Monki Gras 2015!

We are pleased to announce dates for Monki Gras 2015: we’ll be back at the Village Hall January 29-30, 2015. Stay tuned for details and we hope to see you there.

The theme this year is Nordic Craft Culture and Tech. Hopefully by the time the conference is here i will come up with a snappier set of words for it. But the basic idea is pretty straightforward and was inspired by… Radio One.

After two years in a row where the theme was obvious to me early on- Scaling Craft (2013), followed by Sharing Craft (2014) I was floundering for a guiding curatorial line this time around. So I get home one evening and my wife is listening to Radio 1 (I know, I know, we listen to Radio 6 as well!) the show is about the Scandinavian Invasion, with a new wave of Scandinavian pop artists, writers and producing  breaking through. To be honest I didn’t really notice any of the music as soon as the presenter mentioned Spotify.

Neurons started firing. My first thought? London is not very good at scaling companies. Too many London startups sell too early. Stockholm on the other hand has an incredible track record of taking companies further – Skype, Kazaa, Spotify, etc. Of course gifted individuals play a role – Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are an incredible team. But a culture spawned these individuals, and my neurons kept firing and I knew an incredible conference on my hands.

Noma in Copenhagen is now the best restaurant in the world, with its minimalism and focus on foraged, local ingredients. The Mikkeller Bar was one of the sparks that reignited craft brewing excellence across Europe. Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, with his peripatetic “gypsy brewing” style with his collaborations.

Wait? Gypsy brewing. Sharing Recipes. Making it easy to recombine things and collaborate. Beer suddenly felt like Linux. and What about David Heinemeier Hansson? And wait – Rasmus Lerdorf. The web runs on Nordic inventions. 3 Letters out of 4 in LAMP stack. Not bad considering Silicon Valley considers itself to be the place that builds the infrastructure software.

What makes Nordic Culture so productive? Education is clearly fantastic in the region, and the winters are long and cold, perfect for heads down coding.

Design and lighting are both very important in Scandinavian culture too. This all comes together. Code, design, liberal social values, education, great taste, modesty, skill, practice. I went to bed thinking I can not wait. This conference is going to explore all of these themes, and it’s going to rock.

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