The attendee experience is central to our philosophy at Úll. Our efforts should combine to create a memorable and remarkable shared experience, far more than the total of their parts. A great event is made up of many small details, and we focus on these to bring Úll’s unique approach to life.
Underscoring our philosophy around organising the event is a deep fandom of Apple. As when a great moviemaker pays homage to their heroes, so whilst we “steal” unashamedly from Apple in various ways, the end result is something truly original. We think you’ll love it.
Úll was born out of the desire to combine the experience-driven “spectacle” of Funconf with a more conventional conference. The question that underscores the event is: what can we learn from Apple?
From that perspective, we like to re-think each aspect of the conference from first-principles, to bring you an event that feels intimate, curated, and built with care. Inspired by iPhone, every two years we attempt to reinvent ourselves, with each other year being an iteration on the previous.
In iterating the conference over the past four years, we have settled on a number of things that come together to make Úll special.
For the last two years, we have hosted Úll in a resort hotel with exclusive use, creating a summer-camp, or festival vibe. Everyone is under the same roof; everyone is at Úll, meaning that every person you meet represents a chance for spontaneous serendipity.
Last year, we found The Europe to be more than just a venue: they were an event partner. Since it was such a wonderful experience to work with them, we will be returning this year and next, keeping the form-factor shape the same, as it were, but allowing us to iterate on the design of the conference.
For our first event in 2012, we were quite rightly called out for having an all-male, all-white lineup. Since then we have made efforts to ensure that Úll is a welcoming, and safe event for everyone.
In 2013, Sasha joined the team, and we adopted a fork of the Open Source Bridge Code of Conduct, and 1/3rd of new speakers were women. We continued in 2014 with our move to a resort venue and our “kids come free” policy to attract families.
In 2015, we offered a children’s track along with children’s activities. 10% of total attendees were children, and 25% women, with a speaker lineup representing diversity of ethnicities, age, gender and ability.
Each year, we have iterated on our efforts, and we plan to continue to do so to play our part in solving the systemic problems with diversity that our collective industry has.
Food is not an afterthought at Úll.
We don’t skimp on any of the meals at Úll because eating together is part of the experience, and it should be as good as it can be. Feeding people at scale is no easy feat, and we’re delighted with The Europe’s ability to keep the quality high.
For our gala banquet, we prepare an extra special feast, with everyone eating together Harry Potter style.
We also provide “shoulder” opportunities that you can optionally join, a big dinner on the night before the conference, and a “wind down” event the day after. We host these because they’re the events that we would want to go to if we were attending, and we organise them for everyone so that you don’t have to.
We have also partnered with 3fe for the past two years to bring Ireland’s best coffee to the conference floor!
To us, a great experience is a balance of education, inspiration, empowerment and, ultimately, enjoyment. That’s why we bake entertainment right into the lineup.
2013 saw Jim and friends perform a set of their own, and for the past two years, our very own house band has provided entertainment on the first evening of proceedings.
Night two promises the chance for attendees to get involved: we have hosted open mic sessions two years running, and whilst Jim couldn’t make it in 2015, he appeared last year in telepresence to dance with attendees to some traditional Irish music.
A great conference experience begins the minute you buy your tickets. We would book your flights for you if we could.
Since that’s beyond our capability at the moment, instead we’ve booked a train that you can join us on, if you’re coming from Dublin for the full 4 nights. The train departs Dublin on Monday 31st October, and includes a shuttle connection right to the door of the Europe, where your hotel key will be waiting if you’re staying there.
On Thursday 3rd November, we’ll be picked up at the door, and travel once again en masse to return to Dublin and go our separate ways.