Notes

RIP Jeff Grosso

A photo of an old skateboard of mine by Jeff Grosso
So sad to hear that Jeff Grosso died. I still have a couple of decks of him in my basement still. RIP. 😢

Zoom – My Concerns

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Since I had to postpone my tenth edition of beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf (date TBA) and it is unsure, if Berlin or Munich editions are taking place in this strange year, I was trying to work on an online setup for beyond tellerrand. Not to replace the live events – I don’t think this will ever be the same, especially for what I do with beyond tellerrand – but to create a platform, where we can exchange, meet and inspire each other in a time, when it is simply not possible to meet live and in real.

Now, I was testing a couple of platforms to host online meetings, webinars and events of all kinds. During the last two weeks those services had a huge boost and run on their services.

Lists with tools, services and tips for online events are popping up, like these:

Next to this, a lot of Slack channels pop up for event organisers and existing ones have more or less one topic only right now: Online Events.

So far I tested about 10 different platforms to host events on and somehow Zoom is the one that I always return to. For some reason it feels closest to what I want to do with being able to access your camera, to see each other, to speak to each other and not only write in a chat. As I don’t want to the many cool opportunities that pop up now, where people host workshops, webinars or try to port their live conferences into the web, I always came back to Zoom for the mentioned reasons above.

I wish that the people from Hopin would reply to any of my emails. I have written a couple of times, used the “Get Early Access” button, but within the last three weeks no one ever got back to me sadly. What I read on their website sounds nice, but I can’t sadly test it and tinker with it.

But back to why I have not started, what I have in mind right now: I am simply not sure, if I want to identify my event, even if only online, with what Zoom as a company is representing. Last year they were in the news, that, without telling the user, they’d secretly install a web server on your Mac, while installing the Zoom app. This was so bad, that I thought I never gonna use Zoom again. It was so hard to remove this server from your Mac again, that Apple even published a silent Mac update to remove it. (Here is a more detailed blog post by John Gruber about this whole issue and also about many more details, like the way Zoom runs the installer etc.)

Now another issue popped up: Zoom sent data to Facebook – even if you don’t have a facebook account – WTF?!

Well, the code now is said to be removed and they also have a web version (see here on how to use it, which is not as feature rich, but which does not need to install anything and which you can run in a private window, but it still leaves a bitter taste to it. What’s coming next?

And therefore: Do I really want to use a service for my events, where a company knowingly does this kind of stuff? What do you think?

O’Reilly Cancelled All Their In-Person Events

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O’Reilly Media cancelled all their future in-person events. But not only this: they also shut down that part of their business completely. I bet they won’t be the only ones in the end, as future is really not predictable at the moment.

Read the full announcement here.

Online Drawing Parties and Other Free Resources

Danny Gregory spoke at beyond tellerrand Berlin in 2016 and gave a wonderful talk about why every day matters. It was wonderful to have him being part of beyond tellerrand. Now he and Koosje Koene, who founded Sketchbook Skool together, invite people to free online drawing parties to get through these tough and strange times together. And this with drawing together.

Danny and Koosje state, that everybody can be an artist. They don’t believe in talent, but they believe that everyone is able to become an artist though teaching their way seeing. They always state that drawing and making art is powerful and yet, in these times, they might be even more right with this.

On this page they invite you to be part of their drawing parties and offer other free resources, stating that they want to ​relieve stress, connect and get creative.

Check the schedule and join in!

Gary Hustwit Films for Free

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Gary Hustwit decided to stream one of his films for free each week. For the last week and until tomorrow his film Helvetica is available for free.

Watch Helvetica now

Affinity Products for 50% Off

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Many companies think of ways to support freelancers, sole workers and the creative community in general. Affinity now decided to reduce the price for their products by 50%.

Next to this they offer a new 90-day trial period for the whole product range for Mac or Windows.

They state:

  • A new 90-day free trial of the Mac and Windows versions of the whole Affinity suite
  • A 50% discount for those who would rather buy and keep the apps on Mac, Windows PC and iPad
  • A pledge to engage more than 100 freelance creatives for work, spending the equivalent of our annual commissioning budget in the next three months (more details of this will be announced soon).

Furthermore as reason for this they say:

The introduction of the 90-day free trial and deeply discounted pricing is done in the hope that this will make life a little easier for people who rely on creative software to make a living, but may be stuck at home without their usual tools, or for students who might not have access to their Affinity apps on their personal devices.

Read the full announcement on their site.

Thanks for All the Positive Vibes

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Not much. Only wanted to state that – once more – people are overwhelmingly nice these days. I still need to get in touch with a couple of partner for the postponed beyond tellerrand event in Düsseldorf, but up to now people just bare with my and hope that I will be able to run it later this year.

Thank you so much!

Online Events These Days

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As we all need to stay at home right now, you might have more time than usual (I don’t right now, it is more the opposite and I need to make plans for a possible future).

Why not using this time next to taking care of you and your family to meet online, learn, get inspired or look into new fields of business?

Yesterday I was watching a live stream of Gavin Strange and James White, as they are not able to give their talk at Offf in Barcelona, as expected. Right now, I can’t find it online, but it was a nice journey to their careers as speakers, where/how it started and simply nice to meet a few people.

Erika and Mike started something called Quarantine Book Club. The idea is to bring people together with authors. Ticket price for each session is $5. They state:

Join your favorite authors on Zoom where you can have spirited discussions from the privacy of our own quarantined space!

Next to this, there are a lot of talks from past events online, which you can watch. Like in our channels on YouTube or Vimeo. And there are plenty of more “events” online these days. For me it really is no alternative to what I do with beyond tellerrand, but maybe something in addition and a way to keep the spirit alive and stay connected without being able to meet in real life. I recently read in one of the Slacks for event organisers I am in, that one organiser was missing the live reactions to the first online meetup they ran. She said:

[…] today we did our first zoom webinar. Overall, ok (Q&A, focused video on facilitators) but huge design flaw at the end: there’s no way to create feedback from the audience. Meaning: no clapping or props. Such a huge disappointing end IMO. […]

I totally understand this. Also the interaction between people in between the talks during the breaks at live events is missing. Well, let’s hope things are better soon!

What are you doing these days?

If You Email to Speak at beyond tellerrand at Least Change the Events Name in Your Template

I get a lot of emails from people who want to speak or who suggest people to invite or people from a company who say I need to invite their CEO, Creative Director, XYZ. All fine and I am happy to actually receive those emails. But sometimes I wish people would at least re-read the email made from their template to correct at least the name of the event (or the organiser, me).

A screenshot from an email of someone suggesting their CEO as a speaker for beyond tellerrand.

Simply looks cheap and in this case, won’t even get a reply. And I really do reply to every email.

I Have Been Guest of Presentable Podcast #82 by Jeff Veen

Last Thursday I had the honour of being the guest in episode number 82 of the Presentable podcast by Jeff Veen. It was great fun to chat with him (as usual when meeting him in person). We spoke about how events and the reason to be at events might have changed over the last 20 years. In my opinion it is less about learning and getting to know how to do things, but more to broader topics, motivation and inspiration nowadays. At least when it comes how I see me running events.

I love running my events. It is just great to see all those different people with so many different interests and backgrounds coming together for two days to exchange, enlighten and inspire each other. I could have gone on forever to chat about all this, but I guess, you have to meet me at one of the events in 2020 to chat face to face ;)

But this way, please, to have a listen yourself. If you like, join the beyond tellerrand Slack and let me know about your opinion and reason, why you attend events/conferences?