So, as usual, Day 1 was epic. We learned how the people of the Nordic region carefully balance reliability with independence from some truly amazing speakers. With a strong focus on open source and data journalism, we all smartened up quite a bit.
We also ate some damn fine food and drank some unbelievably delicious beer and Aquavit.
There’s been quite a bit of Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, Finnish and Norwegian terminology learned too!
But don’t take our word for it.
From the keyboards of some of our fantastic delegates, here’s a wrap-up.
You know why we do this – we love the small, the perfectly-formed, the unique and the excellent.
This year, we’re celebrating the unique culture of The Nordics, home of the number one restaurant in the world, Noma, which encapsulates the beauty, simplicity, efficiency and elegance of this region.
We want to share the concepts and the tastes of this region, and to that end, we’ve lined up some incredible food lovingly made by specialist craft suppliers.
Meet Ole Hansen, whose family has been smoking salmon since 1923. He now runs the family smokehouse in Stoke Newington, staying true to 4 generations of Hansen and Lydersen craft, producing salmon according to the long-standing traditions that have made his family’s success for more than 80 years.
Ole believes in relentless research and an artisanal approach. So do we. Check out his video here – he sets the stage for Monki Gras 2015 perfectly.
Even if you barely know your Def Leppard from your Deep Purple, you won’t be surprised by the obvious point of this map: Scandinavia is the world capital of heavy metal music. Leaders of the pack are Finland and Sweden, coloured with the hottest shade of red. With 2,825 metal bands listed in the Encyclopaedia Metallum, the figure for Finland works out to 54.3 bands per 100,000 Finns (for a total of 5.2 million inhabitants ). Second is Sweden, with a whopping 3,398 band entries. For 9.1 million Swedes, that amounts to 37.3 metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants.
The next-hottest shade of red is coloured in by Norway  and Iceland. The Icelandic situation is interesting: with only 71 bands listed, the country seems not particulary metal-oriented. But the total population of the North Atlantic island is a mere 313,000. Which produces a result of 22.6 metal bands per 100,000 inhabitants. That’s almost the double, relatively speaking, of Denmark, which has a score of 12.9 (708 metal bands for 5.5 million Danes)
We confirmed our band for the Monki Gras evening party earlier. Not heavy metal, more punky that that. But The Franklys surely rock. How many tech conferences have all girl post punk bands, reindeer on the menu, and talks by top notch nordic developers about concepts like Lagom (“just enough” and the cloud) and talkoot (coming together communally to get the job done). You should come.
Very happy to report that the inestimable Neil W S Murray, founder of The Nordic Web, journal of record for all things Northern is joining us at Monki Gras this year as a media and analysis partner. When it comes to tracking Nordic influences on the Web I am just a dilettante, whereas for Neil it’s a full time passion.
Neil will be presenting at Monki Gras, giving a feel for the current burst of Nordic startups activity, with plenty of data and insight. We’re pleased to welcome him into the fold.
His weekly newsletter tracks what’s going on in startups in the Nordics, and you should sign up here.
What Pia said… I knew about all of the technologies on the list except SSH. Increasingly excited about the event now. Get your ticket here.
Soon after I started putting together the agenda for Monkigras 2015 I heard about the new Sweden Sans typeface, designed by MAC Rhino Fonts, as part of a project by the design agency Söderhavet to deliver a new unified brand identity for Sweden. Geeks generally love typography and great design, so I naturally had to ask Stefan Hattenbach, the typeface designer to talk at Monki Gras this year, given our theme. What I didn’t expect was that he would persuade Söderhavet to come along as well, to give us the full picture of the project, exposing the design process.
The brief – Sweden’s government asked us to develop a new identity for the country, to be used when communicating on behalf of Sweden. Our brief was to replace the many fragmented organizational identities of Swedish ministries, agencies and corporations with one integrated visual brand identity system, to unambiguously represent Sweden in the world.
The process – During the design process, we grappled with many questions, including: Which symbols best represent a country? How do we design a unified identity for use in extremely divergent contexts and on wildly different scales? Which parts of an identity should always be used, and which parts only in the right context? And how do we clarify when an organization is speaking on behalf of Sweden?
If you’re interested in the cultural role of design, at scale, you really don’t want to miss this talk. As ever at Monki Gras we’re as much about design, culture and craft as we are about code.
Get your tickets for Monki Gras here.