Kai Brach, the person behind Offscreen, publishes a lot of good content with insights and behind the scenes stories out of his life as an indie mag publisher. I often find myself in his stories and find many, many similarities between his publishing business and running my event(s). A very good read … not only for magazine publishers or those who want to become one.
Sadly the promising looking event called Material, that was planned to be held in July by my friends Brian Suda and Joschi Kuphal is not taking place. The reason is that they only funded 1/3 of what they tried to get through their Kickstarter campaign. Their website states:
ATTENTION: This conference will not take place in 2016!
Thanks for your support — we'll be back in 2017 ...
I haven’t seen a post with Brian’s or Joschi’s view on things about why they think it wasn’t reaching the goal they set, but in my opinion reasons could be, that it was set in the wrong time of the year. In Europe July in most countries is holiday season already where people take time off and where flights are more expensive than usually. Also, for an event like this one, being in Iceland, maybe 4 months are not enough to make a decision whether to go or not. It might be the time most people need, like seen in the survey I did, but maybe for a trip like this, being special (in a positive way) in my opinion, it could be different.
Also, as I stated before, Kickstarter is not my favourite choice for backing an event. It works if you already have a huge network to spread the campaign and where you can be sure that it will work out in the end, but otherwise I think it leads more to a “I wait and see how popular this is” mentality than to being quick to get your ticket. People maybe wait and see instead of grabbing a well-priced ticket to reserve their seat. But maybe I am wrong … just my guess and opinion.
I myself have to blame me as well for not backing the event though I was planning to got. Only the time was difficult for me as well, as I have a family who loves to spend time with me (obviously) and where everybody is happy, if I am not attending events in July and August. Therefore I wasn’t sure either and did not back it … shame on me.
I do like the idea Brian and Joschi had and I hope they’ll give it another try in 2017. Let’s help them and spread the word even more next time.
I just arrived back from San Francisco and am done sorting the photos I took at SmashingConf. Usually I am a bit faster, but at the weekend I took time off with my family and then I had to get directly to work for the upcoming beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf as it is less than 4 weeks to go.
The first event in San Francisco was a great success for Smashing Magazine. A good set of speakers, a great venue, Tim Kadlec was – in my opinion – ace as MC of the event and even the weather was playing nice and the sun was out all of the event days, which is not often the case in San Francisco during this time of the year. I guess the Smashing circus will be back to this city next year again.
Wow! Is it already three months into the new year and the events I have written about, I gonna attend are already over? Tell me that time is not ticking fast! While I’m writing the delayed, first update to the beyond tellerrand Düsseldorf attendees, I decided to quickly update my own blog with the events, I plan to attend during April, May and June (ordered by date):
SmashingConf San Francisco
At the end of this week I take my flight to San Francisco to be part of the first Smashing Conference in SF. From April 5th to 6th with workshops on 4th and 7th, the first SF SmashingConf is opening the doors. Many old and new faces on the speaking circuit are going to give the attendees a great time. Expect photos from e after the event.
IndieWebCamp and beyond tellerrand // DÜSSELDORF
Apart from this, I am not able to attend more events in April as my own event is coming up quickly and a lot of stuff is to be done still. May 7th and 8th, we run the IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf for the second time as part of #btconf. It’s a free event for everybody interested in this topic and I, together with Aaron Parecki and Jeremy Keith, would be happy to welcome you. beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf is sold out and about 70 people are on the waiting list. So I better get my act together and get it rolling.
I attended Typo Berlin last year and have a ticket to do so again. Sadly it is so close to my event, that I never really know until very short before the event. This year Typo Berlin takes place from May 12 to 14 and tickets are still available. It might happen that I am not able to come, but I try to make it over at least for one day. A lot of good speakers and friends are going to speak.
After a few years of not being able to attend, I hope to be back this year. But same here: too many other events and this is so close to mine always. Just crossing my fingers, that I am able to make it to OFFF this time from May 26 to 28.
Smashing Conference New York
From June 14 to 15 the event I started with Vitaly Friedman is back in New York for the third time. Tickets for SmashingConf New York are still available. Of course I am back with photos here as well.
awwwards New York
Right after Smashing Conf, the awwwards Conference opens the doors from on 16th and 17th of June. The list of speakers looks great (as with most of the speaker lists from the above) and I am looking forward to a busy week in New York, meeting and chatting to a lot of people.
And that is it in short for the next three months. I anything adds to this, I’ll update this post. If you are at any of these events, let me know and we can have a chat and hang out!
Update: Obviously I totally forgot to list ConfConf amongst the events I’ll be at. Not attending but speaking, but that is not changing the fact, that I am there … and you?
Last week I was part of the third SmashingConf in Oxford. In my opinion the best edition in Oxford so far. Not from the topics and speakers, but from the overall atmosphere and feeling. Over two days we have again seen a great mix of topics in a wonderful atmosphere of the beautiful Town Hall in Oxford.
I had a great time speaking to new and old friends and being part of the steady growing and great team behind SmashingConf. Check my photos and meet me soon at SmashingConf in San Francisco.
If you – like me – once started to take photos of nice doors and windows from places you visit, this one is going to make you jealous. André Vicente Gonçalves collected windows and doors from all over the world. A beautiful and colourful collection.
Last year at the end of January, I attended the first ConfConf. When I first heard about the event, I asked myself, if it really is needed to have an event telling other people how to plan, organise and run an event. But obviously this event is about more than just about this. The first edition covered a wide range of useful talks spiced with a lot of insights on how other people succeeded or also failed with their events. So even, if I can call myself lucky enough to – right now and until now – have an event, which sells out twice a year, I took a lot of things with me from this small and intimate event.
The two faces behind ConfConf – Cat and Ben – are known to put their hearts into what they do. Ben runs events like Breaking Borders and speaks at various events. Cat is part of the Smashing Conference team, an event that Vitaly Friedman started together with me in 2012. Cat has a long time experience with running events for the web industry and community and was the heart of shows for Carsonified and Future Insights, before she joined the Smashing team.
When Cat and Ben started this event, they wanted to gather people who run an event, want to run and event, or are simply interested in the topic of planning, organising and/or running events. Surely someone could ask Don’t we already have enough conferences?, but apart from that I think we don’t, the idea to improve what we have is important. They say
We want people to leave feeling enabled to improve their events with a range of new tools, tips and techniques, inspired by a clearer view of their motivations and contributions to the tech industry and above all, feeling that they are part of a supportive community, working towards a common goal.
I see that you still ask yourself, why I think we don’t have enough events. So here’s why: I think that we need as many events as possible. They are what everybody needs to get away from the laptop, from daily work and routines. Some of us are lucky enough to have a family life or are able to switch off after work is done (whenever this might be). But for those who are not and lack of meeting people in real life, to exchange and chat, events are wonderful. Events are the place to meet like minded people. To recharge your batteries for creativity, motivation, or ideas. They are more than a blog post with a different view on things, where you easily can turn around and say That is bullshit, because then you have someone asking you WHY? And this might lead to a wonderful conversation and discussion maybe giving you more than just one opinion and view on things.
If you agree, then ConfConf might even be an event, that you should consider to attend. Even if you are not into running a conference or meetup yourself. ;)
I myself am going to talk about The Human Side of Event Organisation. I haven’t written the outline yet, but the title itself might give you a glimpse on what it is al about. It will be a roller coaster ride on which I take you to see what partners, speakers and – of course – attendees mean to me and how I treat (or at least hope to) them.
Alongside with me, John Davey, responsible for events like Flash on the Beach and now Reasons in London and Brighton, who is covering the difficult topic of selling tickets in a creative way. Not only event organisers are lined up: Rachel Andrew is talking about the experience as a speaker and how this could possible be optimised to have a great time at an event. Last but not least Cat also gives a talk with very helpful insights, tips and tricks and a backpack with a Plan B for anythings that could possibly go wrong at your show. All this is spiced up with discussions in which everybody onsite exchanges and discusses. Sounds like a good, active and useful day.
Want to join? This way, please.
It’s a tough time to start new events right now. Many people have held their final event last year, announcing the end of it or at least a longer break to think of a different setup or orientation. Just have a look at the “Future Of” - series or Clearleft’s dConstruct, just to mention a few. Who would have thought, that a traditional, long running event like dConstruct would close their doors? They always had a really diverse and well curated line-up, well chosen range of speakers and a great atmosphere overall, when you attended. Yet more an more events, without having a real idea why, suffer from less and less attendees. A lot of other events suffer from low attendance rates or the critique of possible attendees, that speaker line-ups at Web conference look all more or less similar.
How brave of Joschi and Brian to kick off a new event called Material during exactly this time. Even more, if you take in consideration that they don’t run it in London, Berlin, Amsterdam or any of the cities already having many events – you know, if you want to open an Italian restaurant, you open it where all the other Italian restaurants are, right? No, they decided to go for Reykjavik in Iceland for their location. I mean, yes, everybody who always wanted to go to Iceland has one more reason now, but that possibly means that you add a few more days in addition to the event. And planning and scheduling your event journeys needs time and many decisions have to be made, as you have seen in the results of this survey.
One more aspect, why they have a tough job is, that – if you know Joschi and Brian – they won’t come up with just another conference. Of course they have the aim of creating and delivering something meaningful, something relevant. They state, that this event is
Material 2016 – a conference exploring the concept of the Web as a material
Now you might ask yourself what this means and I don't want to simply repeat what they already have written, so please do me a favour and check what they have written about the meaning of this sentence and their event. Or check the video below this post, recorded by Brian and Joschi to explain, what they are planning to start and run.
The show is planned to take off at July 22nd this year. So it is not too far away anymore, which is another very brave move, as a lot of things have to be planned, organised and brought to live. Joschi and Brian decided to go for a Kickstarter campaign to sell their tickets. Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of selling event tickets or Kickstarter in general, but many events in the past have shown that this a) is possible and b) a good option to see the interest of people. The only downside – I think – is, that it sometimes lets people wait and see how it takes of. If tickets are selling quick and backers come in quickly, then they act fast. If not, they take their time. And this is, what no organiser needs, running events the way they or I do it as we work with the money we get for an event directly towards the event.
Therefore I'd say: support this very nice idea and reason to run an event. Also because Brian and Joschi are wonderful people doing a lot of good for the community. Tickets are $150 and only about 150 seats are available. I'm pretty sure that you won't regret being part of this event. Content wise, from the location on it's own and also from the people you'll meet there.
Usually I do not have a call for proposals for beyond tellerrand, but I do get a lot of emails from people who want to speak. There are plenty of groups emailing me. Sometimes it is obvious that someone just wants to pitch and advertise a product or service to the audience of my event. They get a friendly reply with my Partnership PDF. Then there is a few that sound interesting and who get a reply asking for more information. Usually as soon as I get this missing information I sort them into a pool of speakers and topics I have, which I look through every now and then to check whats in there and what might be relevant for an upcoming event, depending whom I have already invited.
Sometimes I also get these kind of emails:
If I get something like this, I ask myself: if the person on which behalf I get this email has looked into my event and finds it interesting, why not getting in touch with me in person? I mean certainly you must have notice that a lot of my event is about personality and community, so the first thing someone should do is getting in touch with me directly instead through someone else. At least I think like this and actually reply with exactly this question plus the suggestion to let the person interested getting in touch with me directly.
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