Viva l’Italia! 7 Tech Events Worth Traveling For

Lots of cities have hackathons, happy hours, and startup weekends. And those events are totally fun. But every now and again you are going to want to attend an event that is a little more specific, or if not specific, maybe an exotic locale will do ya? We’ve pulled together a list of slightly less high profile tech and design events throughout the world that you should check out.

Just remember to send us a postcard when you’re hacking in Italy.

User Test Me

  • Who: The Test Tube

  • What: User testing!

  • Where: We Work Labs, New York, NY

  • When: Once a month

So you’re excited about your new app. Maybe you just implemented some great feature, or heck, maybe it’s just a few wireframes that have you excited for the project to come. But you need some outside perspective, and user testing can be a daunting task. Every month, We Work Labs hosts Test Tube, a user testing event that’s one part networking, and one part speed dating. You simply arrive with your product and a desired goal for the user, and let the feedback rain down!

Failure is inevitable

  • Who: Founders @ Fail

  • What: Speakers & Panels

  • Where: New York, NY

  • When: Every few months

We learn from our mistakes–that’s a given. But when your mistakes involve big bucks and prominent investors, you’re probably a little more wary. Why not see if you can first learn from someone elses? The Founders @ Fail group holds regular events where founders open up about their lessons learned (the hard way) in order to help you to fail in the most productive way possible. “There’s no sugarcoating and no spin,” they say, but there are certainly a lot of lessons learned.

Ahoy, social-matey!

  • Who: 1000 Pirates

  • What: One-day conference

  • Where: On a boat near Boston, MA

  • When: October, 2013

Every year, Boston gathers 1000 techies, founders, interns, developers, investors, and designers, with the sole purpose of launching them out into the harbor for a networking cruise. Pirate outfits are optional.

Problem, meet solution

  • Who: 20 Over 20

  • What: One day hackathon

  • Where: Dallas, TX

  • When: September 18, 2013

At any given time, the list of upcoming hackathons is pretty much innumerable. If you can think of a theme then it probably exists (they even did a hackathon on a plane!), so it’s saying something that this event caught our eye. The 20 Over 20 hackathon serves to identify 20 issues that have existed, and have annoyed us, for over 20 years. The “crowd-sourced attempt to identify these innovative laggards” will be solved by pre-selected teams, one of which will be awarded with the grand prize of $10,000. Got a problem you think is worthy of solving? And no, your annoying 21 year old little brother doesn’t count (I already asked).

Dare to lend a helping hand

  • Who: Dare Conference

  • What: Three-day conference

  • Where: London, UK

  • When: September 23-25, 2013

Jumping across the pond, we have the Dare Conference in London. Building products or providing services that truly make a difference in the world is hard. Dare brings together developers, designers, and game changers to talk about the unique challenges of service work.

Bacon wrapped web apps

  • Who: Bacon

  • What: Two-day conference

  • Where: London, UK

  • When: Spring 2014

This deliciously-named gathering is a platform-agnostic developer conference that brings really nice smart people together to talk about interesting topics like “Defining Music, Recreational Programming, and Pure Data,” “Treat Your Users Like Bacon,” and “My Mom Told Me That Git Doesn’t Scale.” Plus, they get extra points for a fantastic gender ratios and come on, who doesn’t like bacon?

Bellissimo Sito

Well here’s a pretty unique premise: an Italian front end development conference whose theme directly references the 1980 John Belushi and Dan Akroyd film Blues Brothers. It’s run by “From the Front,” an Italian non-profit started to promote front end design culture throughout the country. Only in Italy would you have a non-profit dedicated to design. The program, held in various buildings, all erected in the 17th century, features workshops on creative Javascript and adaptive interfaces.