2016 in keywords
Wrapping up an eventful year
While I feel the need to write down some of the things that happened in 2016, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't find the time en bloc for doing that in the necessary verbosity, so I decided to quickly jot down some keywords first and flesh it out with details and photos later on. Please bear with me — this is work in progress.
For me personally, 2016 was extremely event-driven. I initiated and organized quite a lot of stuff besides (or sometimes instead of) my regular day job I guess. Bringing people together really became a dear hobby and brought me a lot of joy. So it's likely you can expect more of that in 2017.
In January I went to Iceland in order to meet Brian Suda, brainstorm some ideas and collect footage for our conference project Material 2016. Returning to Reykjavík after 13 years was a truly special experience. Many things have changed, of course, but everything still felt strangely familiar. My little Icelandic has become very rusty but I totally enjoyed listening to its sound again after so many years.
When we went skiing over Christmas 2015, it was the first time on skis for me after almost 30 years. Kumiko worked as a ski instructor for disabled children in Japan many years ago but had no practice for a long time as well. We thought, however, that we had to give Umi the chance to make some experience herself and it turned out that she really loves it. So we joined my brother's family and friends and went skiing for a second time in February. Although I didn't ski myself all the time I really enjoyed our stay. Umi made further progress and even started to ski high up on the mountains together with us.
Material Conference Kickstarter
Brian and I decided to create a Kickstarter for our joint conference project "Material", so we needed to create a video for that. We were greatly supported by Markus and I'm really quite pleased by the outcome! The project was very ambitious and we tried to do it without any sponsors for the first attempt. It turned out quickly that the biggest problem will be the rather high costs for the attendees to get to (and stay in) Iceland. As a goal we aimed for 100 attendees minimum, up to 180.
In the end, our Kickstarter failed with "only" 54 backers, most of them out of our immediate personal network. But still, we are very thankful for this experience and will definitely make another attempt, be it in 2017 or 2018. We are currently evaluating our findings an figuring out a (better) strategy for the next time. Also, to be honest, I felt kinda relieved when the Kickstarter failed as there were so many other things going on at that time as well (and it would even come worse as it turned out later ...). Anyway, count on us — we will be back! :)
Ever since I started organising events I always dreamed of my own little event space to run small to mid-sized meetups and workshops. When we moved our office to our current location in April 2015, my wishes seemed to become true and we gained a lot of additional space that we could use for this. And then, as it always does, literally nothing happened. It took me months to finally become active and set myself a deadline: Inspired by some nice conversations at the Nightlybuild Conference 2015, I decided to lauch a CoderDojo in Nuremberg and settled for the Nürnberg Web Week 2016 as the first event date. Of course the first Dojo should take place at our own space, so in early 2016 there was finally an urgent need to do something about the venue.
For several weeks I spent the nights and weekends with grinding, filling, sawing, carpentering, painting, wiring, sewing and so on — and delivered literally just in time. Thanks to everyone who lended me his helping hand during these weeks, and thanks a lot to my wife and daughter for their patience — it's really huge what we achieved! In November 2016 we named the space tollwerkstatt and plan to further professionalise everything. There are already several events scheduled for 2017 — stay tuned.
Nuremberg Web Week 2016
It was the 4th Nuremberg Web Week in total and the 3rd one we were highly involved with as one of the main initiators. According to our time recordings, me and my team spent about 1700 hours (at least) with preparations as of June 2015 — that's about one average full-time position. You probably could say it's a bit of an effort, unpaid, but we are not the only ones putting a lot of passion into this and I'm quite convinced that it all pays off in some way or another. It's really mind-blowing to see what has been growing over the last couple of years and how this region is developing. The first Web Week started out in 2012 with "only" 12 events — in 2016 we had 58 of them, rising tendency! Just imagine, the opening event "Web Monday" had more than 1000 guests which is — for all we know — the world record for this event format.
It's so awesome to be repeatedly part of this although it costs a lot of energy each time (and also hit us hard with some late effects in 2016). I'm already very excited how the Web Week 2017 will develop — it's going to be kinda challenging for me personally as it will partly overlap with the beyond tellerrand conference and I will have to miss one or the other ...
Umi is 5 years old now and of course she's interacting with modern technology on a daily basis. In fact, I think she's really good at it. As she's growing up bilingual, modern media has always played a key role for her and is one of the primary ways to keep her in touch with Japanese language and culture.
In 2015 I was thinking a lot about how I could guide and help her with learning about dealing with these things. Instead of just leaning back and watching her grow up with all the devices and possibilities — or even protect her away from it as some others do — I wanted to play an active role and join her on this trip. After all, working with modern technology and the web is what I'm doing myself all day long. So when Sebastian Golasch told me about his role as a mentor in the CoderDojo Cologne, and when I started to read about CoderDojos in general, I instantly knew that this is something I simply had to bring to Nuremberg as well.
I began to set up a website, pitched the project at two local events and within days I had gathered a handful of ambitious tech enthusiastic — local people I had not known before — who wanted to become mentors of the first hour. Our very first Dojo was scheduled for Sunday, April 10th, and so became the inofficial kick-off of the Nuremberg Web Week 2016. The 50 seats we offered (including mentors and helpers) were booked out 2 weaks before the event and the feedback and public perception was simply overwhelming. Who would have thought that this would be so successful right off the start?
In the meantime, we successfully ran 4 Dojos, our mentor family has grown to the size of 17 and the fifth Dojo scheduled for next week was booked out 2 months in advance. We just self-hosted a successful crowdfunding campaign and are considering to increase the frequency of our Dojos as the demand is still rising. The Nuremberg Web Week will have an explicit focus topic "Children & Youth" as of 2017, which is partly the success of our first Dojo. But what I personally like the most about all that: The Dojos really connect people. I've seen friendships grow out of our gatherings and I'm super thankful for the chance to meet and work with all these great kids and people.
Accessibility Club #3
IndieWebCamp Nürnberg 2016
IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf 2016
beyond tellerrand Düsseldorf
Homebrew Website Club Nürnberg
IndieWeb Hack Day Nürnberg
Umi's loft bed
Reasons to be Creative
Failed project competition
Accessibility Club #4 + #5
beyond tellerrand Berlin
Take A Seat — CoderDojo Nürnberg Crowdfunding
Open Source Side Project Week
2107 — ideas, plans & resolutions
100 Days Of Open Source
Inspired by the 100 Days Of IndieWeb challenge I'm taking it on slightly differently and commit myself to doing 100 Days Of Open Source instead. More precisely, I will send at least one meaningful commit per day to any of my own or somebody elses public repository on Github or elsewhere. I would love to fully accept the IndieWeb challenge "as is" but I know I wouldn't be able to make it. On the one hand, there will simply be too many non-IndieWeb (but still Open Source) things that I will have to do during the next 100 days so that I cannot guarantee that I will have time for my IndieWeb stuff on a daily basis. On the other hand, it's one essential part of the challenge to post a little progress message on your personal website every day. However, one of my main goals for 2017 is to get rid of my current personal website and replace it with its next generation that will be based on apparat. While I doubt that this will happen during the next 100 days, I'm sure there will be days where my website won't work at all and I won't be able to post on it (not to mention that I'm not motivated to do this using my current website).
This is, by the way, not the first time I'm doing this — although it's the first time I'm telling anyone about it. Inspired by Jeremy's 100 words a day I silently started a very private "one-commit-a-day challenge" around November 2015. I hung on for far more than 200 days and willingly ended it sometime in August. Well, I'm in the mood for it again, so I officially announce to take part in the challenge as of today. I already started this morning with improving the documentation of micrometa