Notes

To My Mother

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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

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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!

⇾ Let’s Reinvent the Wheel – Vasilis van Gemert

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Vasilis van Gemert has been one of the speakers last week at border:none. He has written about the gist of his talk, with which he was closing the event. He closes his write-up with the following paragraph …

In ten years I would love to do another talk at the next border:none conference. And I would love to do a very happy talk then. About the incredible tools that we’ve been using in the previous ten years that truly let you design all layers of the web: the visible, the invisible, the UX layers. I want to talk about all the people with disabilities who’ve joined our design teams and started designing for truly accessible UX. And I would love to show all the incredibly beautiful and fantastic websites you’ve all been making on our wonderfully weird web. Please make it so. I don’t want to switch to a different industry.

That is a great wish and idea. I support this and am looking forward to his talk in October 2033!

⇾ Visit: Let’s Reinvent the Wheel – Vasilis van Gemert

⇾ border:none 2023 – Tom Arnold

Tom Arnold, who was attending border:none 10 years ago also, has written a nice recap of his experience last week at border:none in Nuremberg. Thank you Tom!

⇾ Visit: border:none 2023 – Tom Arnold

⇾ border:none 2023 – Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith, one of the speakers at last weeks border:none, has written about the event Joschi and I organised. Thanks for that and thanks for being part of this little adventure.

At the end of the event there was some joking about returning in 2033. I love the idea of a conference that happens once every ten years. Count me in!

Well … see you in 2033! ;)

⇾ Visit: border:none 2023 – Jeremy Keith

⇾ No Borders – Matthias Ott

Matthias Ott has written about our boder:none Event on his blog. Thanks a lot. Joschi and I had a great time running it!

⇾ Visit: No Borders – Matthias Ott

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

More Reasons Why I Run Events

I remember what some people “advised” when I started to run my Berlin edition for the very first time back in 2014, instead of growing the one in Düsseldorf.

I received feedback from perhaps much smarter business people than myself, who suggested that I should expand my original event, the Düsseldorf one, into a larger one with more attendees and sell more tickets for that one, which was already popular. They argued that it would involve roughly the same amount of effort as now and not be twice as labor-intensive as starting another edition in Berlin.

Well, that might be correct. Maybe. However, I trusted my instincts and considered what I truly envisioned for the event. I wasn’t pursuing it solely for monetary gain, but for the people. I wanted to create something where I could personally greet every single attendee, and more importantly, where people felt they would enjoy the diverse talks and topics and have the opportunity to meet interesting, kind, and lovely individuals over the two days of the event.

My aim was to encourage them to look beyond their own “edge of the plate” (which in German is referred to as “tellerrand”) and inspire them to be open-minded, exploring the many exciting things that can be uncovered through conversations and interactions with others – mostly unplanned and randomly.

When this became impossible during the pandemic, it was a truly disheartening period for me. I understand that everyone undoubtedly faced challenging times. For many, their experiences might have been far more difficult than what my family and I had to endure. Yet, for me, the one thing I had discovered and was passionate about was suddenly taken away.

Now, I am able to pursue “this” once again. I can host my events and extend invitations for people – you? – to attend. I believe that such events and face-to-face interactions hold more value than one might initially think and cannot be replaced by online events and meetings. While it is not easy these days to spread the word – also as social media is more or less dead – and organise these events, if you are curious and wish to join me on this adventure to explore the true worth of these gatherings, please do so! You never know whom you gonna meet maybe and what your next thing is going to be, you get excited about ;)