A new team for UIKonf!


A few weeks ago, my UIKonf partners Chris, Matt & I decided that we wouldn’t have the bandwidth to run & grow the event in 2015. I’m super happy that our blog post about our plans found the exact right response – a new team stepped forward to take over from us. We couldn’t be happier as this team is excellent, knows the event series inside out and just, well, gets it. We’ll all stay around to help out of course as we wouldn’t want to just drop out of the whole thing. It’s too good and too much fun to abandon the event, we just can’t be the leads.

Engin, Maxim & Sabine, you rock! This is going to be great!

More updates as soon, straight from the new team, at uikonf.com

Is there going to be a UIKonf 2015?


portfolio_uikonfBig news regarding UIKonf: We’re looking for a team or company to take it over from us. Crossposting this from the UIKonf blog:

It’s hard to believe that UIKonf happened just a few months ago. Thinking back to it, we’re still thrilled.
However, the summer break is over now and it’s time to look ahead. When we started talking about plans for next year one thing became increasingly obvious: Each of us will have plenty on their plates. So much so, that we don’t think we will find the time to run another full-blown UIKonf in 2015. In order to make it live up to our standards, we all would need to invest more time than we have during the next nine or ten months. (more…)

Launching UIKode, the easy way to find top notch iOS developers



A quick announcement about UIKode, a service I just launched with Chris Eidhof & Matt Patterson.


We get asked frequently if we know of iOS app developers we can recommend. Sometimes, we can help; often times, we can’t. At the same time, we know many developers are bombarded by potential client requests that don’t fit their profiles, or without actionable briefings. This leads to frustration on both sides. Even worse, it gets in the way of building amazing apps and services.

So we figured there had to be a better way to help clients find top notch, trusted iOS developers we can recommend, and make developers’ lives easier by helping them be found by the perfect client.

When we organized UIKonf, Berlin’s first English-language iOS developer conference, we became aware of just how fragmented Europe’s iOS developer scene is. There just wasn’t a central place where these kind of connection could be built.

So we combined our experiences and networks, and set out to to make it easy to find the best iOS developers.

The result is a service called UIKode. It helps you find the iOS developer you need.

How UIKode works

If you are looking for an iOS developer, you access our briefing form online. It’s a simple, powerful way to structure your project in a way to create a briefing for the devs.

All submissions are screened by us. If the submission looks sufficient for a developer to get a solid understanding of the project, we send it to our pool. (Should a submission be too vague, we send it back with a note and a few helpful pointers.) Every developer sees it, and can choose to contact the submitter to inquire for further information or negotiate a contract.

Then we get out of the way: All deals and agreements are directly between submitter and developer. Of course both sides are free to work together at any time in the future without getting us involved, too. There’s no nasty fine print.

When submitting a project proposal, you agree to pay for posting your briefing to the pool. (It’s EUR 249 + VAT.) You’ll get our invoice after your proposal has been sent to the pool.

The better, more detailed and more thoughtful the briefing and the more exciting the project, the higher the chance that you as a client will find a good dev. There is no guarantee you’ll find a developer, but the chance is very high. If we send the proposal back to you because it looks too vague, we won’t charge you of course. For developers, getting work through UIKode is free (but our pool is invite only).

Taking the time to fill out the briefing and paying our fee signals to the developers that you are serious about your project. For clients, it helps communicate their vision clearly and efficiently to future developers, thus increasing chances of a successful project launch.

For starters, we’ll run UIKode as a private beta. During that phase, as a thank you our beta testers won’t be charged unless they really found a developer through us. If you would like to join our private beta, please get in touch (info@uikode.com).

If you want to be notified when UIKode goes public, then sign up here.

Who is in the UIKode developer pool?

As a first step, building on our extensive network in the iOS dev scene — which is significant, particularly after running one of Europe’s biggest conferences in the field –, we hand-picked a small number of the best devs we know. The ones we absolutely trust to deliver good work on time. They are the seeding group of UIKode, its core if you will. From there, we will slowly and organically grow the network, based on our own and our initial pool members’ recommendations. This way, we can ensure you’ll be working with the best as we grow our pool.

If you’re a dev and you’d like more information about joining the pool, please sign up for updates here. We continuously scan applications, but we will be inviting new members slowly over time. It helps if you have a pool member who vouches for you.

Who is behind UIKode?

The team that brought you UIKonf. We all work in the field. As developers, strategists or consultants, we know both sides of the conversation. We’ve cut our teeth running many projects, so we know what we’re talking about.

Peter Bihr (@peterbihr / thewavingcat.com) Peter explores emerging technologies. He is an independent digital strategist, Program Director of the conference NEXT Berlin and co-founder of Makers Make. He frequently organizes events like UIKonf, Cognitive Cities Conference, Ignite Berlin or TEDxKreuzberg.

Chris Eidhof (@chriseidhof / eidhof.nl) Chris is an iOS developer who’s been building iOS apps since the first public release of the SDK. He organized user group meetings and conferences in The Netherlands, and is a regular speaker at tech meetups. He blogs about iOS development and other things at chris.eidhof.nl.

Matt Patterson (@fidothe / werkstatt.io) Matt is a long-time developer of web apps. He’s a regular speaker at conferences and user groups. He organised the first History Hackday and was one of the organizers of NoSQL Europe 2010. He also helps mentor the Ruby Monsters Rails Girls Berlin study group.

Get in touch

If you have questions regarding UIKode, if you’re interested in collaborating or would like to work with either of us directly on other projects, please get in touch. Our individual contact details are listed above. To get in touch about UIKode, please drop us a line to info@uikode.com or get in touch with me directly.


Check it out at UIKode.com.

UIKonf – What to expect?


UIKonf logo

Since last time I posted an update here on UIKonf – our independent conference of iOS developers and Berlin’s first English-language iOS dev conference – plenty has happened. We’ve really come along way. And by we I mean our small crew of just four people: My two friends, office coworkers and developers Matt Patterson and Chris Eidhof, our event manager Max Krüger, and I. That’s really all there is. There’s no backers, no investors, hardly any sponsors (we’re really, really picky there and want it to be financially self-sufficient).

And as is normal for independent conferences, it’s a lot of hustle and a lot of tearing our hair and a lot of fun. And boy, is it different from the bigger, more established events I’ve been involved in, in lots of interesting ways. But I digress, as I’m writing this post to give you an update on UIKonf and what’s happening there.

The big picture

We build UIKonf for serious iOS developers. So it’s all about in-depth talks, an intimate setting, and plenty of time to connect and talk and make.

And we put a particular focus on getting all the details right to make it the best event possible.

What does that mean concretely?

We also have a student discount & volunteer program, about half of our talks were vetted in an anonymous peer review process to foster diversity and help unknown speakers get the attention they deserve, we set up the first NSHipster pub quiz, and we’ll of course record the talks somehow to make them shareable.

The program in detail

We’re super psyched about the speaker line-up (and equally bummed that we actually had to turn away some kickass speakers, which is one of the hardest things to do as an organizer). Instead of embedding the full program here, let me just link to the program page that we’ll update along the way.

So what’s next?

It’s just a few more weeks to UIKonf, and oh my, it’s going to be some hectic weeks for me – before UIKonf, NEXT Berlin is at the top of my agenda as I’m program director there, and I’m also trying to find the time to get Makers Make up and running. But multi tasking under pressure is something I very much enjoy in some twisted way, so this isn’t a complaint. I’m excited for the next few weeks.

Help spread the word

If there’s one thing I’d ask you to do, it’d be great if you could help spread the word about UIKonf to people you think it’s relevant for. Any tweet, message or conversation helps. Thanks!

The best way to follow updates on UIKonf is by the way Twitter or, of course, UIKonf.com.

UIKonf: Some updates


UIKonf logo

Slowly, the pieces for UIKonf are falling into place. (Check UIKonf.com for updates.) As we’re just three people organizing it with support from our fantastic event manager Max, it’s very much a part time and low-budget project. It is, in other words, as indie as it gets, and that’s a good thing.

That explains why we haven’t communicated quite as much as we would have liked to. However, we haven’t been lazy – far from it:

  1. Tickets are up for grabs as of a few days ago. Supply is limited as we want to keep it intimate. Get yours here.
  2. As we got asked daily about the target audience for UIKonf, we sat down to phrase it as clearly as we could: UIKonf is for serious iOS developers: Great people, top-notch talks, an intimate setting, and space to think & hack. In other words, we’re building the conference with advanced iOS developers in mind. No intro-level talks; our speakers dive right into technical topics, and dive deep. We also have a small number of speakers to bring in an outside perspective, meaning they come from a design, strategy or service design context. We expect participants from all over Europe, and all talks will be in English.”
  3. We’re starting to announce the first speakers. We’ll go with roughly a 50/50 mix of curated speakers we invited, and of those qualified and voted in through our anonymous call for proposals (help to refine and vote). Why anonymous? Because as we learned from the good folks over at JSConf, it helps foster diversity.
  4. Speaking of diversity, we’re trying to set smart defaults and just, y’know, do the right thing. This includes things ranging from adopting the ADA Initiative’s anti-harassment policy to conscious choices for great coffee and all-vegetarian catering.
  5. We’re also trying to build UIKonf to be self-sustainable. That’s an important, big choice as it means we won’t chase any sponsors. If we happen to find a perfect match for a sponsor to contribute to the event without compromising the content, we’ll work it out, otherwise UIKonf will simply stay free of sponsoring. The idea is simple: We are convinced our very limited time is better spent on making the event as awesome as it can be for the participants than on cold-calling potential sponsors.
  6. The program beyond the main conference day is coming together, too: As things stand today, we’ll have a kick-off event the night before, with some short talks, drinks and pre-registration, we’ll have a party after the main conference and there’s going to be a hackday the day after where we’ll try to bring in some designers as well. So altogether we’re looking at somewhere near two and a half days of programming.

So that’s where we are right now. Let me know if there’s anything we’ve missed (I’m sure there is) or that we should be considering. Thanks!

Tools I Use (September 2012 edition)



As a geek, it’s one of my duties and privileges to occasionally give tech & gadget advice. Sometimes to companies, more often to friends and family. I try to collect that stuff online under the tag Tools I Use. Here’s a snapshot of some of the gadgets and tools I’m currently using, and why:

Macbook Air

I’m still on a Macbook Air of about two years of age, about to be replaced. It’s my main & only computer, and I’m on it all day, every day. The Air has enough power for almost anything I encounter day to day, and its super lightweight design makes more than up for the occasionally over-powered processor. Of course, an external screen is nice and recommended. More screen real estate is good.

Nexus S v Galaxy S3

I loved my Nexus S phone, pure Android goodness. But it’s old now, and about to die. Time to let it go.

After years on various Android phones, I was (once more) just about ready to jump ship and switch over to iPhone. Initially I went to Android because it was more open than Apple’s iOS platform, then admittedly because I didn’t want to admit to myself that Google’s competitor isn’t as open as it set out to be. Both platforms by now try to lock you into their ecosystems, and both by now have pretty mature ecosystems, too.

While I consider the hardware design, by now, more eye candy than the software & platform aspects, on the design front the new iPhone kicks the Samsung Galaxy S3’s ass any day. (Same goes for naming conventions, as the last sentence easily demonstrates.)

That said, back to platforms and software: My mail and calendar live at Google. I don’t like iTunes. And I prefer Google Maps over Apple’s less mature mapping tools. (I hear very good things about Nokia maps, but hey, you can’t have it all.) So any promise the iPhone can give me about better integrating iCloud, iTunes or Apple’s calendar and email sounds to me more like a bug than a feature. I understand why many people opt for the Apple-verse, but when the road forked way back when, with one road leading to Apple lock-in and the other leading to (slightly less total) Google lock-in, I made a choice, and now it seems not worth switching.

My new phone is the Samsung Galaxy S3, the current top-of-the-line Android phone, the flagship model.

To get a better hands-on feeling for iOS, I guess I’ll just get an iPad. Using both platforms in parallel will both maximize friction and transaction costs, and give me a good side by side comparison. It’s the price I have to pay for geeking out.


I don’t really use any camera besides my phone. I’m on the market for a super compact model, but for almost any given context the phone camera should be good enough.


For heavy duty, loud contexts (long plane rides, New York subway, etc) I use Audio Technica Quietpoint noise cancelling phones.

For the day to day, including sports and lots of conference calls, I’m quite happy with my Bose IE2 in-ears. Being in-ears, there’s lots of cable to get tangled up, but sound quality and fit are quite good. It’s not easy to find a good mix of headset and in-ears, and I’ve used them for the last nine months or so and am quite content with them.

Extra battery

On more intense days, my phone battery won’t make it through the day. So I frequently need some extra juice. A simple, if not particularly elegant solution is an external battery pack. I use one from TeckNet, which (like the name indicates) is a bit of a plasticky, cheap-ish affair. Yet, it works. And the current models actually look at least superficially like they might have improved in overall quality. Whichever brand you use, it’s good to have an extra charge of connectivity in your pocket.

Travel gear

  • Everyday backpack: Mission Workshop Rambler. Excellent, and just the right size and pocket layout for laptop & the necessary gadgets, extra jacket/sweatshirt, water bottle and all the cables, etc, that keep adding up.
  • Carry on: Rimowa IATA Cabin Trolley (two wheels). Hard to beat, and can take a beating. Heavy, but I like the aluminum finish. (The other materials are more light-weight.) Just big enough for 3-4 days of clothes and running shoes if you travel light.
  • Backpack for longer intense trips: Eagle Creek. Not sure which model, but I think it’s what they would now have updated to Rincon Vita. Light weight, huge volume, pretty much indestructible.

All of them are a bit on the pricy side, but are reliable, durable, feature a decent minimalistic design. I wouldn’t leave my home without them.

More recommendations

Helpful? If you’re into tool recommendations, I highly recommend Kevin Kelly’s fantastic Cool Tools.