How Do You Turn a Conference Into a Festival, Marc Thiele?

I often get asked “What is the secret to a successful event?” and surely you first have to define what “success” means in this context. Mostly, when asking me, the asking person means the fact that past attendees speak about my event as a friendly event with a special atmosphere that is way more than a usual conference. That surely is a huge compliment for me and what I do, but honestly, the actual answer would be “I don’t know”.

I can only look back at what I did and try to find the things that make it feel different and which people are talking about, when they say this. It is my nature to welcome people and see myself as their host, wanting them to have a great time while they are at my event for those two or more days.

With 20+ years of running events, I certainly have an idea, what people refer to and I want to focus on and refine those bits each and every time I host an event.

In his Podcast, Christoph Luchs and I speak about those parameters and the history of how I came to do what I do. If you understand German, head over to his website and listen to the podcast episode titled “Wie verwandelst Du eine Konferenz in ein Festival, Marc Thiele?”

Thanks for the lovely conversation, Christoph.

Upgrade to Kirby 4


This afternoon I upgraded three of my sites using Kirby to the new version Kirby 4. It was super easy and nothing that bugged me really actually had to do with Kirby itself, but upgrading to a newer version of PHP here on my local machines.

I, for example, use Mamp on my Macs and older versions of PHP were installed locally. When I recognised that auto upgrading did not work, I tried to install Mamp manually by clicking on the upgrade function inside of Mamp. It threw an error stating “MAMP (PRO) can not be installed yet” and some details, that I followed, which did not help in the beginning. I then downloaded the Mamp installer, but it gave me the same error when starting the installation. For one of my Macs I had to rename the Mamp folder to get the installation started even, then rename it back to the original name and continue installing. Then I got the error “The installation cannot be continued”. After a bit of research I found out, that I had to kill all processes with the names “httpd” (there were around 20–30 running) and “mysqld” (also quite a few of them running). After killing those, I was finally able to install a newer version of Mamp with more options for new PHP versions also.

My first recommendation for the actual Kirby upgrade is to definitely check the Migration Guide for upgrading to v4. It has a lot of valuable information and if you read it before upgrading you avoid a few smaller pitfalls maybe and get smaller issues sorted easily.

Then I do recommend you to install new versions of PHP before upgrading Kirby. This makes sure you get rid of all problems that this PHP upgrade might cause, without you thinking that the Kirby upgrade has caused this error. I myself was running Kirby 3.9.8 and upgraded PHP to 8.2, which caused some minor issues that I needed to fix. After that, the Kirby Upgrade went extremely smooth on my neu•gierig website, as well as on the website for Karl’s and my new event Better by Design. For my blog here, I had to add PHP type hints, that have been added, but that was it.

I had issues to perform the upgrade directly from the Kirby 4 Panel, but removing the old .license file made it possible for me to add the new license in the Panel.

I am a massive fanboy of Kirby anyways, but this new upgrade feels so good already. Excited to work with it, especially using the panel a bit more.

If you want a demo of some of the new features, next to reading the Release Notes, you can watch the recording of the little release show that Bastian and I streamed last Thursday. Enjoy!

Kirby 4 is Here!


Exciting news: Kirby 4 is here. Upgrade now to save 20% on each license. Super happy for Bastian and the Kirby team to see the release as I know how much work it has been for them. And sooo many promising new features and enhancements. Have a look yourself.

A screenshot of Kirby 4

Excited to see if my pages are easy to upgrade. A few other things to be done before I can have a look, but already looking forward to this.

On that note: there are a couple of Kirby meetups planned in Munich, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, in case you want to hear more about the latest version. I gonna be at the Düsseldorf edition and Basti also. We are planning to do an episode of Stay Curious for the new release also, like we did for the last version as well.

Autumn Walk

A forest in autumn with brown leaves on the ground and coloured leaves on the trees. A dog is visible small in the middle of the photo.

Skate Aid Night 2023


Skate Aid Night 2023 just happened on Saturday. I went again and it is great to see how many people supported Skate Aid again to make kids strong through skateboarding and giving them a purpose. This time my daughter Luca joined me, which made me really happy. ☺️

Skate Aid and beyond tellerrand are partners for many years now and part of the ticket money always directly goes to Skate Aid to support their projects.

To My Mother


To my mother who’d have birthday today!

A squared photo on which you see my hand holding a negroni – a red drink containing equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari

Back from ffconf – Any Why We Need Events like This


ffconf is an event in Brighton founded and organised by Remy Sharp and his wife Julie Sharp. I know both for a long time and we share a lot of common things when it comes to running events. We run events, because we love running those and bringing people together for which we curate a set of speakers for a certain amount of time. In their case for one day at beginning of November. Julie and Remy, as well as I, come out of a very tough time for event organisers that don’t take their budgets out of a companies yearly marketing budget. We rely on people buying tickets and partnerships with companies who like what we do, who see a sense in sponsoring as they might have a benefit and who keep our events alive with their money.

What makes events like ffconf so important for me is not only the personal curation and with this often much more interesting talks, but also the personal connection people have with those events and the kind of people you meet and are able to exchange with.

Last week Friday, at ffconf, I had so many lovely conversations before, during and after the event that are fantastic input, motivation and thoughts that are different to mine and give me other perspectives. For me personally that is so much value and I hope that events like ffconf stay for a long, long time. What you can do to make sure that this is the case? Well, if you attend events like ffconf, Patterns Day, or mine, beyond tellerrand you can:

  • Get your tickets early – organisers need to plan and work with the incoming money
  • Check their sponsorship prospectus – often times sponsorship starts at a lower cost than you think and even the smallest packages help big times
  • Tell other people about it – there is no big marketing budget, so you, spreading the word, means the world

Especially the last part is an investment in the future of these events.

Thanks a lot to Julie, Remy and their team for this years joyful event and in my case also to Andy Davies, who made it possible that I could be part.

On my Way to Brighton

Before 2019 I visited Brighton every year for 13 years. Often more than just once a year. Events happening in Brighton are only a few these days. One of them is ffconf and I am looking forward to it!

Photos from border:none 2023

Last week Joschi Kuphal and I rand another edition of border:none, after we ran the very first edition in 2023. It was great fun, a really pleasure and absolutely wonderful. When I say “it”, I mean everything! Organising it with Joschi (and the team from tollwerk), listening to the mostly unexpected and very personal talks by all the speakers and chatting to and exchanging with the attendees. Thanks a lot for those days!

The Orpheum, theatre for border:none, shot from balcony and showing stage and the beautiful lamps
The Orpheum, venue of border:none – photos by Florian Ziegler

Florian Ziegler, who also always is part of beyond tellerrand, took some wonderful photos of the event.

This way, if you want to see impressions of how and what those two days in Nuremberg were

Photos from SmashingConf Antwerp 2023

In February Vitaly Friedman and I went on a one-day road trip to explore a few venues in Belgium in Ghent and Antwerp. Some of them were recommended to me, others I had found on the web. During the car ride we had lovely conversations about what we want for SmashingConf and how we think, a venue should be. We felt like back in 2012, when being out to find a venue for the very first SmashingConf in Freiburg.

We found the wonderful Bourla theatre in Antwerp, which directly stuck with us (and a similar beautiful theatre in Ghent – longer story why we decided against Ghent). We could imagine the people in this theatre and how an event, having its roots in a more technical sector, would fit in this lovely space.

It all worked out and close to 600 people came to the very first SmashingConf in Antwerp. The team did a fantastic job and everybody was happy and relaxed at the event.

Next to providing all the video tech for on stage and the live stream and co-running this with Amanda from our team, I took a few photos which might give you an impression on how it was.

This way to check the photos, please