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.
(Cancelled due to Coronavirus, Darmstadt, Germany)
A very tiny conference (25 people only) for small self-funded software companies, also called microISVs. Focuses on meeting people rather than on talks. Run by Christoph Engelhardt (aka @ITEngelhardt)
(Online/streaming only due to Coronavirus, 17 - 20 May 2020)
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.
(Online/streaming only due to Coronavirus, 28 May 2020)
Single day conference dedicated to the Laravel PHP framework. A smaller European conference with 10 talks and about 250 attendees.
WWDC: Apple Worldwide Developers Conference
(Online only due to Coronavirus, usually mid 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.
Craft & Commerce
(Postponed to 2021 due to Coronavirus, 11 - 14 June 2021, 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.
World Domination Summit: The Finale
(Postponed to 2021 due to Coronavirus, 22 - 27 June 2021, Portland OR, USA)
A conference for freelancers, bloggers, coaches, digital nomads, minimalists and anyone who wants to live an unconventional life. WDS was founded by Chris Guillebeau of the blog "The Art Of Non-Conformity" and has run for 10 years. WDS 2020 will be the final conference.
(Registration on hold due to Coronavirus, 27 - 28 June 2020, 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.
Ludicious: Zürich Game Festival
(Online only due to Coronavirus, 1 - 3 July 2020)
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 late July, Adelaide, Australia)
Australian version of the UK's Indie-Con for independent musicians.
(28 - 29 July 2020, Atlanta, GA, USA)
Conference dedicated to the Laravel PHP framework. In past years speakers included Ryan Holiday (author of The Obstacle Is the Way), Jason Fried (founder of Basecamp), Samantha Geitz (senior developer at Tighten), Evan You (creator of Vue.js), Justin Jackson and Jeffrey Way (of Laracasts).
GDC: Game Developers Conference
(4 - 6 August 2020, digital online conference)
Mostly for bigger game developers, but also includes the Indie Games Festival (IGF) for indie developers. Previous editions also included a Virtual Reality Developers Conference.
(6 - 10 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).
(16 - 19 August 2020, 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.
(25 - 26 August 2020, 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.
DIY Musician Conference
(28 - 30 August 2020, 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).
(28 - 30 August 2020, 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 will feature a performance by Rob Hubbard, of C64 SID-chip song fame.
Freecon: The Freelance Conference
(30 August - 1 September 2020, 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 Pamela Slim, Starley Murray & Brian Clark.
(Postponed to later in 2020 due to Coronavirus, San Francisco CA, 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 - 4 September 2020, 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.
(2020 to be confirmed, usually early September, Melbourne, Australia)
For Apple developers on macOS, iOS, watchOS or using Swift. Run by AUC, the Apple University Consortium. 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).
iOS Dev UK
(6 - 9 September 2020, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK)
UK based iOS development conference, running since 2011.
(14 - 15 September 2020, 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.
(15 - 18 September 2020, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
A one day conference with three extra days of tutorials and training sessions. Focuses on iOS and Android mobile app development. Past speakers include Sebastiaan De With.
(Postponed to 16 - 20 September due to Coronavirus, Porto, Portugal)
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 USA
(21 - 23 September 2020, Boston, MA, USA)
US version of the conference for anyone running a software business. Speakers in 2019 included Alex Osterwalder, April Dunford and Sunish Gupta. Past speakers included David Heinemeier Hansson, Patrick McKenzie, Laura Roeder and Dharmesh Shah.
(30 September - 1 October 2020, 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.
TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) America
(7 - 9 October 2020, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA)
North American edition of the conference for travel bloggers and freelance travel writers.
Indie Romance Convention
(7 - 10 October 2020, 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.
(11 - 17 October 2020, San Diego, California, USA)
Six days of Django and Python tutorials, talks, sprints and networking.
(18 - 19 October 2020, Paris, France)
Conference supporting independent game developers and promoting indie games. Speakers in past years 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".
(2020 to be confirmed, usually early 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.
(20 - 22 October 2020, 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.
IndieCade Festival USA
(23 - 24 October 2020, Santa Monica, CA, USA)
Conference & festival of independent video games from around the world.
Games Week Berlin
(29 - 30 October, Berlin, Germany)
Conference for gamers, indie developers, industry professionals and Let's Players, with over 15,000 attendees. Includes dedicated tracks for Unreal developers, industry professionals, and for women seeking to build their career in games & IT.
(15 - 17 November 2020, Minneapolis, MN, 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)
GameDaily Connect Asia
(10 - 12 November 2020, Shenzhen, China)
All about casual mobile games for phones & tablets & social platforms. Includes an Indie Prize & Dev Showcase.
Perth Games Festival
(2020 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
(2020 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.
No conferences yet this month!
(12 - 14 February 2021, 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). Previous guests of honor have included Nancy Kress, author of the "Yesterday's Kin" series and winner of six Nebulas and two Hugo awards.
(2021 to be confirmed, usually early February, Miami Airport Hilton, FL, USA)
Business and technology conference for business travellers who spend all their time up in the air. Topics include how to reach 10 million Frequent Flyer Miles through hotel loyalty cards, how to downsize/rightsize your company 85% cheaper using teleconferencing, and "What Is Glocal". Keynote presentation is by Ryan Bingham, author of "What's In Your Backpack". The 2010 conference included a surprise performance by Young MC of "Bust A Move".
Global Indie Meetup @ SXSW 2021
(2021 to be confirmed, Austin TX, USA)
A meetup/networking event for indie record labels, distributors, indie tech companies and more. Organized by the Association of Independent Music, so expect a heavy music focus.
Business Of Software Europe
(2021 to be confirmed, usually mid-March, Cambridge, 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.
(21 - 23 April 2021, London, UK)
The conference for Xojo developers, a cross-platform RAD development language inspired by Visual Basic (and evolved from REALbasic).
Indie Game Business Online Conference
(2020 to be confirmed, usually mid April, online)
(Online/streaming only due to Coronavirus, 10 - 13 April 2020, Saarbrücken, Germany)
The world's biggest pure Demoscene party, presenting new code driven electronic artworks and music.
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