What happened so far in 2016

As we ease into the summer, and the second half of the year, this is a good time to look back and see what has happened so far in 2016: What worked, what needs work, and where we are headed. At the beginning of the year, we laid out in our blog post what our plans and goals for 2016 are.

Concretely, one of our main goals is to foster and grow the global ThingsCon community. After all, ThingsCon isn't just an event series. We consider it a platform for change, a contributor to a values-driven global movement:

We understand ThingsCon contributing to a movement of practitioners who champion shared values: openness, sharing, diversity & inclusivity, sustainability and collaboration in all things “connected” – from products and services to IoT, from consumer goods to smart cities and more.

Currently in IoT, not all voices are heard equally, and not all services and products are designed in a way that is human-centric and with the public good in mind.

We believe that a network of practitioners working with aligned values can change this. Through networked action, we can make and advocate for technology that is a force for good. Together with you, we can collectively have a meaningful impact on the lives of hundreds of millions, one product or policy at a time.

With that in mind, how can we foster our global community and promote these values? We believe that the key to doing that are our local community hosts, the rock stars that initiate and host events in their towns. This is where the conversations happen, especially in the early stages. They continue on Slack and Twitter. Then, once or twice a year, it's good to get everybody in a room for a larger conference.

Half a year after officially kicking off the community event program, things have evolved at a pace we found mind-blowing: Already we've seen local events this year, and are aware of at least another half dozen, and the speed and frequency is picking up.

Global ThingsCon events map as of mid-2016.

These local events range from small meetups with 5 people to full-blown conference with a couple of hundred participants.

We are particularly are happy to see that the mix of formats seems to be working out well. Between Meetups (short, informal after-work events with a talk or two), Salons (half-day events with a workshop and a talk or two), and Conferences (all-day or multi-day events) seems to offer enough flexibility for local teams to work with.

The fantastic team of ThingsCon Amsterdam—Iskander Smit, Marcel Schouwenaar, Monique van Dusseldorp—have been pioneering all of this. They have fostered the most active community of all, and have managed to put ThingsCon on the map big time in and around the Netherlands. We cannot thank them enough, and will continue to do what we can to support them in their mission.

In addition to the local events, we continue to improve our ongoing communications. Concretely:

  • We started publishing our newsletter fortnightly, usually with a mix of updates, event announcements and a few articles we found worth reading. (Sign up via on the homepage.)
  • A Slack channel for the community at large as well as local community hosts is constantly growing. (Request your invitation by sending us your email address to info at thingscon dot com with the subject line "ThingsCon Family".)
  • On Twitter, the hashtag #thingscon is where the conversation happens. As is the nature of event-driven conversations, the intensity of the conversation ebbs and flows there, with peaks leading up to and during events.

We're also hosting a meeting of our local community hosts as well as looking into a trip to Shenzhen, a journey to the cradle of things; more on that soon.

The second half of the year, we'll continue supporting local hosts run great local events. We'll also be planning ThingsCon 17. We have a few ideas on how to shake things up a little. That will require some resources we don't yet have. So we're actively looking into types of funding, as well as the most interesting, appropriate locations. Again, more soon.

We hope you enjoyed the first half of the year as much as we did, and to see you soon at a ThingsCon event near you!