Wrap-Up and Coverage for Düsseldorf 2021

This year was a special year. Not only because it was the tenth time I organised the Düsseldorf edition of beyond tellerrand and also not only because of Covid, but also because of only a little more than two months that I had to organise this whole show: ask speakers if they’d come, figure out and coordinate what they talk about, organise their travel in case they would not book themselves, organise the hotel, volunteers, swag and material that is needed to run the event and so on …

2010, when I decided – after thinking about it 2008 for the first time – to fully focus on an event to organise as my main job, I had no idea if and how it would succeed and how it would look like ten years later. 2011 I ran the very first beyond tellerrand event in the Capitol Theater in Düsseldorf. Back then I did not even have a blog to write about it on this site and therefore the first wrap-up post of an event is from 2015, when I relaunched the website. Now, 10 years later and two years in, into a world wide pandemic that prevented me from running any events, I had the pleasure and joy of running number 10 in Düsseldorf finally.

It was a strange situation I have been in. Would people actually come to an in-person event with 500 people onsite? Would the atmosphere be any good after two years of social distancing? Would I see any of the old faces who always come? Would there be new people, who never attended before? And if the atmosphere would not be, what it used to be in the past, because of everything that happened since the last event, would the new participants like the event at all?

In addition to the above, I was wondering if I’d be able to create this _magic_moments, that somehow happen at the event sometime. To be honest, I have no idea how to create these moments, but I think my energy and way of being with the people coming to the event at least sparks some of it. But would I be able to spread positive energy, being really down and kind of depressed for a long time because of the one thing I love to do was taken from me for two years. I had no idea really and had sleepless nights over it more than once.

Marc Thiele opening beyond tellerrand in Düsseldorf on stage with tears in his eyes, covering his face with his hand
When I welcomed people, I wasn’t prepared for their massive welcoming applause and reaction. Photo by Florian Ziegler.

Little did I know how much the people who came were looking forward to be back. That moment, when the lovely opening titles by Sebastian Lange ended and I entered the stage to say hello … I still get goosebumps thinking of that moment. For some reason everybody started applauding and cheering. And they did not stop. When I tried saying something, they stated over and I got really emotional. That was a moment, when I thought to myself once more: I LOVE WHAT I AM DOING!

But enough. The intro already is way longer than I actually wanted it to be and I would love to say thank you to so many people! Sorry. On to the wrap-up content you are here for.

One thing first, though: this document is a living document, which means, I will add things bit by bit, like the transcriptions for example. They are not ready yet, but in the making. Same counts for blog posts. People are still writing the blog posts and I add those as soon as I get new content and coverage.

A Live Stream and Back Network

Since I knew that some people would not be able or want to come to this edition, I decided to spend some money on more hardware in addition to what I had and record and stream all videos myself. That worked out pretty well and made many people, who sat at home or in their office happy.

The back network, though, where I thought people would exchange useful things upfront and during the even, was not used too much. Well, if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Question now is: should I always have everything live streamed? I have never been – and still am not, to be honest – a big fan of simply streaming the talks to the web live. I’d love the idea of kind of a TV format with interviews in between the talks, discussion in a hybrid format or things like this. But running this on my own always was the problem. So, if you’d be interested in working on something like this, a streaming format that is more than simply streaming the talks to the web, let me know.

Know that I own the gear for all this, I will definitely stream the talks as long as Covid is a problem and worries people to attend events. Let’s see what this leads to.

As platform for the stream I have chosen Vito, which I also use for my Stay Curious shows. Vito offers all the tools that fit my idea of an online home for the event and feels more personal than YouTube or platforms like this. Next to this Vito is build by people for the community.

Stats and Facts

A few numbers upfront. At the last two events, I could see that Instagram was getting more and more used for coverage and documentation and Twitter, though being still the platform used mostly, was slowly getting less people writing on it.

A graph showing the social media activity on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and you can see that Twitter still is mostly used followed by Instagram and Facebook nearly plays no role anymore
Social media activity during the event

This year I also tracked activity on Facebook, mentioning my beyond tellerrand page. As you can see, there was nearly no activity on that one. For Instagram you also have to take in consideration, that my social media wall only collected hashtags or certain keywords in posts and not in Instagram stories – and there were a lot of stories during the two days. Wish I could somehow access those as well …

Statistics from network traffic and people really used a lot for Netflix, YouTube and Amazon?!
Network traffic for the two days – Netflix?

People use the event wifi less and less. I guess that had a few reasons this year. First of all this time less international guests had been there, because of Covid. That means many people probably used their mobile data instead of the wifi. Furthermore I like to see this as it means, people focus on the event and being there. Thanks again to Luc from etherTec who is watching over the event network at each event since 2013 already! And I really wonder who creates 1.2GB auf traffic on Netflix during an event like this … 

Attendees and Countries

We said hello to many people from foreign countries again. We usually have people from between 20 and 30 different countries coming, but because of Covid and more difficult travel regulations and restrictions, we had people from “only” 12 different countries on site: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States


I am happy that Florian Ziegler and Norman Posselt joined beyond tellerrand again to create some of their wonderful photos. If I collect more photos from attendees and/or the team, I will add them later.

Florian caught himself in a mirror backstage at beyond tellerrand and you can’t see his face as the camera is in front of it
Self portrait by Florian. Photo by, well, Florian Ziegler.
You can see Norman in the background taking a photo of Molly Watt in his little pop-up studio
Norman taking a photo of Molly. Photo by Florian Ziegler.
  • Norman Posselt setup a little studio backstage to take [photos of each speaker] after they had finished their talk. I always liked this idea and for a couple of years Norman is doing a great job with this.

Videos and Transcriptions of the Talks

All videos of the talks are published on our YouTube and Vimeo channels. I always also create a YouTube playlist as well as a Vimeo showcase, so that you have all videos of one event in one place.

Next to this, the pages for an event automatically turn into an archive for the past event and I add all video links, transcripts, coverage and slides, if I get anything, to this archive.

Transcripts are not ready yet, but as soon as they are, I will add the link to those also.

Please find all this in the list below as well:

As said before: things I will get after I posted the initial post will be added at a later point.

Blog Posts and Other Coverage

I do not have a huge budget for my events and therefore I never pay for any ads in online or offline media. Sometimes I agree to media partnerships, where I would integrate newsletters or events which do the same for me and beyond tellerrand. But the best things that can happen is usually if people sit down and write about their experience and their thoughts of an event. This means the world to me and is so much value. Not only for me, but also for anyone who is looking for an event they might like. Thank you so much, if you have blogged, written or posted anything on social media!

So far I got notice of these write-ups and comments about beyond tellerrand 2021 in Düsseldorf:

  • Florenz Heldermann has written a German post about his days at beyond tellerrand and is so lovely to say that the event is the best one he knows … well, at least in Germany. Thanks, Florenz!
  • I was sad that Tom Arnold decided with a heavy heart, that he won’t come to the 2021 edition in Düsseldorf, because of Covid. The more I am happy that we offered a live stream this time and made it possible, that he was able to attend at least online and made summaries of each talk. Furthermore I am delighted that he says “Even from remote, I got 'that' Btconf Feeling back. All the talks had something in them that tickled my curiosity[…]” … see you next time Tom!
  • ”It is a Belgian developer, a Greek AI Specialist, a French writer and their friend UX designer who gather in Dusseldorf. Yep, sounds like a joke but actually, it’s a true story. The story of Daniel, Chrysanthi, Leeloo and I at Beyond Tellerrand, the place where humanity, creativity and technology meet.” – this is how the summary of Miloon Alleghra starts. Makes my heart jump for happiness! Thanks a lot Miloon!
  • Leeloo Rocks has also written a wonderful post with a very personal story, which is lovely to read. Thanks for being so open about it and sharing it with everyone, Leeloo! Read her write-up titled “Beyond Tellerrand 2021 or why you should definitely meet your heroes” in English here and in French here.
  • Cleo, Flemming and Timon of visuellverstehen have been at beyond tellerrand and written a German summary of their experience. What I really loved was, that next to many others, Cleo wanted to speak to me to tell me how much she liked the event and what it was that she liked so much. She was asking if I had a few minutes to talk to me and I’d say “In the next break, please” and she kept asking until I finally stood still and she was able to speak to me – this was so kind and wonderful. Thank you so much! (Oh and do I look tired on that photo?! 😱)


Júlia Racskó did not only speak at the event, but also watched most of the talks and made a few sketchnotes …

If I missed something or you found something that is not listed above or have written about the event, please let me know and I will add it instantly.

Live Captions & Transcriptions

Like for the past couple of times we had live captions on a big monitor that were appreciated by many people in the audience.

You see Marc in a collage of three photos setting up the live captions and on one image you can see Andrew the captioner in our Zoom call with which he was connected to the event
Andrew our live captioner in Schottland on the Zoom call and me setting up the captions with him. Photos by Florian Ziegler.

I like that it always is Andrew of White Coat Captioning, who is captioning the two days of the event live. I met him once at New Adventures after he did a couple of beyond tellerrand shows already. He is a lovely chap and I love chatting with him during the show. Me on stage and he in Schottland, talking to me through the screen.

My aim is to bring Andrew over to the events as soon as this is possible again. Thanks for the useful, enjoyable and fun interaction!

Next to the live captions onsite, I always have Tina Pham creating transcripts of every talk. The transcripts are linked to in the event archive archive as well or you can find them in each of the speaker profiles.

Opening Titles

With only two weeks notice, Sebastian Lange had been given a hard task by me. when I asked him to created opening titles for this year’s event. He already created many of the opening titles of the past events and I was sure, that he’d create something fitting to kick off the event. The opening titles should welcome the 500+ attendees at each event and set the mood for the show, as they are the first content that the participants see on the main stage. But have a look yourself, what Sebastian created …

Makuyuni, Skate-Aid and Rob Draper

Beginning of 2019 Andy came to me and told me about something he and his friend Jan started and what they titled Makuyuni. They started building a primary school in Makuyuni, Tansania. We chatted about options how I, with beyond tellerrand, could help to get this done and we simply collected a good amount of money in Düsseldorf 2019. In Berlin 2019 they had a booth with information about the idea, the start and the progress of the project and we collected money again with the aim of collecting enough to build a full classroom. We managed to get this done and by now the whole primary school is finished, plus a well to have water for the area, so that the kids could go so school instead of walking long distances to get water.

When Titus and I spoke about him coming to beyond tellerrand in early 2020, I remembered that he also founded Skate Aid, an organisation who builds skateparks all around the world – mostly in areas, where kids don’t have many opportunities or even a general orientation – to empower those kids and get the off the streets. Obviously I thought, we could support Skate Aid as well and maybe even do something together which would be more fun and also a nice way to help each other

I asked myself what we could do other than simply asking for donations and I remembered, that my friend Rob Draper not long ago started an online action he titled ”Your Words, My Hands”, where he would draw/paint, what you tell him to draw. With this you would get a unique poster by Rob, signed and the only one world wide.

Since it is easier to show than to explain, have a look at this video to understand what we did:

Metapaper was kind enough to sponsor the paper, we got the rest of the material that was needed and announced it on stage using the video above. We did not have any idea how many people would come and – oh dear – poor Rob had to draw the whole event for two full days. But he did and we collected more than €4500 for Makuyuni and Skate Aid. What a wonderful way for everybody to help children around the world. Thanks so much once more, dear Rob, that you did this!

T-shirts, Mugs and Other Assets

I always love that I can produce t-shirts for my events with the designs of people I admire. Well, I get, that not everybody wants a t-shirt and therefore, with the last event, I added an option “I don’t want a t-shirt” in the form when registering for beyond tellerrand. Interestingly enough, only a hand full of people have chosen this option, which – for me – is a sign that people like the t-shirt.

My aim always was and is, that I don’t simply produce a t-shirt with the event logo printed on it. I ask a designer I admire, speaking or not, to design a t-shirt that fits the idea of the event. Usually I don’t even really tell them what to create as I trust them blindly. This year’s design was planned to be used for the tenth birthday of beyond tellerrand, which happened to be exactly when Covid hit the world. But I liked it so much, that I simply stuck to it and printed it on mugs and t-shirt.

The wonderful Vic Lee has created a design simply stating “TEN”, which we got printed in gold and white on a black t-shirt and on black mugs.

A lettering illustration stating “TEN” by Vic Lee
Vic Lee design this piece in 2020 already and we used it a theme and on our printed assets for the event.

With this, I’d like to say thank you to Vic Lee once more. Always lovely to have people in the family that are trustable and do wonderful things.

A beyond tellerrand Graffiti at the old Stern Verlag in Düsseldorf by HokerOne

Steffen, aka HokerOne, is a long time friend of beyond tellerrand either. He has been part of many events in Berlin and Düsseldorf, did live drawings on site a couple of times, designed a btconf t-shirt, as well as the theme for on of the Berlin editions.

two photos next to each other in a collage showing the graffiti with many heads and the name “beyond tellerrand” in the middle of the artwork
HokerOne created this lovely piece at the former Stern Verlag in Düsseldorf on the day before beyond tellerrand.

This time the City of Düsseldorf gave us the opportunity to design a wall at the former Stern Verlag and I asked Steffen, if he’d like to spray something for us. Luckily he was directly up for it and created a great wall of hoker-heads framing a “beyond tellerrand” – wonderful! Thanks so much, Steffen.

That’s it. As said, it is a document that is alive and growing within the next hours and days, but I wanted to get it started, so that maybe other things I missed will be given to me during the time I complete the TBDs.

I already mentioned in the introduction that I knew organising and running these events are the one thing that make me happy. But, wow, did I miss this and am I overwhelmed by all the positive chats, people and energy during those days! Thank you so much. If you enjoyed it, please spread the word and tell other people about it. ❤️

For next year I hope that Covid finally will be under control. I announced dates for all three events in Düsseldorf, Berlin and Munich and I hope to see you there. Tickets for Düsseldorf and Berlin are on sale and beginning of 2022 I will also start ticket sales for Munich.

Stay curious and see you soon!

Update 22 February 2022: added “T-shirts, Mugs and Other Assets” and HokerOne and his graffiti

Update 22 November 2021: added the paragraph about Rob Draper, Makuyuni and Skate-Aid

Update 6 December 2021: added the part about our opening titles and mentioned transcriptions by Tina Pham

Update 14 December 2021: added transcripts for Eva-Lotta Lamm, Júlia Racsko and Jeff Greenspan

Update 15 December 2021: added transcript for Bianca Berning

Update 20 December 2021: added the rest of the transcripts

Update 15 September 2022: added sketchnotes of Júlia Racskó