Staying humble makes me more happy

When I started beyond tellerrand back in 2011, I had no idea how people will follow this idea and join me for an event, I was about to create on my own and partly for my own as well. I invited speakers, I really liked to see and they luckily said yes to come and speak. Then I invited people to join me watching them speak and luckily people did. I remember the feeling I had when I started selling tickets back then: excitement, anxiety, doubt and self-doubt. Every single ticket sale gave me a kick and I was tremendously happy that one more person liked what I was doing and wanted to be there.

I was successfully running beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf for three years, when I decided to add Berlin as a second city. I remember how scared I was about it. Was it the right decision to do this? Does it mean just because Düsseldorf was working, Berlin would as well? I remember asking Eric Spiekermann, when he was speaking in Düsseldorf in May 2014, if he thinks that Berlin would work. He answered something like ”Marc, why shouldn’t it? Don’t be stupid! When I tell someone I was about to speak here, everybody just had lovely words for your event. Of course it will work” – I mean, I wish I had Eric’s confidence. But the first edition in Berlin was a huge success and sold out in the first year already. So did all the following shows in Berlin and Düsseldorf.

Somewhen last year I was looking at the German map. I also checked where attendees in Berlin and Düsseldorf come from. I thought it would be nice to also add a show in the southern part of Germany. But most importantly I was listening to my inner voice, which was telling me that this could work. At the same time Malte from Microsoft was asking, if I could imagine doing something in Munich. So I leaked this idea to a few people and it seemed everybody liked it – apart from asking me if I’d be crazy to run a third event on my own. I thought about time and place and have chosen Munich in January. Here is a little blog post about why I run it in January in Munich, as I don't want to go into detail in this post here.

I knew that it would be a bit hard to run #btconf Munich at this particular time. Right after the new year is born and so short after Christmas. Also Berlin is just two months before and that means I’d have at least 4 months were the organisation of Berlin and Munich would overlap heavily. Self-doubt grew. Was it the right thing to do? Am I selling myself and the event out now? Will speakers come so short after Christmas and so early in the year? Will I get the money together to run it, as Munich is an expensive place to run an event in. I don’t know and I still, to this moment, don’t know.

Then I announced tickets sales for Munich and posted the blog post I mentioned above. The feedback I got to this was so lovely that I got a confidence boost and I was looking forward now. Even if it turns out to be too much for me with three and so close to Berlin or if the experience won’t be the same as in Düsseldorf for Berlin, I would try this now and decide after the first one, if I do another one. People who know me know, that I will work my ass off to make this event a welcoming and nice to attend event anyways.

Days passed and over time, the doubt grew again. Was I doing the right thing? Now, today, was the day, when the tickets for Munich went live. Like a little child with shaking legs, I was sitting in front of my computer to wait for 10:00 when the tickets would be available. The early bird tickets for Berlin and for Düsseldorf usually sell in under a minute, but I wasn’t expecting this for Munich, as I never expect for the other two cities either. Every time I am equally excited to see the tickets going live. I got myself another cup of coffee and was excited to see what would happen.

Finally the tickets went on sale and all early bird tickets went in just under 20 minutes. As said, I was not sure what to expect, but the fact, that so many people already reserved their seat for Munich made me very happy. Now regular passes are on sale and are also selling good.

I never expect any of my events to sell out or the early birds to sell quick. Not expecting it protects me from being disappointed. It also makes me more happy to stay humble like this, if then in the end tickets sell quick or an event sells out, because I am very happy to then seeing this happen. Yes, I am also proud of what I achieved so far with beyond tellerrand. Especially as a one-man-band. Every single conversation at an event, where people have lovely words about beyond tellerrand, make me absolutely happy. As happy as for the first event. For me – as well as for many other people, which I know, who run events – these personal chats, where people tell me they enjoyed it a lot or heard so many good things about it and want to come one day, are the actual payment. When people spread the word about it, that is what event organisers like me need and what has so much value, as we all don’t have a huge budget to advertise our events somewhere. Again: I also never expect this and therefore I can’t be disappointed if people don’t, but the more I am happy if people do.

So please: stop me, if you see me running around at any event and let’s have a chat. Thanks a lot!