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 - 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
(3 - 7 June 2019, 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.
(3 - 6 June 2019, San Jose CA, USA)
The alternative WWDC. A free, community-run conference for Mac & iOS developers during WWDC week. AltConf has capacity for up to 900 attendees (with paid Hero Supporters guaranteed entry), and in 2019 includes an Escape Room puzzle.
(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.
(28 June 2019, Melbourne, Australia)
IndieConf is a new, alternative startup conference for bootstrappers, self-funded companies, and indie makers. Organized by Kate Kendall (founder of The Fetch), and speakers in 2019 include Stuart Hall from AppBot and Ayla Toyokawa (founder of Wedsites and co-founder of Themeboy).
(29 - 30 June 2019, 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).
(25 - 26 July 2019, Adelaide, Australia)
Australian version of the UK's Indie-Con for independent musicians.
(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.
(1 - 4 August 2019, 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), Paul Fenwick, and Michael Shaw of Savage Interactive (makers of Procreate).
(28 - 30 August 2019, 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. Speakers in 2019 include Alex Osterwalder, April Dunford and Sunish Gupta. Past speakers included David Heinemeier Hansson, Patrick McKenzie, Laura Roeder and Dharmesh Shah.
DNX Festival: 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).
(22 - 27 September 2019, San Diego, California, USA)
Five days of Django and Python tutorials, talks and sprints.
(3 - 5 October, Playa Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
About the business, design and marketing of running an online business... everything but the tech. Organized by Charles Perry and Joe Cieplinkski of the Release Notes podcast. Speakers include Sebastiaan de With from Halide and Natalie Nagele from WildBit.
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.
(6 - 7 August, San Francisco, USA)
Hosted by Twilio. Learn how to integrate SMS, VoIP and two-factor authentication into your apps with their stack. Past speakers have include Patrick McKenzie (@patio11 / Stripe), 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.
(20 - 22 October 2019, Dubrovnik, Croatia)
European version of the conference for self-funded & single founder software companies. Past speakers have included Mike Taber and Rob Walling from Startups For The Rest Of Us, Adii Pienaar (co-founder of WooThemes), and Steli Efti of Close.io.
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.
Casual Connect Asia
(10 - 12 November 2019, Shenzhen, China)
All about casual mobile games for phones & tablets & social platforms. Includes an Indie Prize & Dev Showcase.
(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 2019, 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.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually early 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.
(2020 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.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid March, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
A one day conference with three extra days of tutorials and training sessions. Focuses on iOS and Android mobile app development.
GDC: Game Developers Conference
(2020 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.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid March, London, UK)
A conference for iOS and Swift developers.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually late March, 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)
(25 - 27 March 2020, Nashville, TN, USA)
The conference for Xojo developers, a cross-platform RAD development language inspired by Visual Basic (and evolved from REALbasic).
(2020 to be confirmed, usually early April, 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.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually early April, 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
(2020 to be confirmed, usually early April, 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
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid 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.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid April, 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
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid April, London, UK)
Conference for anyone past the starting stage and looking to grow their software business. Derek Sivers (founder of CD Baby) was speaking in 2019. Speakers in past years have included Rand Fishkin from Moz, Steli Efti from Close.io and Bridget Harris from YouCanBookMe.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid April, Saarbrücken, Germany)
The world's biggest pure Demoscene party, presenting new code driven electronic artworks and music.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually early May, 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)
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid May, 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).
(2020 to be confirmed, usually late 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.
(2020 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.
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