Notes

Interview with Confdays

A little while ago I sat down with Gilles Vauvarin, who asked me, if I’d be up for an interview about running my event. We met in Bastian Allgeier’s Slack channels for Kirby Next, as Gilles uses Kirby to run his website. It was lovely chatting with Gilles and I hope you like us talking about event planning, reasons for starting an event in the first place and dealing with problems.

Read: Marc Thiele – beyond tellerrand

Braille Neue – Braille for everyone

Illustration showing how Braille and type turn into Braille Neue

I really like how easy it gets with Braille Neue to ready Braille. Especially for sighted people. I mean yes, the idea to combine Braille with a typeface is not new, but I somehow like the aesthetics of this approach and that it is not only planned to be for latin alphabets, but also for Japanese fonts.

Hobby No. 215 B

Photo showing an old package of fishing equipment

I remembered this gem in my basement a while ago and always wanted to shoot it for @purveyors_of_packaging as I love their packaging shots and encourage you to follow them. Now I simply shot it with my phone. Got this fishing equipment many, many years ago from my uncle (RIP), when I was twelve or so. Still working, still beautiful.

Links for Purveyors of Packaging

⇾ IFTTT Workflow with Instagram and Kirby

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A few days back I asked my friend Brendan Dawes via a DM on Twitter, how he publishes his Instagram pictures to his blog. He said:

(A) combo of ifttt and a script I’ve written. I can feel a blog post coming on…

Now he has written this post and explains how he uses IFTTT and a webhook to post from Instagram to his own blog. You can easily take his example and adapt this to many other services. Thanks Bren for writing this.

If you don’t want it to be negative, change it

I recently stumbled over another blog post, where someone was complaining about Twitter and how negative this platform, or better, its users nowadays are. And I don’t mean people like Mike Monteiro, who is complaining about the people behind Twitter, for a reason. And I also agree, that more and more people use Twitter to simply chuck up their bad experiences/day/thoughts … you name it.

If you now decide to leave Twitter as a platform, as you can’t stand it anymore, that is fine. I myself have to say, that I still use it a lot. On one hand it still helps me with my business a lot. I announce, advertise and discuss my event related things on @btconf. On the other hand I chat and stay in touch with friends at @marcthiele. I like the way of thinking about and using it, like I learned when learning about the IndieWeb movement. But I still like to use it.

If you don’t leave Twitter, why not starting to focus on the positive. Try not to post all your negative crap, but every time something positive happens to you or something where you think it might help or motivate other people you go and broadcast that.

I think if we are not satisfied with something and how it is, we are the ones who have to change it, if it is of interest for us. Again: if it is not, you are right, when you maybe better simply leave it. But, please, do this then instead of adding to the negative noise.

Events are not Dead

Mid January I have read an interesting post on the website of Marco Arment called ”The end of the conference era” and even though Marco is referring to small Apple-ish developer-ish conferences, I left the tab open, as I wanted to write my thoughts on this concerning web conferences or web events, like I prefer to call it.

Marco mentions a few interesting aspects, why he thinks that those smaller events are at their end. One reason he mentions is cost as one factor, why people would not attend anymore, where I think, if you keep prices affordable, there is still room for travel, accommodation and even food. This, though, is surely very subjective, as allocating a budget for events in a company is very different depending on where you work. Two weeks ago I had an apprentice from an agency writing me, asking for discounts. I first wrote back and explained how the ticket price is calculated in my case, to show, where the money goes to. But furthermore I had a look at her agencies website and only saw big names on the client list. My question was, if her boss would not have any money/budget planned for events for their employees. Sadly they had not, even with their size of agency. I have seen really good examples, where the value of attending events is very clear for the company. sipgate for example have a wall, where employees can add the event they want to attend at and, I think, up to a certain budget, it does not matter even, were this is (I will check again, how this exactly works for them and also bring photos, as I really like how they dealt with it). I agree, though, that there are events out there charging way too much for what you get (where others charging quite some money also really package a great deal with a lot for the money they charge).

Marco also says

It’s getting increasingly difficult for organizers to sell tickets, in part because it’s hard to get big-name speakers without the budget to pay them much (which would significantly drive up ticket costs, which exacerbates other problems), but also because conferences now have much bigger competition in connecting people to their colleagues or audiences.

Though I agree, that competition got harder as more and more events pop up weekly, I don’t agree with what he says about big-name speakers. Sure: big-name speakers is a matter of definition again. Maybe he thinks of bigger names than I do, but I furthermore think, that the content and finding new talent is more important than having big names on your list. Yes, I do also think of course, that a good mix of well-known speakers and new findings is always the best recipe.

As said before, he maybe refers to other events for a different target audience, but talks about fixing conferences when he says

I don’t know how to fix conferences, but the first place I’d start on that whiteboard is by getting rid of all of the talks, then trying to find different ways to bring people together — and far more of them than before.

Again: I think, that events are not broken. When I look at my beyond tellerrand events, I see 500 knowledge and inspiration hungry people at each edition. Attendees, which are hungry for new inspiration, different views and opinions on things, exchanging with other people and most importantly to spend time with all the other people at the event. I agree, when he says that talks are not the most important reason for attending an event, but I think they are part of it, as they set the spark for conversations in the breaks after the talks and in the evening, when the attendees meet for food and drinks.

I furthermore answer his following assumption with no

Or maybe we’ve already solved these problems with social networks, Slack groups, podcasts, and YouTube, and we just haven’t fully realized it yet.

I think anything online – even an online conference – will never be able to replace an event, where people meet face to face, have conversations, plan their next side project, speak about their latest findings or ask for help during a chat. For me, being with all the other people and the conversations that evolve from this is the real juice of attending events.

So, no, I don’t see the end of a conference era.

RIP Stephen Hawking

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Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Stephen Hawking

Rest in Piece.

⇾ Learn CSS Variables

A free course teaching CSS Variables in 8 chapters by Per Harald Borgen.

⇾ Tips for Running Workshops

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In this little post, Tim give a few handy tips for planning and running a workshop. Even if he states _“An important caveat: this is what works for me.” I am sure, that many people find some useful bits and pieces in there.

Read: Tips for Running Workshops

Conversation with Vasilis about Design, Quality and Positivity

Last week I had been in Amsterdam to meet friends and to attend FITC. When I tweeted about it, Vasilis van Gemert asked, if we should meet for a coffee. Of course I said yes, not only as Vasilis is a lovely bloke, but also as it is wonderful, if you have the chance to meet your friends when an opportunity is given.

When we sorted out where to meet, he asked me if I'd like to be a guest on his podcast, called The Good, The Bad, The Interesting. Now he released our conversation, which turned out to end in a nice chat about design, quality and positivity. Ignore the fakt, that I use the word “like” a lot and I think it is an episode worth the time listening to.

Thanks a lot Vasilis, for the lovely opportunity to be a guest in you podcast, even though very spontaneously.

Listen to The Good, The Bad, The Interesting with … well … me ;]