A list of conferences for indies: independent app & game developers, digital nomads, freelancers, bloggers, writers, creatives & makers.
Indies are independent, self-employed, run their own small business,
are bootstrapped, and distribute their creations independently. These
are conferences for anyone who doesn't have a boss, is non-conformist
and unconventional, and lives outside the mainstream.
If that sounds like you, these are the conferences for you.
(25 - 26 July 2018, New York, NY, USA)
Conference dedicated to the Laravel PHP framework. In 2018, speakers will include Ryan Holiday (author of The Obstacle Is the Way), Jason Fried (founder of Basecamp), Samantha Geitz (senior developer at Tighten) and Evan You (creator of Vue.js). Past speakers have included Justin Jackson and Jeffrey Way (of Laracasts).
(26 - 27 July, Adelaide, Australia)
Australian version of the UK's Indie-Con for independent musicians.
TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) Europe
(26 - 28 July 2018, Ostrava, Czechia)
European version of the world's largest conference for travel bloggers, writers and travel industry people working with social media.
(2 - 5 August 2018, Helsinki, Finland)
Summer edition of the longest running Demoscene event in the world. Alongside its now popular eSports events & LAN party, Assembly focuses on the intersection of art & technology, primarily through 'Demos' (short electronic artworks).
(9 - 12 August 2018, Orlando, FL, USA)
Held at The Westin Lake Mary in Florida, Indie Bookfest is a celebration of indie authors. Lots of conference sessions about the craft of writing, how to promote your work and find new fans with business and reader funnels, and jumping on newer trends like audiobooks.
DIY Musician Conference
(24 - 26 August 2018, Nashville, Tennessee, USA)
Conference for indie musicians & songwriters run by CD Baby. Past speakers include Jack Conte (CEO of Patreon) and Bob Boilen (host of NPR's All Songs Considered).
(26 - 29 August 2018, Denver CO, USA)
Regarded by many as the best Mac, iOS, tvOS and watchOS developer conference for indies. Past speakers have included Dave Wiskus, Jean MacDonald & Janie Clayton.
(26 - 28 August 2018, Melbourne, Australia)
Run by RMIT, a conference for Apple developers on Mac & iOS and watchOS devices. This year's keynotes are by Quentin Zervaas (maker of TransitTimes & Streaks for Apple Watch) and Michael Shaw of Savage Interactive (makers of Procreate).
(29 - 31 August 2018, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
European edition of the conference dedicated to the Laravel PHP framework. Speakers include Taylor Otwell, Freek van der Herten and Joe Ferguson.
(4 - 5 September 2018, Malmö, Sweden)
"Exploring Digital Complexity". 2017 speakers include Chris Grantham from Ideo, while past speakers have included Derek Sivers, Aral Balkan and Anita Sarkeesian. Set in Malmö, one of the most beautiful startup cities in the world.
MBS Xojo Conference: Germany
(5 - 8 September 2018, Munich, Germany)
A two-day conference for Xojo programmers, a cross-platform Visual-Basic-like language used by many solo developers. In addition to presentations, the conference also offers optional 1-day training sessions, in English or German.
TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) America
(11 - 13 September 2018, Finger Lakes Wine Country, NY, USA)
North American edition of the conference for travel bloggers and freelance travel writers.
iOS Dev UK
(3 - 6 September 2018, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK)
UK based iOS development conference.
Freecon: The Freelance Conference
(10 - 14 September, Austin, TX, USA)
US conference for freelancers. Topics include refining your gig pitch, selling for introverts, mastering Upwork and growing while staying a solo freelancer. Speakers include Michelle Schulp, Shawn Hesketh, Amy Segreti and Starley Murray.
DNX Global: Digital Nomad Conference
(22 - 23 September 2018, Lisbon, Portugal)
The conference for digital nomads & online entrepreneurs. Speakers in previous years included Pieter Levels (Nomad List), Derek Sivers (CD Baby founder), Jana Schuberth (Alivers), Conni Biesalski (Planet Backpack), Natalie Sisson (The Suitcase Entrepreneur), and Dave Cornthwaite (SayYesMore).
Business Of Software USA
(1 - 3 October 2018, Boston, MA, USA)
US version of the conference for anyone running a software business. Past speakers included David Heinemeier Hansson, Patrick McKenzie, Laura Roeder of LKR, Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot, and Gail Goodman of Constant Contact.
(14 - 19 October 2018, San Diego, California, USA)
Five days of Django and Python tutorials, talks and sprints.
(17 - 18 October 2018, San Francisco, USA)
Hosted by Twilio. Learn how to integrate SMS, VoIP and two-factor authentication into your apps with their stack. Speakers in 2016 included Patrick McKenzie (@patio11), Leah Culver from Dropbox, Michael Kadin from Uber and Joseph Wilk from Soundcloud.
(11 - 13 October 2018, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Conference & festival of independent video games from around the world.
(2018 to be confirmed, usually mid October, Chicago, IL, USA)
About the business (not the tech) of running a business developing iOS & Mac software.
Indie Romance Convention
(10 - 13 October 2018, Lebanon, TN, USA)
For indie romance authors, aspiring authors, readers, cover artists, editors, bloggers, and fans of the romance genre. Tickets limited to 40 authors and 55 readers.
(19 - 20 October 2018, Paris, France)
Conference supporting independent game developers and promoting indie games. Speakers in 2017 included Cliff Harris (Cliffski) with "How Not To Go Bankrupt: Surviving 20 Years As An Indie Game Developer", Cassandra Khaw with "Do The Damn Time", Lottie Bevan with "Open Production On Sunless Sea And Sunless Skies", and Paolo Pedercini's talk "Indiepocalypse Now: Mad Maxing The Attention Economy In The Age Of Cultural Overproduction".
Creative At Heart
(11 - 14 November 2018, Bermuda Run, NC, USA)
A conference for creative women who are small business owners: especially photographers, designers, hand-letterers, planners, but all creatives types are welcome.
BookBaby Independent Authors Conference
(2 - 4 November 2018, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Writing conference dedicated to helping independent authors publish successfully.
(2018 to be confirmed, usually mid November, Lisbon, Portugal)
European version of the conference for self-funded & single founder software companies. Speakers include Mike Taber and Rob Walling from Startups For The Rest Of Us.
Perth Games Festival
(2018 to be confirmed, usually late November, Perth, Australia)
A free showcase of locally made indie video games (plus chiptunes and card games), run by the team at Lets Make Games.
Chaos Computer Congress
(2018 to be confirmed, usually late December, Leipzig, Germany)
One of the world's leading events on tech security, DIY hardware, how computing affects society, and electronic art. Great for embracing the DIY indie ethic. Hosted by the Chaos Computer Club for over 30 years.
Ludicious: Zürich Game Festival
(31 January - 3 February 2019, Zürich, Switzerland)
Switzerland's biggest game event, with a focus on indie games. Their games business track in previous years featured presentations from Eric Zimmerman of Gamelab (makers of Diner Dash) and Koh Kim from Google Play Games Development.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid-February, Wellington City, New Zealand)
World class speakers on design, accessibility, usability, & web standards and online culture. Past speakers have included Amanda Palmer, Cory Doctorow, Michael Lopp, Amy Hoy, Peter Sunde and Matthew Inman (aka The Oatmeal).
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early February, Miami Airport Hilton, FL, USA)
Business and technology conference for global business travellers. Topics include how to optimize frequent flyer points and hit 10 million miles faster, how to downsize/rightsize 85% cheaper by using teleconferencing, and "What Is Glocal". Attended by luminaries such as Ryan Bingham, author of "What's In Your Backpack". The 2010 conference included a surprise performance by Young MC.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late February, Melbourne, Australia)
Conference for Swift and Apple developers. Past speakers included Matt Comi of Big Bucket Software, the indie company behind iOS games The Incident, Space Age & Stagehand.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early March, Darmstadt, Germany)
A conference for small self-funded software companies (aka microISVs), with a focus on meeting people rather than on the talks. Run by Christoph Engelhardt (aka @ITEngelhardt)
The Makers Summit
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid March, Greenville SC, USA)
Run by the Makers Collective, and aimed at indie makers in the art, craft & design communities. The conference includes 3 workshops, an Indie Craft Parade, and free consultations with legal, accounting & marketing experts.
GDC: Game Developers Conference
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid March, San Francisco CA, USA)
Mostly for bigger game developers, but also includes the Indie Games Festival (IGF) for indie developers. The 2017 edition also included a Virtual Reality Developers Conference.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late March, London, UK)
A conference for iOS and Swift developers.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early April, Saarbrücken, Germany)
The world's biggest pure Demoscene party.
Games Week Berlin
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late April, Berlin, Germany)
Conferences for gamers, indie developers, industry professionals and Let's Players, with over 15,000 attendees in 2017. Includes dedicated tracks for Unreal developers, industry professionals, and for women seeking to build their career in games & IT.
European DIY Musician Conference
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid-April, Spain)
Conference for independent musicians, with sessions about sync licensing, YouTube monetization, and how to build your fanbase. Run by CD Baby.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late April, Austin, Texas, USA)
A friendly, inclusive conference for web and software developers, with emphasis on community. Workshop sessions including working with CSS Grid and building apps with React.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late April, Las Vegas NV, USA)
For self-funded startups and single founder software companies. Previous speakers included Patrick McKenzie, Tracy Osborn (Wedding Lovely) and Rob Walling (Drip, Startups For The Rest Of Us)
XDC: Xojo Developer Conference
(1 - 3 May 2019, Miami FL, USA)
The conference for Xojo developers, a cross-platform RAD development language inspired by Visual Basic (and evolved from REALbasic).
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid May 2018, Sandefjord, Norway)
The largest retro video gaming convention in the Nordic region. Retrospillmessen also offers display booth space to indie game developers. Presenters in 2018 include John De Lancie (Q from Star Trek) and Ron Gilbert (creator of the Monkey Island games).
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid May, Berlin, Germany)
A conference for serious indie iOS developers. UIKonf has a strong social / networking focus, with lots of fun events planned including kayaking, and a visit to the Computer Games Museum.
Business Of Software Europe
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late May, London, UK)
Conference for anyone growing or starting a software business. Speakers in past years included Rand Fishkin from Moz, Steli Efti from Close.io and Bridget Harris from YouCanBookMe.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late May, Kraków, Poland)
The biggest game industry conference in Central Europe. Features an Indie Showcase of 100 indie games and talks from 100 speakers. The 2017 conference was attended by 1500 people.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late May, Heidelberg, Germany)
Five days of Django and Python coding talks. 2017's conference included workshops and an event hosted by Django Girls Florence.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early June, Berlin, Germany)
WWDC: Apple Worldwide Developers Conference
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early June, San Jose CA, USA)
The official Apple conference for Mac & iOS Developers. Since 2017, Apple has moved the conference from San Francisco to San Jose. Tickets to WWDC are now only available via random drawing.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early June, San Jose CA, USA)
The alternative WWDC. A free community-run conference for Mac & iOS developers during WWDC week. The 2018 edition has capacity for up to 900 attendees (with paid Hero Supporters guaranteed entry), and also includes AltLabs for attendees to host their own lab sessions.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid June, Hannover, Germany)
The world's largest Computer Expo, from the home of MP3 & "Vorsprung durch Technik".
World Domination Summit
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late June, Portland OR, USA)
A conference for freelancers, bloggers, coaches, digital nomads, minimalists and anyone who wants to live an unconventional life.
Craft & Commerce
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late June, Boise ID, USA)
Organized by Nathan Barry and ConvertKit, a conference for online entrepreneurs, especially bloggers, podcasters, and vloggers. Topics include goal setting, content marketing, money and metrics and (of course) selling via email, with presentations from Seth Godin and James Clear.
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