Sabine, Maxim and I took over the responsibility of organizing UIKonf from Chris, Peter and Matt late 2014. 2015 was the first UIKonf we organized and it was an amazing learning experience for all of us. Being first time organizers, we tried to stick to the original team’s playbook as much as we could. The only significant change we did was the introduction of the social events on the sunday before the conference. We can’t thank the UIKonf community enough for the trust you placed in us and made UIKonf 2015 a success.
UIKonf 2015 went by in an adrenaline induced blur and 2016 was the first time we had the slightest idea what we were doing. We took the feedback we received from the previous year to heart and revamped our double blind talk proposal system, doubled down on social events, tried to use them to raise some money for charity and last but not the least added live streaming and live captioning. To be honest, we were slightly worried if we’d sell any tickets at all if we live stream all talks but the UIKonf community proved our worries completely unfounded by buying all the tickets: UIKonf 2016 sold out about 2 months before the conference.
Which brings me to our biggest problem in the last two years: capacity. UIKonf called Heimathafen home since the beginning in 2013. Heimathafen is a great venue with its unique charm which contributed to UIKonf’s character but unfortunately it has very limited space surrounding the main conference hall, which was the limiting factor on how many people we could accommodate for UIKonf. We are fully aware that increasing the capacity of a conference like UIKonf runs the risk of diluting the friendly, open and inclusive spirit but we believe it is also important to make the event accessible to more people in order to increase diversity.
That’s why we have been talking to various venues in Berlin to get more space for new ideas and a more diverse group of great people. We quickly found out that as the event venues get bigger they tend become standard issue corporate event locations with the expected lack of charm and the very unreasonable increase in costs. However, we are extremely happy to report that our new location Kosmos Berlin hits a sweet spot: we are going to be able to realize new ideas and have more great people and hold UIKonf in a special location originally built in the 60’ies as a movie theater in the communist East Berlin.
We are very excited for UIKonf 2017, which also happens to be the fifth time UIKonf takes place, and all fired up to make UIKonf more open, more friendly, more accessible, more inclusive and more diverse.
The tickets are already available and include three upgrades for the social events, the welcome party and the unconference day for free. We also added a new option of spouse tickets: It is a 99€ upgrade to your ticket which entitles your significant other to have access to all UIKonf activities.
We’ll be announcing the details of our first speakers, the call for proposals process and further details soon…