A conference for people who create the internet
The first edition of the localhost conference happened on the 12th of October 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany. And we still owe you a few insights and also an officially wrap up of the event.
So our background is that we run two local tech meetups in the area of Düsseldorf for quite a while now (Web Engineering Düsseldorf and Webworker NRW). Both our meetups already supported each other in the past by sharing speakers or doing joint events. In Q1/2019 the idea came up to join forces and create something bigger to foster the local tech scene even more. The idea of a one-day, community-driven and non-profit conference with a particular focus on Web Engineering was born.
One important factor for us: everyone should be able to make it to the conference, be it with or without the support of the employer. This meant two things: affordable tickets and a timeslot on the weekend.
What we also wanted to take into account were diverse topics as well as diverse speakers, and having talks and workshops in parallel to cater for everyone's taste.
And by this, we started organizing the event…
The most important question to tackle when you run a conference is the one about the venue. As it happened, two of us worked for trivago, and when they mentioned our plans to them, trivago was very quick in offering us their headquarters as a potential venue. Which was great, because they already had so much in place that we could use: they had a beautiful cinema for the talks, two big meeting rooms for workshops, one chillout room to which we could stream all talks and a huge foyer with barista bar area as meeting point and as a place for having fruitful chats over a coffee or drink with other attendees. trivago also offered to open up their food court, the so-called "Culture Kitchen" for us on the weekend, covering lunch with vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
While the venue was amazing but not huge, and since we didn't want to overdo it with the first edition, we set an attendee limit of 110 people. We started selling tickets for € 30, only knowing the venue but without having a lineup or more details at hand than the vision itself.
The ticket price was based on a first estimation for upcoming costs like accommodation or travel costs for the speakers. To our big surprise, the tickets were all gone in just 12 days!
In total, we had 104 people attending the event. And it was great to see that not only members of the local community joined in, but also people from further away like Southern Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and even Finland!
Next up: @marvinhagemeist, who's job now is finishing off the crowd so that afterwards everyone's ready for lunch 😉— localhost conference (@localhost_conf) October 12, 2019
How will he fry those brains, you ask? He'll show some massive code golfing action taking place inside the @preactjs project. Not for the faint of heart! pic.twitter.com/eC3Eea2AEP
We started asking speakers in July and as it turned out we were pretty successful. Our lineup was incredible! We had the perfect mix of great speakers and trainers sourced from our local community, but also from abroad.
All talks ended up being recorded. There is just one we won't be able to release due to intellectual property reasons, and that would be the talk of Frank Reitberger. Sorry :( - All others were uploaded for your viewing pleasure over here: The localhost conference 2019 Playlist on YouTube.
Once more we'd like to use the opportunity and say Thank You! to Carolyn Stransky, Kirill Sivy, Büşra Köken, Peter Kröner, Rebecca Hill, Frank Reitberger, Martin Splitt, Kyle Simpson, Marvin Hagemeister, Matthias Endler, and Thomas Peitz. Without their effort and commitment, this event wouldn't have been possible.
And an extra Thank You! goes out to Matthias Endler, who edited and cut all videos!
As mentioned before, our conference was sponsored by trivago, a price comparison search engine for hotels and alternative accommodations. trivago offered provided us with facilities of their beautiful headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany. And they also paid for Kyle's travel and accommodation. Without their endless support, especially behind the scenes, this conference would not have been possible. Thank you, Lucie, Melinda, the staff from the barista bar, the culture kitchen and the media technicians - you rock!
One more sponsor was Google, as they covered all travel and accommodation costs of Martin. And they also covered the replacement cost of Martin's Pixel phone which got crushed by one of the cinema seats. Very sorry, Martin! 😕
After the conference, we asked for feedback and 36 people responded. This is what they had to say:
- 97.2% enjoyed their day
- 77.8% liked the mix of presentation and workshops, 19.4% would have preferred presentations only
- 77.8% liked the diversity of topics, 19.4% answered it was too front-end heavy
- 94.4% answered that the venue was perfect for this event
- 100% felt safe and comfortable during the event
- 73.6% answered with a good feeling about diversity at the event, 26.4% thought it could be improved (we think the same)
- 100% of the survey participants would recommend the conference to friends and colleagues
There were so few non-male persons visible and many (most?) of them were speakers. This is such a pity. How do we get out of that Würstchenparty-situation? I don't know.
The first edition of the localhost conference had a total budget of € 3,090 (based on sold tickets). Here is the cost breakdown of our total costs for this first event:
- Ticket handling and refunds: € 182.67
- Travel and accommodation: € 1,261.90
- Evening food and drinks: € 656.15
- Operations (shirts, adapter, speaker presents…): € 511.39
The remaining budget of roundabout € 470 serves as a reserve for whatever may come out of the 2019 tax-declaration.
We decided to continue with this format and are planning the second edition for Q3/Q4 2020.
We have a few improvements on our list for the next event. The most important one is to further improve the diversity of this event: more diverse speakers, more diverse attendees, and also a more diverse organization team as right now we are a bunch of white dudes only!
Another goal is to have a more balanced range of topics. The first localhost conference edition came out a bit too front-end heavy. We believe that the Web is shaped and operated by many more different actors so we will try to identify and include these, too.
If you have an interest in supporting us in any way, please reach out via email (hello (at) localhost (dot) engineering).
The date and other details for our next event are not set yet. Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter: @localhost_conf.