I regularly speak at events and conferences or give workshops. I'm a coach for OpenTechSchool in Zurich (education organization providing tech workshops and open learning materials). In 2016 I started co-organizing "Jugend hackt" in Switzerland, a hackathon for teenagers (interview & podcast with me).

Below you can find my posts about my talks. They are usually about my main topic of interest: Open Data. I put most of my slides on SpeakerDeck.


09.05.2017Open Education Day 2017: HTML/CSS Workshop

The /ch/open association hosted the Open Education Day 2017 at the FHNW in Brugg/Windisch.

I wanted to provide a workshop that could possible be re-used in a classroom, as teachers were the main audience of this event. As a coach of OpenTechSchool, it was clear that I would use one of those courses and talk a little bit about OTS as well.

After some thought, I chose the HTML/CSS course. The course is designed to be "do it yourself, in your own tempo".

It was a lot of fun and I think the participants could take away the important message, that websites are not magic. Thanks to the open learning material, they can finish the course on their own and also re-use it for their students.

24.04.20172nd Dark Night in Zurich: Open Data Workshop

Together with Zentrum Karl der Grosse, the Chaos Computer Club Zurich (CCCZH) and the Digitale Gessellschaft Schweiz organized the 2nd Dark Night in Zurich.

I was asked to give a workshop about Open Data. The audience was very broad, from young to old, from novice to tech-savvy, but they all had very little knowledge about Open Data.

It was a very good expierence to try to explain the field of my work and one of my biggest private interests from the ground up.

My approach was to break down this very complicated topic in 5 areas and I tried to encourage the participants to actually "get their hands dirty" by diving into an open data portal. In the end, 60min is a very short time, but I hope I made a lasting impression and the topic of open data is no longer an "unknown" in their heads.

12.11.2016Jugend hackt Schweiz: Github & Git

I was co-organizing "Jugend hackt" in Switzerland this year. If you want more information about the event, read the excellent blog post about it, watch the video of the final presentations or read the article by SRF (including an audio interview with me :) ).

During the event there was also a series of lightning talks about a variety of topics. I held a talk about "Github & Git", the slides are on my github account or available online and they are actually a fork of a similar talk at a previous "Jugend hackt" event.

04.10.2016CKANCon 2016: How We Combined CKAN with WordPress

This year the CKANCon was in Madrid, prior to the International Open Data Conference. It was a one day, rather tech-focused, conference. As CKAN is the framework I'm using almost on a daily basis, and I know a lot of people from the mailing list, it's good to meet them from time to time in person.

My talk was about the CKAN/WordPress integration we did for opendata.swiss. You can find the slides below.

Update: In the meantime, all CKAN and WordPress plugins were open sourced and can be found on GitHub!

29.09.2016Hacks/Hackers: Open Data Portals + Civic Hacking

I was invited by the Hacks/Hackers meetup to give a talk about my passion "open data", so I decided to mashup my previous talks and talk about my work (building open data portals) and my private interest (being an open data activist and a civic hacker). It was a very interesting experience and there were a lot of questions in the Q&A after my talk and even after then when we had some drinks at the venue.

Thank you to the organizers to having me and for everybody, who showed up!

As always, here are my slides:

14.06.2016opendata.swiss - What is it and how does it work?

At this years OpenData.ch conference in Lausanne I could present the current state of the Swiss federal open data portal opendata.swiss and give some technical insights on how we built certain components.

04.06.2016Civic Hacking @ ImNeuland

At the "Informatiktage 2016" there were several events and I spoke at the ImNeuland conference about civic hacking. My talk was mainly about why I consider myself to be a civic hacker, why my curiosity drives me to explore things and how data can help us to explain the world.

Here are my slides:

01.12.2015Open Data MashUp @ Impact Hub

Last week I had the opportunity to talk at the Impact Hub in Zurich about Open Data. This event was part of a group of events in different locations of Impact Hub, called MashUp.

The talk was held in the Pecha Kucha format, which means you have 20 slides and 20 seconds for each slide. Because of this condensed form of giving a talk, there is not much space for text on the slides, rather images, graphics etc. This is just a warning, as the slides without my talk might not be very useful. Feel free to either fill the gaps yourself or contact me if you need more information or if you want to hear the talk again.

Download the PDF of my slides or see them directly here:

20.07.2015Learn to code if you want to. I'm happy to help.

Even though I'm not an education expert, and I don't really have a professional background in didactics, I have some experience when I comes to teach people how to code, especially if they never wrote a single line of code before.

The topic of teaching accompanies me since some time now. For one, the most obvious one, I'm an apprentice trainer. This means it's part of my job, to teach our young apprentices how to program. But it doesn't stop there. I'm quite active on StackOverflow (although one could argue this doesn't count as teaching). Then last year, I got the chance to hold a workshop at the Jugendmedientage to teach programming to young journalists, that never coded before. All these experiences led me to believe that:

  • Programming can be learned
  • It takes time, effort and patience for both the teacher and the student
  • Curiosity is the key

Workshop at Jugendmedientage 2014

I'm writing about this topic, because not long ago we were discussing this topic at work. One of our project managers said, she wants to learn at least a bit of programming, in order to understand what her team is doing. Intuitively I disagreed. I argued, that it's not the responsibility of a project manager to understand programming. Everybody should focus on their main responsibilities and skills.

But then again:

  • Wouldn't it be nice to have a common understanding of some basics?
  • It would be a tremendous help, if a PM could already decide if a problem is hard or easy
  • Or if a PM understands some technical terms that get thrown around in the room all the time?
  • Why should anybody stop someone from learning something they are clearly interested in?

But it's not just about PMs, and it's not just about my work place. It's nice to be able to code. To know, that this task, you've been doing manually since so many years could be written in just a few lines of code. Your life can get easier.

One of the projects I really like is OpenTechSchool. It aims to create free online learning material for everybody to learn about programming and related topics. Apart from the docs, there are workshops, free of charge, led by volunteers like me.

The goal of such workshops is not to become a super-hero-programming-ninja. It's about understanding how a programmer tackles a problem, learn new skills and grasp some basic concepts.

Everbody can learn to code. If they want to. I'm happy to help.

18.09.2014Workshop about Open Data Technologies

At todays Opendata.ch Conference 2014 I had the opportunity to talk about technologies around the topic of open data. I gave a quick overview over different approaches that are being used including CKAN, The DataTank and Data Central.

On the technical side a talked about (Tabular) Data Packages and a little bit about JSON-LD. Did you know, that GMail is already using it?.

Here are my slides (German only, sorry!):


In the discussions that followed we talked about why we need Open Data portals (conclusion: mainly for the PR) and if we prefer to wait until a data provider "cleaned" it's data or rather want it fast, so that the community can help to clean it up (consensus: quick and dirty).

For me, today was a really fun conferences. I met lots of new people, could catch up with already familiar ones and listen to a lot of great talks.

Update: Now the videos of the conference have been published. My session has not been recorded, but at the end I could quickly present our findings (again German only):

08.07.2014Q&A Wall at the OKFestival in Berlin

Some time ago the OKFestival asked for session proposals for this years conference in Berlin. I was at the conference last year in Geneva and enjoyed very much. It's just a nice atmosphere to talk to people from divers backgrounds (I'll get back to that in a minute).

Me and my colleagues from Liip thought about sessions for this years topic "Open Minds to Open Action". The Programme FAQs gave us some hints, what it takes for a session to be selected:

  • Does the proposal advance the overall mission of the event
  • Does the proposal offer participants a concrete, valuable outcome?
  • Does the proposal advance the conversation around its area of open?
  • Is the proposal interactive? – hint: slides and lectures strongly discouraged
  • Does the proposal value or build on OKFestival’s principles of inclusivity and diversity?

Help newbies at the conference

We asked ourselves, how we can help people to connect to each other? We pictured a person that is interesting in the "Open Knowledge" topic but doesn't know any people at the conference. The first step is always the hardest. How do you find people that are interested in the same topics? Of course, one can attend sessions and try to talk to the people there.

But sometimes a little extra help is required. Some conference solve this problem by providing some kind of buddy system (e.g. the Chaos Mentors at the 30C3). The buddies are volunteers that show newbies around, and show them the venue, introduce them to people and so on. This is great for large conferences but might be an overkill for smaller ones.

As we were brainstorming about this we came up with the concept of a place, where everybody is encourages to write down his/her questions, so that others can pick that up and answer them right away or provide guidance. We first thought about doing this online using something like a twitter hashtag. But in the end, this is now why you went to a conference. You want to meet real people to talk face-to-face.

Q&A Wall to the rescue

So the challange is just, to find these people. To help making this asychronous, we developed the idea of a physical Q&A wall. This wall will be at the venue and provides space to write down questions (think of sticky notes or whiteboards to directly write on). Like that, this wall provides a meeting point or to simply read and write questions.

I'm very interested in how this wall is being used. Maybe Q&A is not the only thing that could be done with it. Everybody is invited to use that space. There are similar approaches to use such walls or boards to share news in local communities ("Community Chalkboards").

Btw: the Q&A Wall is also listed as a session at the OKFestival!