly relevant and cyclical. It's like Quentin talking about the endless cycle of replacing transcoder infrastructure. Quentin, a long time guy at Vimeo, a great guy. Long time friend of the community. I'm looking forward, I always like a good war story and horror story of endless pain, and I feel like this is going to be another one of those. I don't know what it's like, having to keep rebuilding video infrastructure every few years. Have you ever had to do that, Matt?

Matt: No. No. But it'll be interesting to hear somebody's perspective on what that's like. Yes, I think we've kind of touched on this, but frankly, be transparent. Finances have been weird this year, in the sense of needing to jump to a holistically more expensive venue. The venue is great, everybody working in it is great, but we just needed to do more so costs went up. Our ability to sell more tickets went down.

I think historically a lot of our sponsorship budget has come from people's recruiting and having a room full of video engineers hiring for their video team, and so a lot of our sponsors have really enjoyed having a table, being in the room with those folks. Actually, lately I've heard some really heartwarming stories of people that their career is on the back of Demuxed in some way. A big shift or a big inflection point, which I love to hear.

But anyway, the sponsors are more important than ever this year. We've had a few folks come in here at the last minute too which has been heartwarming to see. But our gold sponsors this year are CN77 and AWS. Silver sponsors are LivePeer, Qual Labs, Akamai Test Dev Lab, Sieve and Netflix. Then our bronze sponsors are Fast.ly, Paramount Streaming Tech, Broad Peak IO and Alluvio. That's a nice cohort.

Phil: It's a lovely cohort.

Matt: So we have a few more. If you want to squeeze yourself in the last couple minutes, we'd love to have you. Just sponsor@Demuxed.com. I think that's right. The other stuff we should talk about, Video Tech Week SF, which I don't know if that's really ticking off as a name but we're going to keep going with it.

Phil: You keep repeating it, and eventually it well.

Matt: Tons of stuff happening that week, the same week. We've got the HLS Interest Group on Friday. You went to that last year, right?

Phil: I wasn't there last year. I went to the year before.

Matt: Oh, that's right. Do you want to talk through what that's like at all?

Phil: Yeah. It's a really great opportunity to meet with like minded people who care a lot about HLS. Turns out I'm not the only person in the world who cares so deeply. A great opportunity to get in the room with not only a bunch of Apple engineers actively working on both the spec and the implementation on Apple's side, but also get in the room with everyone else who's using it as well at scale.

The last time we spent a lot of time working through the low latency standard and obviously quite a lot of changes came out of that, and then more recently spending time talking about things like how the new interstitial frameworks work and how the new CDN stirring pieces work as well. It's a great opportunity to learn and influence the framework of HLS. Roger Pantos will obviously be there, Josh Tidsbury as well, one of their developer advocates. It's a great group if it's something you're really passionate about.

Matt: Yeah. I think similar. That's the Friday for Demuxed, a similar boat is FOMSS Workshop, the Foundation of Open Media Streaming and Standards, or Standards and Streaming. I can't remember which.

Phil: Close enough.

Matt: That's Monday. It's a very similar vibe in the sense of the people building critical underlying technology and the people using that underlying technology. But for that group, it's more browsers, so usually there's a handful of folks actually working on browsers, all the major ones show up, we've been really lucky to have somebody from Safari, somebody from Firefox, somebody from Chrome, and usually a handful of people from all of them. Then all of the folks that are using that, and some amazing stuff. Web ETT came out of that group, I believe. I think MSE might've even come out of there.

Phil: Yeah. I think a lot of MSE was certainly gone into at depth early in the cycle.

Matt: So if you've been wondering why don't they link to these things in the newsletters and stuff, those are very targeted groups and so I think anybody... I think they're very welcoming groups, but it's not our place to invite our entire audience. The both of those workshops and groups are workshops. You learn a lot when you're there, but it's a participatory thing for both of them.

Phil: FOMSS is very unconference style, bring a topic, be ready to talk about it.

Matt: Yeah. So if you're interested in joining, both of those things are very easy to find. FOMSS Workshop and HLS Interest Group. If you're interested, you can go find them, sign up, they would love to have you I'm sure. Some other things happening, the Women and NB Networking Breakfast, which I managed to put the wrong freaking day on the last newsletter.

Usually it's on Tuesday, this year it's on Wednesday, or usually it's on the first day of the conference, first morning of the conference. This year it's the second morning of the conference. That is totally my bad, but it's Wednesday the 25th from 8:00 to 9:00 at the venue. The RSVP form was right.

Phil: But the newsletter was wrong.

Matt: So yeah, the event is open to all who identify as women, non-binary and/or trans. This year it's organized by some amazing folks in the community who are going to try out some new, semi structured networking programs around topics, so we're going to try and do a, "You say what you're interested in learning about or can speak about," and then letting people do a speed networking event where they can go meet and connect with people on topics they're interested in. I think it's going to be really interesting and great. I'm excited to hear how it goes.

Phil: What else we got? Some open offices, right? On Tuesday night, it must be. We've got three of them.

Matt: Three of them, yeah.

Phil: Well, open office events because I think only one of them is actually in an office. Is that right?

Matt: No. Two of them.

Phil: Two of them in offices, okay.

Matt: Two of them are in office.

Phil: Different offices, that's plural.

Matt: So there's, yeah, an AWS/Twitch mixer is at Twitch HQ. The Mux one is at Mux HQ. We actually don't have an RSVP. It's 50 Beale Street, so I guess you just have to go to 50 Beale Street.

Phil: Just turn up, someone will let you in.

Matt: Just show up. And then LivePeer is at Bar Via, so that's the only not open office one. But those are always a ton of fun.

Phil: They are.

Matt: And I think it's both, all of them, start at six so it'll probably realistically just be go directly from the last talk to one of these mixers and hangout.

Phil: We're going to do the Grilled Cheese Company again? Because I don't think I can deal with the office smelling of grilled cheese for another six months, which is what happened last time. One more thing that does spring to mind is, one, by the time you're listening to this there won't be many tickets left so get them.

If you are part of an open source community or if you're just looking to learn and can't afford to come, let us know, we'll do what we can to help you out. We're always eager to help out however we can there, so let us know. Obviously, yeah, we're on a more difficult financial year, but we're more than happy to still try and make things work there this year.

Matt: Yeah. A line there, just in case you're curious. If your company or business is not going to let you expense your ticket, reach out. We can probably help there. It's a no-brainer if you're a student or working on open source. Shoot us a note, info@demuxed.com. Someone will take care of you, and if you've got that expense credit card just go straight to tickets.demuxed.com. Hit like and subscribe and all that sort of stuff.

Phil: Don't put your email address in the newsletter though, because that might not ever get used.

Matt: Yes. Sign up for the newsletter on Demuxed.com. The other one, sometime in the next 10 years you'll get added to the newsletter list.

Phil: Dearie me. The only thing left is I was going to say thank you to you and Justin and Victoria for extra hard work this year, because I've been busy doing other things.

Matt: I'm thankful for the other things you're doing.

Phil: You're thankful for the other things I'm doing. I'm thankful that you're coming to me and saying, "Man, Phil. This is a lot of stuff you usually do." I'm like, "Yeah." Thank you.

Matt: I always knew. It's just harder when I have to do it.

Phil: Weird.

Matt: Yeah. Huge shout out to everybody who's helped. I was stressing my face off and a bunch of other people have stepped up to ask what they can do. I've also had people from the community reaching out and just being like, "I know that things are hard, are you okay?" Which is so, so kind. That's something that I'd say I'm excited about seeing everyone again and as I've been saying to other people lately, I think what makes us community and conference special, the talks are all great, all that stuff's amazing.

But the chance to come in and put faces to names on a lot of people that you hear about the industry, that you see and meet. They're so welcoming, so kind, so ready to help you learn and get your foot in the door for your next thing or whatever else. I'm just so grateful for the folks that come and attend and speak, and help work on this thing and make it happen. I can't believe we're coming up on nine years of it. Anyway, excited to see everybody. I'm excited to see you in a week.

Phil: Oh yeah. Well, less than a week. But yeah, let's pretend it's a week.

Matt: All right. We'll see everybody else here in less than a couple weeks. Yeah.

Phil: See you at Demuxed.