When we started out with ThingsCon, we saw the conference as a starting point rather than a goal in itself. After two years, it has turned into a lively, engaged, fantastic community. Time to take stock and think about how to take it to the next level!
Update: For our updated, more concrete future plans and annoucements, please jump on over to the post "ThingsCon 2016 and beyond".
2016 will be a year of experiments
While we think the conference is an important building block for the ecosystem, it's not the only one. So in 2016 we will start a number of experiments, all with the goal of exploring the idea of ThingsCon as a platform. And not just any old platform, but one with a thriving, creative, kick-ass community at the core. This might include things like:
- ThingsCon Camp: A smaller, more intimate, very informal unconference-style hangout. Imagine a weekend get-together for 50-150 people with bunk beds and tents and BBQs and spontaneous sessions.
- More regional satellites: We currently have one regional satellite event, ThingsCon Amsterdam (sign up today!). Teams from all over the world have reached out about opportunities to run local events - in China, Brazil, Italy. So far we haven't had the bandwidth to explore these options, nor to really support these local groups. We were the bottleneck there, and we'd like to change that and see if we can get a global network of local ThingsCons off the ground.
- An ongoing conversation: We've focused our communications online mostly on Twitter and a low-frequency newsletter. That's a good start, but we think we can do better. To allow for an ongoing backchannel beyond the #thingscon hashtag on Twitter, we're starting a (semi-)public Slack channel for the ThingsCon community (invites go out to every ThingsCon participant who opted into emails as well as via the newsletter). Based on our experience with other similar groups, this can be super valuable as it allows access to a large group of very smart & dedicated (& fun!) people.
- Work with external partners: On top of our "core" efforts for ThingsCon, we'll start working with external partners who might profit from the experience in and around ThingsCon. How and with who we have not yet decided, but we have been having conversations with good, responsible organizations with values that align with those of our community, where an exchange would be mutually beneficial. Think digital consumer rights groups, startup incubation programs or social entrepreneurship organizations.
We will also look into other opportunities like an ongoing academy program, variations of smaller community events, a publication or maybe an accelerator program.
So that's where our head is at the moment. Nothing's decided as of yet. We're curious to hear what you think!