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.
(1 - 3 February 2019, Seattle, WA, USA)
A conference for writers, artists and makers. Foolscap focuses on community, with attendees encouraged to bring books to share with others and to eat together (and even cook together). The guest of honor in 2019 is Nancy Kress, author of the "Yesterday's Kin" series and winner of six Nebulas and two Hugo awards.
(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 to hit 10 Million Miles, how to downsize/rightsize your company 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.
GDC: Game Developers Conference
(20 - 22 March 2019, 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.
(21 - 22 March, London, UK)
A conference for iOS and Swift developers.
(24 - 28 March 2019, 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)
(3 - 4 April 2019, New York, New York, USA)
The "Life. Time. Value" conference for SaaS developers. A conference for people who are already selling their own services but know they can do better. Past speakers include Rachel Andrew of Perch, Patrick McKenzie from Stripe, Laura Roeder from Edgar, George Palmer of SendOwl, and Alex Hillman of 30x500.
(3 - 5 April 2019, New Orleans, 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. Speakers include Amy Hoy and Samantha Geitz.
European DIY Musician Conference
(6 - 7 April 2019, Valencia, Spain)
Conference for independent musicians, with sessions about sync licensing, YouTube monetization, and how to build your fanbase. Run by CD Baby and the Berklee College of Music.
Games Week Berlin
(8 - 14 April 2019, 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.
(10 - 12 April 2019, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Three days of Django and Python coding talks and workshops. The conference focuses on clever hacks, cool use cases, security, pushing Django to its limits, and the challenges of modern web development.
Business Of Software Europe
(11 - 12 April 2019, London, UK)
Conference for anyone past the starting stage and looking to grow their software business. Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby) will be speaking in 2019. Speakers in past years have included Rand Fishkin from Moz, Steli Efti from Close.io and Bridget Harris from YouCanBookMe.
(19 - 22 April 2019, Saarbrücken, Germany)
The world's biggest pure Demoscene party, presenting new code driven electronic artworks and music.
(26 - 28 April 2019, Montreal, Canada)
It's back for 2019! Canada's conference for indie developers and designers of application for Apple platforms (iOS and Mac).
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).
(3 - 5 May 2019, 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)
(12 - 13 May 2019, Sandefjord, Norway)
The largest retro video gaming convention in the Nordic region. Retrospillmessen also offers display booth space to indie game developers. Past presenters include John De Lancie (Q from Star Trek) and Ron Gilbert (creator of the Monkey Island games).
(26 - 29 May 2019, 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.
(27 - 28 May 2019, 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.
(1 - 2 June 2019, Berlin, Germany)
Craft & Commerce
(7 - 10 June 2019, 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.
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 early June, San Jose CA, USA)
Another alternative conference to WWDC, for Mac, iOS & Swift developers, held at the Hilton hotel next door to the WWDC conference center.
(24 - 28 June 2019, Hannover, Germany)
The world's largest Computer Expo, from the home of MP3 & "Vorsprung durch Technik".
World Domination Summit
(25 June - 1 July 2019, Portland OR, USA)
A conference for freelancers, bloggers, coaches, digital nomads, minimalists and anyone who wants to live an unconventional life.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late June, Portland OR, USA)
An annual gathering of independent web creators of all kinds - writers, artists, developers, designers and more. Has a focus on personal websites and the interoperability standards that connect them.
(24 - 25 July 2019, New York, NY, USA)
Conference dedicated to the Laravel PHP framework. In 2018, speakers included 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).
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late July, Adelaide, Australia)
Australian version of the UK's Indie-Con for independent musicians.
TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) Europe
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late July 2018, Ostrava, Czechia)
European version of the world's largest conference for travel bloggers, writers and travel industry people working with social media.
(1 - 4 August 2019, 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.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early August, 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).
DIY Musician Conference
(16 - 18 August 2019, Austin TX, 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).
(25 - 28 August 2019, 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.
(27 - 28 August 2019, Malmö, Sweden)
"Exploring Complexity In A Digital World". 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.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late August, Melbourne, Australia)
Run by RMIT, a conference for Apple developers on Mac & iOS and watchOS devices. Previous year's keynotes have included Quentin Zervaas (maker of TransitTimes & Streaks for Apple Watch) and Michael Shaw of Savage Interactive (makers of Procreate).
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late August, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
European edition of the conference dedicated to the Laravel PHP framework. Past speakers included Taylor Otwell, Freek van der Herten and Joe Ferguson.
iOS Dev UK
(2 - 5 September 2019, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK)
UK based iOS development conference.
TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) America
(11 - 13 September 2019, Billings MT, USA)
North American edition of the conference for travel bloggers and freelance travel writers.
Business Of Software USA
(16 - 18 September 2019, 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.
DNX Global: Digital Nomad Conference
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late September, 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).
(3 - 5 October, Playa Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
About the business (not the tech) of running a business developing iOS & Mac software.
Indie Romance Convention
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid October, 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.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid October, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Conference & festival of independent video games from around the world.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid October, San Diego, California, USA)
Five days of Django and Python tutorials, talks and sprints.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid October, 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.
Swift By Northwest
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid October, Portland OR, USA)
A focused learning experience for iOS, Mac and Swift developers.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid October, 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".
MBS Xojo Conference: Germany
(24 - 25 October 2019, Köln, Germany)
A two-day conference for Xojo programmers, a cross-platform Visual-Basic-like language used by many solo developers and consultancies. In addition to presentations, the conference also offers optional training sessions in English or German.
Freecon: The Freelance Conference
(28 - 29 October 2019, Austin, TX, USA)
US conference for freelancers, organized by Emily Leach. Topics include refining your gig pitch, selling for introverts, mastering Upwork and growing while staying a solo freelancer. Past speakers include Michelle Schulp, Shawn Hesketh, Amy Segreti and Starley Murray.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually late October, Dubrovnik, Croatia)
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.
BookBaby Independent Authors Conference
(2019 to be confirmed, usually early November, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Writing conference dedicated to helping independent authors publish successfully.
Creative At Heart
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid November, 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.
(2019 to be confirmed, usually mid November, Killarney, Ireland)
For people who build and love great products, at the intersection of the humanities and science. A conference about Apple & Apple products, but with a focus on learning from Apple's approach to business and product creation, rather than software development skills.
Perth Games Festival
(2019 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
(2019 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
(2020 to be confirmed, usually late January, 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.
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