Silence, Reasons and the Future


As you might have recognised, it has been a bit silent over here recently. One reason was, that I have been running the tenth edition of beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf. I only had two month to prepare everything and confirm speakers, book their travel and hotel and so on. Usually this takes something between 8 months and a year for each event, but I wanted to use the chance and run this event. Well in short: it worked out wonderfully and everybody was happy that it took place.

But it also showed that my business financials are close to zero now on my bank account after two years of not being able to run proper event, but online events, which just cover the cost of itself. After paying all the bills for Düsseldorf 2021, I have been happy to having been able to finally run the event so many people were still holding tickets for. Now I am in the situation to decide what to do next. Since I do not have any money that protects me from any unsuccessful event left over – all the savings I was able to make during the last ten years are gone – I needed to decide whether I let beyond tellerrand come to an end or how I could try to get it on track again.

It is still very uncertain when Covid is finally coming to an end. So I have written all the long time supporters to see how they would commit for 2022. They are unbelievable and wonderful and I am happy to confirm that so far beyond tellerrand is safe for 2022 at least for now. Nevertheless I needed to make a plan about which event is safe to being organised since the money that came in so far only covers about 50% of the rental cost on its own. Not to speak about all the other things that add to the bill.

Düsseldorf and Berlin are long established events and safer to run than any other location. So sadly I needed to make a decision about Munich, which I love to establish as a third hub as well. But three points were critical to decide against running a 2022 Munich edition:

  1. Munich is the newest location and I need to work on making beyond tellerrand more known in this area. It was hard to sell out the 2018 event and with 600 people for the new venue, I would have to make some more noise even. Right now there is no chance to travel to Munich to attend other events and acquire sponsors.
  2. The venue and also the city are the most expensive of all three. With venue rental and base cost of €40.000 on its own, this is a huge risk in times, where I don’t have any money on my bank.
  3. Covid – yes, still Covid. Even if people say we are out of the fourth wave over here in Spring – and I think I am safe with May and September for DUS and BER – what about a possible fifth wave and corresponding restrictions coming with this? November in Munich … who knows what the restrictions are going to be, or, if people are in for an event with 600 attendees, just to mention these two points.

It was a tough decision, but yesterday I cancelled the Munich venue as I would have to sign the contract otherwise.

The plan is to run Düsseldorf and Berlin, tough. I signed both contracts for the venues and already have some wonderful long time partners on board with financial support. Next to this I will start a Steady account soon (similar to Patreon) to ask for support as well. I am still sorting out what to give back in return apart from the fact that it helps keeping beyond tellerrand alive, but one thing is to make Stay Curious online events free for example. More about this soon. Also have a look out what is going to happen in Hamburg ;) Not saying more right now, but smaller spin-off events might help to survive as well.

I also made a list of ongoing payments for micro-things and subscriptions and cancelled any paid subscription (software, magazines …) that I do not urgently need for business right now and might subscribe a later point again. It was tough to do this as I see this as some kind of support of wonderful things other people do. It was heart breaking to think of the people behind it, but I simply can’t afford it right now.

Anyways, I am grateful for having been able to do, what I did the last 20 years. And even though I am very down right now and really thought that beyond tellerrand might end, the last 4 days have given me hope and trust that things will be better again.

Love! /marc

New Podcast Reconsidering – About Making a Life While Making a Living

My friend Aarron Walter started a new podcast together with Bob Baxley and Meredith Black. The podcast is titled “Reconsidering” and it is about making a life while making a living. Meredith, Aarron and Bob step back to reconsider and rethink work, the possible future and expectations connected to this.

So far they released a trailer and their first episode titled “The myths of happiness” with Bill Burnett, author of “Designing Your Life”, which is already very promising and gives you a direction of what is coming.

Event Tip – Inclusive Design 24

Inclusive Design 24 (#id24) is a free 24-hour online event for the global community. It celebrates inclusive design and shares knowledge and ideas from analogue to digital, from design to development, from planners to practitioners, and everything and everyone in between.

Join the free event(s) here

Recycling is Failing


Recycling is what you do, when you fail to re-use

A quote by Mark Adams I could not agree more to. And I bet you do as well, if you think about it.

For context watch his lovely talk titled Recycling is a Defeat – The Value of Eternity

Demystifying Public Speaking by Lara Hogan Now Online for Free

Back in 2016 Lara Hogan released her book “Demystifying Public Speaking” at A Book Apart. It is a great book with many good tips for anyone who starts giving presentations online or in front of an audience, but also holds man handy tips for experienced speakers.

Next to the links I posted in January 2020 with many resources about public speaking, you should definitely set a bookmark for Lara’s now freely available book.

Read online: Demystifying Public Speaking

Font Pairing – Some Helpful Links

It is not easy to find the right combination of fonts that are harmonising and have the right balance to each other. Sometimes your chosen headline font is too bold for the soft and fragile body text font, sometimes they are not matching in their character or the tones of a font are not working together. There are many reasons why combinations won’t work. Well, here are a few articles that might help you finding the right pairing.

Pimp My Type

Oliver Schöndorfer has started Pimp My Type not too long ago, but already built a good resource when it comes to useful and handy tipps and tricks for your work with fonts and typography. Next to the website, he has started a YouTube channel with short, entertaining and educating videos.

In this article and this video Oliver gives you three tipps to get your font pairing right.

Webflow Blog

This article Jeff Cardello also gives you a good number of tipps to find the right combination for your website. Next to writing about how to experiment with different weights and tones or playing with the contrast between fonts, he gives you visual examples as an inspiration.

Creative Bloq

Ruth Hamilton has written a long article about font pairing for the Creative Bloq with many examples for different use cases.

Frank Bueltge

Frank has collected a good amount of examples for font combinations he likes. A good visual resource either.

In general I can only recommend to not necessarily stick with your first choice of fonts, but compare your choices side by side. Not only consider how they harmonise, but first of all, what you use them for! If you have you favourite pairing, then maybe put is aside and have a new and fresh look when you had a night of sleep. Also consider testing them on different devices and screens of different formats and resolutions – if you use them on a website and not in print. Whether you use a free font or one that you have to buy does not really matter. There are many high quality free fonts available these days. But if you decide to use a font you need to buy, then please DO BUY the font and don’t ask friends if they have a copy of that font!

Pocket Casts Acquired by Automattic

We've got some really exciting news we'd like to share with you - Pocket Casts is joining Automattic, the incredible company behind, Tumblr, WooCommerce, and other fantastic products.

Last night I got an email from Pocket Casts about that they’re excited to be acquired by Automattic. I remember the one blog post by Jeremy Keith about “how excited companies are about getting bought” (I can’t find it right now). And I have to admit, the second I read about Pocket Casts acquisition, I somehow had a bad feeling. Not because Automattic is a _bad company, but too often I have companies, apps and services dying or at least having worse service or none at all anymore. I could mention many examples here. But as Moritz Gießman stated on Twitter, last time when Automattic bought Gravatar the service stayed more or less as it was before.

What is your experience with this? Join the conversation here.

Update 20 July 2021: Pocket Casts replied to me on Twitter stating …

“@marcthiele no plans to shut it down, just make it bigger and better. Welcome aboard!”

And later …

“ @marcthiele well we have some experience with this already. We've been on the team since 2010, and already were purchased in 2018 by US public radio. I get the healthy skepticism but I feel like there's more nuance here than just a blanket rule for what getting bought means :)”

Jon Hicks Made a Font out of His Fathers Handwriting and That Made His Father Immortal

The father of Jon Hicks recently died and that is always a very sad moment. Someone who guided and accompanied you through your whole life suddenly is gone. And I could simply relate to Jon, when he wrote

[…] it feels like 2021 is the year of being weighed down by the sheer heaviness of grief.

I was able to relate not only because I lost my first brother in 2013, when my wife’s grandma died also, but also because when my other brother died end of 2015, our dog Baldo died after 16 years of being with us as well. Back then it seemed for me as if one death never comes alone.

In Jon’s post about his father’s passing, I also was reminded, that a death can also be something very peaceful, like when my mother died in 2017. Sitting next to her bed for the last hours together with my wife, my sister and one of my nephews had something very peaceful and I think in some way it gave myself some kind of strength and made me remembering all the good times I had with my mother.

Now, Jon made something lovely to make his father immortal not only for him and his family – as those of our families who die are immortal for us anyway – but he created something that also makes him being remembered by others. He created a beautiful font out of his fathers handwriting.

I also love, that he was able to use his dad’s handwriting now for all the documents for his dad’s funeral, which makes it so personal and lovely.

It is lovely to read about the process of Jon creating this font and him enjoying to do this. Sending out a big hug to Jon and his family!

You are able to use the font for free, but a donation to Parkinson UK is suggested

Update: Jon updated Bryan and enhanced it with more ligatures, an uppercase Q and an uppercase ẞ (Esszett)

Got a Sony ZV-1 as Second Camera and Alternative to my EOS R for Streaming

A photo showing my new Sony ZV-1 camera including a SmallRig cage and a Rode Video Mic Pro
Next to the camera I got a SmallRig cage, as a mounted tripod would block the batterie and card slot, next to other benefits …

I was looking for an alternative to my EOS R, which I right now use as main camera in my streaming setup. I installed Magic Lantern on my Canon 7D Mark I and it helped getting a clean HDMI signal out of the camera, but the 7D felt – related to streaming – outdated and not good. I still like it as a camera to take photos with, but for streaming, I was looking for another option.

I do have an EOS R as well, which works fantastic for streaming, but for a lighter setup or to quickly take the camera with you, it is pretty heavy and bulky. I looked into several option and ended up with the Sony ZV-1, which I caught in a discounted bundle with the wireless control grip.

I watched a lot of reviews about the camera and one of the main cons everybody mentioned an issue that, when using a grip or tripod, your battery and SD card slot is blocked and you would have to un-screw the tripod/grip each time you wanted to swap battery or take out the card. So I got the SmallRig cage which offers man possibilities. Another downside of the camera mentioned was the battery time, as the battery is very small. Well, I might mainly use it connected to the power supply via USB anyways, when streaming, but I got a 3-pack incl. charger (Amazon affiliate link) for the camera in addition as well for around €25.

So far I am happy with it and the quality of the output. The pro feature anyone mentioned was the good and fast autofocus as well as a good quality image. The built-in microphone is ok, but since I already owned a Rode VideoMic Pro (Thomann affiliate link), I am using it with the ZV-1 and it is surely improving the sound.

I might give you an update when I used it for a while, but so far I am happy with it.

Kirby Docs Search Workflow for Alfred 4

A screenshot of Alfred App showing how you can search the Kirby CMS documentation

If you are using Alfred anyways and a lot, like I do and you are also using Kirby CMS for your websites, you might like, what Adam Kiss has published here.

He published a workflow for Alfred, that allows you to directly search in the Kirby documentation directly from your computer. Pretty handy! I love those things who are maybe not too big of an invention, but make you life easier with small, helping bits. Thanks Adam.

👉 Information and download of the Alfred workflow