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17 Jun

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Interaction16 updates

June 17, 2015 | By |

interaction16 header

Over in Helsinki, the team has been working tirelessly to launch a new website for Interaction16, the annual global gathering of the IxDA community which I’m humbled to remotely co-chair with Sami Niemelä.

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16 Jun

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Thinking about the ThingsCon ecosystem

June 16, 2015 | By |

We just had the second edition of ThingsCon in Berlin a few weeks ago, and are still busy wrapping up lots of loose ends. We’re also getting to the point where it’s time to take a step back and look at where we stand. This is the first of (most likely) a longer series of snapshots of exploring these questions.

Before going any further, I’d like to stress that the following are just some of my personal thoughts to help me structure and keep them for later. This blog post is not a preview of what we’re currently planning, nor does it necessarily reflect the team’s thinking. The four of us – Max, Emu, Simon and I – are thinking hard about where to take ThingsCon, but we haven’t made any decisions yet, and all relevant announcements are going to happen over at ThingsCon.com (which is about to get a little relaunch, too). This, right here, is a snapshot of my mental #thingscon notepad, and nothing more.

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11 Jun

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Evaluation time: What did participants think of ThingsCon?

June 11, 2015 | By |

We always want to learn what works for you at ThingsCon and what could be improved. We hear so through many channels, from more formal emails to quick off-the-cuff remarks during the event. After the conference, we emailed the participants asking to fill out an evaluation form.

By now, the results are in, and they are overwhelmingly positive.

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11 May

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ThingsCon 2015 is a wrap

May 11, 2015 | By |

And what a weekend week we had. It was exhilarating and inspiring. And also quite humbling to meet and debate with all these amazing, smart, passionate folks that made the trip to Berlin.

I’ll be processing these last few days for a while, but there are some people that stood out to me, that were particularly memorable.

The theme that emerged at this year’s ThingsCon, the focus on building meaningful, considerate products.

It was great to see how the whole field around #iot, connected services and hardware evolved and matured within just the year. ThingsCon reflected this by moving the debate from “what can we build & how” to “what should we build, and how can we make a positive impact”.

One focal point of this debate was the launch of version 1 of the #iotmanifesto (iotmanifesto.com) that was prepared a fantastic group of participants largely from the Netherlands (including Frolic Studio, The Incredible Machine, Beyond.io, Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken, TU Delft), and then went through several iterations during ThingsCon.

The #iotmanifesto comes from a similar background and impulse as the Declaration of the OpenIOT Assembly that I was involved in a few years ago, and I’m sure we’ll hear much more about this. It’s an important debate to have, and now’s the time.

Once more, the diverse mix of people from all kinds of backgrounds (both professionally and regionally) was truly humbling. That said, this time ’round there were certainly more designers than last year among both the speakers and the participants: Are more designers getting into this field? Are more roles re-framed under the label “design”?

I found countless moments of inspiration, provocation, or fresh thinking: Bruce Sterling’s and Warren Ellis’ keynotes come to mind, the moment several people improvised tiny (purposefully crappy) robots for a competition, debates of how to utilize tech for development cooperation for communities in poor countries. The serious debates around impact next to light jokes and playful interactions, learning by making next to more conceptual experimentation.

As so often, the truly priceless moments happened during smaller group conversations on the edges, in the hallways, in the beer harden or a bar. This is where bonds are forged, collaborations come to life, friendships start. Contributing to this even in the tiniest of ways is a hugely rewarding experience.

Thanks for everything. The team is working on some proper write-ups, videos of talks are being prepared for release online. I think it’s safe to say this won’t be the last you heard of ThingsCon.

20 Apr

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18 days to ThingsCon

April 20, 2015 | By |

Over on the @ThingsCon twitter account I just sent out a tweet:

T minus 18 days to go! Sign up today at http://thingscon.com

Eighteen days to the event. And even though there are still (always) tons of loose ends, we’re now down to the polish. The program kicks ass, the speaker lineup is truly humbling, the team is well organized.

It is so much easier this year. Almost indescribably so. Last year, same time, I was heavily involved in not one but three events that would all go down almost back to back: NEXT, which I curate; UIKonf, which I co-chaired that year; and on top of that, ThingsCon, which we had just launched that year on short notice ]and completely bootstrapped.

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19 Jan

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#NEXTYEAR 2015

January 19, 2015 | By |

NEXT YEAR 2015 Image: SinnerSchrader

SinnerSchrader, the good folks behind the conference NEXT Berlin (where I’m a program director), just published a bit of an outlook for some of the most relevant emerging technologies for the coming year.

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22 Dec

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Featured in BrandEins

December 22, 2014 | By |

BrandEins is one of these rare publications that – starting the moment it appeared – made the media landscape a little better just by virtue of being there. Strictly speaking, it’s a German economics magazine, but that doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like the stories behind economic notions, entrepreneurs, ideas, all told and explained with core values and a bit of an attitude.

BrandEins January 2015 issue

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