We live in an age of instant information, with endless answers, instruction, and opinions at our fingertips. Why then, when the knowledge we seek could arguably be found lurking on forums, videos, or blogs just like this one, do we pack our cases, kiss our families goodbye, spend long hours waiting in airport security lines, even turn down paid work, to attend industry events all over the world?
Because we’re social creatures, drawn to experiential learning and conditioned to seek out community, there’s an intangible benefit to attendance that goes way beyond the standard morning keynote, subpar coffee, and animated slide decks. The benefits of networking within your specialism are obvious, but beyond the business cards, even the most fleeting interaction with people who share your passion can have the most incredible and lasting effect on your own motivation.
As we’re still towards the start of 2018 and all the potential it holds, here’s a brief round up of nine events recommended to help boost your ambition, networks, and expertise, give you that all important reboot, and help you remember why you got into this gig in the first place.
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1. UX In The City
Those looking for a hands-on and community-oriented UX level up should consider a trip to Manchester this spring. UX In The City is part of a well established series of respected user experience events, and offers a really varied program. Their unique schedule avoids stagnation with a truly multi-track format, blending case study sessions with keynotes, active problem solving, lightning talks, experience reports, and much more. This variety, coupled with a strong emphasis on networking opportunities, makes UX In The City a fantastic option for those seeking new skills and boosted UX community connections.
Dates: March 15-16
Location: Manchester, UK
2. Perf Matters Conf
If you’re feeling the need for speed, #PerfMatters could be the event that gets you motoring. Its impressively experienced and diverse line-up of industry experts are ready to help put your bloated websites on a diet, with two days of front end performance-based talks. For those seeking a deeper dive, there’s also an optional extra workshop day, to really put you through your paces and get your development motoring.
Dates: March 27-28
Location: Redwood City, USA
Our annual partner and developer conference celebrates our shared accomplishments and looks ahead at the future of the Shopify platform. It’s a testament to this event’s massive impact in years gone by that we’re already down to waiting list space only, but if you’re a part of our partner ecosystem, don’t hesitate to add your name to it. With huge platform announcements, unrivaled insider insights, and incredible ecosystem networking opportunities, give yourself every chance to grab a seat.
Dates: May 7-9
Location: Toronto, Canada
Price: Sold out—sign up for updates on how you can participate remotely
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4. CSSConf EU
One of the more niche conferences to make it to this round up, CSSConf EU is a not-for-profit venture run by a team of dedicated volunteers who are all active within the local tech community and run or contribute to various free meetups, workshops, and education initiatives. Don’t expect an unprofessional production; this event sells out each year with good reason. The curators know their craft inside out, booking the best of the best to come and share their specific wisdom. In addition to this passion for CSS, there’s a strong emphasis on a welcoming and, above all, inclusive event culture.
Dates: June 1
Location: Berlin, Germany
5. World Domination Summit
Now entering its eighth consecutive year, WDS is resolute in its mission to create a remarkable community that helps each person pursue a big dream. And as one might expect from an event operating under this branding, there’s a fantastically ambitious schedule. Main event keynotes and parties are paired with optional workshops, academies and meet ups—cleverly facilitating infinite customization to help each attendee answer the event’s central question: “How do we live a remarkable life, in a conventional world?”
Dates: June 26-July 2
Location: Portland, USA
6. Hopscotch Design Festival
An affordable and future-focused gathering in North Carolina, this festival takes its name from its multi-venue format, with attendees hoping from event to event. With over 40 speakers, there’s a wealth of experience and options available, with a strong focus on the creative industries, art and design, as well as tech. What makes Hopscotch a really exciting prospect is its sister event, Hopscotch Music Festival, which runs concurrently each evening and showcases over 125 bands. Think SXSW without the scale and associate stresses!
Dates: Sept. 6-7
Location: Raleigh, USA
7. Cusp Conference
In a time when it can seem like everyone is striving for specialism and expertise, sometimes it can be incredibly refreshing—and rewarding—to zoom out and appreciate the broader, bigger picture. A fantastic option for those feeling jaded, pigeon holed, or in a creative rut, Cusp Conference is about the design of everything. This eclectic program encourages you to take a wide angle lens to your previously held preconceptions, practices, and beliefs, with the aim of challenging the way you think, work, and interact within your particular creative field forever.
Dates: Oct. 24-25
Location: Chicago, USA
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8. Beyond Tellerand Berlin
In a crowded market place, very few events are crafted with as much care and attention as the Beyond Tellerand series, and their Berlin stop is always something very special. Don’t be intimidated by the name (a rough translation of which would be “beyond the edge of the plate”—i.e. think outside the box), all sessions are in English, and speakers travel from all corners of the globe to take their place on the stage. In terms of content, expect a broad mix of topics that will appeal to and inspire the modern digital creative. In terms of atmosphere, you’ll be met by a tight knit community who are always willing to welcome a few more to their number with a local beer or three.
Dates: Nov. 5-7
Location: Berlin, Germany
9. Digital Agency Growth Summit
D’ya like DAGS? We do. With digital agencies of all sizes capable of generating huge impact for the businesses they work alongside, this event promises expert help in building a powerful, profitable agency that can compete alongside the toughest competition. Major content themes include filling prospective pipelines, pricing strategies, and growing your retainers, and the single track format promises a steady stream of sage advice from those who’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.
Dates: Dec. 4-5
Location: Austin, USA
Price: Tickets not yet on sale
When it comes to events, do you like to chop and change annually, or has one particular conference earned an unassailable place in your calendar? Tell us in the comments below!