so coded conference

Almost two weeks ago I visited the so coded conference. It was the first so coded, so I was pretty excited what would happen. Some days before the conference an envelope arrived, containing confetti, a glueable fake-mustache(!) and my ticket. Wow!

The conference was on Thursday and Friday and was located in Bergedorf, which is more on the outskirts of Hamburg than in the inner city (20 minutes per city train). But happy me, my ticket of the so coded conference also counted as a ticket for the whole short-range public transportation of hamburg, really a great idea!

The morning I arrived in Bergedorf pink ballons on the lanterns showed me the way to the Lola from the station. When entered the “Lola” in Bergedorf, the venue of the so coded, a helper in a pink so coded tshirt waited in the entrance. He asked for my name and then took me into the room where the talks would happen, to “my” place. On my place there was a pink paper bag saying “Hay Robert”. The bag contained a so coded pillow and some nice goodies from the sponsors. Awesome, so much love for the details. Pretty stunned I got some breakfast.

View on the breakfast
Picture by @socoded

As you see, we had round tables. Later one of the organizers told me that they tried to mix up the people depending on the company they were from. This was possible as we had this personal seats with the bag for us and it definitly helped to break the first ice and to meet new great people.

There was just one track and there was no schedule. I really enjoyed the first talk which was from Jessica Allen. I am not sure if there is a video, but if there is one, you should have a look!

After every talk there were 30 minutes break. Great! I know some conferences which have really larger venues where you miss the beginning of the next talks several times in the two days, as there are just some minutes between the talks. Even worse as some speakers tend to speak longer than planned. This way there is also time to speak with the speaker after the talk or to discuss with other attendees about the topic.

During the break I noticed a small printer on a table in the foyer, like the ones at the checkout of each supermarket. In front of it a big button.

The printer
Picture by So Coded

Turns out, if you press the button, the next talk of the schedule will be printed. Later the organizers even published an url where you could add own custom messages via HTTP requests.

Picture of the printer
Picture by Robin Drexler

I enjoyed some more talks and had some nice conversations, even got my hands on the leap device, which Robin Böhm used to control the slides for his talk later. During another break I noticed a large banner in the foyer. It was a mosaic, where the twitter avatars of all attendees (including me) formed the logo of so coded - a star on pink background. Again, so much love for the details!

They also had a room where I found a carerra car track. You could connect your computer to an Arduino connected with two servos to the two cars of the track. Nerd dreams came true!

Picture of the track
Picture by So Coded

In the evening there was a party at the venue, as the “Lola” also has a small bar. There was a live set from Andy Delcambre and Jason Costello from GitHub which was really rad. The same day there was a bug in the test suite of npm regarding gist urls but luckily Andy Delcambre who was behind the turntables with Jason Costello was able to help me, so I fixed the bug the same night.

The organizers had another app next to the printer-app. It showed an emergency number and the next public transport departures. I can’t remember any other conference I visited which had such a nice service for people that had to get to their home or hotel.

I think I didn’t mention it already: there was no QA allowed in or after the talks! And it really payed off in my opinion, as most questions are just not interesting for the whole audience and just for the single person who is asking the question - having 30mins between each talk allowed to ask and discuss with the speaker in a more natural and nicer way, I think.


So coded raised the bar for other tech conferences. I was told afterwards that the organizers collected things they wanted to fix on conferences they visited over the years and months, and all these ideas went into the planning of so coded and the results made the event so lovely for me. I can’t imagine how many countless hours the organizers must have invested into the event which really impressed me as an event organizer and also made me happy as an attendee.