In 2011, myself and my buddy Eamon Leonard ran the second year of a conference we called “Funconf”. The conference sold out on the back of the teaser alone. We ended up not announcing the lineup, or giving away any details at all. The whole event, from the venue, to the talks, to the surprise elements were revealed only as the conference went on. Stories of castles, busses, DeLoreans, llamas, storytellers, and deep friendships ensued. I wrote about that event on the bus on the way home.
When I started Úll (with another buddy, Dermot Daly), I wanted it to be a little bit Funconf, and a little bit regular conference. Over the years, this has created a wonderful mix of the expected—rich, engaging keynote-style presentations—and the unexpected—hidden wine tastings, an escape room, sensory audio and visual introspectives, and so much more through the years.
The other pattern that emerged whilst designing Úll was changing up the format every two years. After two years in Dublin, we moved to everything-under-one-roof venues in Kilkenny, and then Kerry, and introduced our “special features” … presentations were delivered in rooms around the venue rather than on stage. Two more years in Kerry ensued, where we introduced open calls for proposals and the storytelling sessions, which added a much more personal element to proceedings. Tick-tock, just like the iPhone.
2018 is the first "tick year" since Dermot stepped down as co-organiser. With such fond memories of Funconf, with “Teach Úll” I want to go all-in on the unexpected.
Here’s the pitch:
Tickets will be on sale for one week only. Priced at €1499 they will include transportation from Dublin, meals and two nights of very nice accommodation.
After the week, we will review the ticket sales, and reach out to all of the participants to find out some more information. The idea is to design a conference expressly around the interests, needs, wants, whims and fancies of the individuals who have signed up.
A truly personal conference experience.
Sort of, except that rather than selling a conference concept and setting a quota, I'm going to design the event around the folks who buy tickets.
It means “Apple house” in Irish. But conveniently it’s also the English word “teach”, and conferences are all about learning.
Yes, but Úll was originally conceived as a conference about "what can we learn about Apple"? The principle was to try to design a conference inspired by the way that Apple design products. You know how you know that you’ll almost certainly buy the next iPhone when it comes out (and fair enough if not)... that’s the piece of Apple that this iteration of Úll is based on.
August 18 until August 25.
€1499. This includes transport to the venue from Dublin, all meals, and two nights of very nice accommodation. It’s very much an "all-inclusive" price.
See the Lottery.
Yes. Kids tickets will be €49 each and go towards providing activities for kids in the spirit of the rest of the event.
Yes. No. Sort of. Yes.
The last time I did something like this was the best thing I ever organised. You can read more about it here: http://2011.funconf.com/info. I have also curated and organised Úll 6 times, and I run a company that serves the needs of many a conference organiser.
No, it’s all inclusive only.