Appsterdam 2012

In the first phase of Appsterdam, the Summer of Appsterdam, our emphasis was on organizing the community with a series of infrastructure initiatives centered around network and knowledge exchange, such as Weekly Wednesday Lunchtime Lectures and Meeten en Drinken, and Appsterdam Family Weekends. Our goal, which I believe we have achieved, was to make Amsterdam the best place in the world to be an App Maker.

The second, current phase of Appsterdam, Appsterdam Overwinter, our emphasis has shifted to education and training. By expanding, formalizing, and augmenting our existing initiatives, we can create a technical labor surplus that will attract existing business to the city, creating high quality jobs and transforming the local economy. Our goal is to make Amsterdam the best place in the world to become an App Maker.

As always, our first move is to cultivate an ecosystem that supports these goals. Bringing training giant Big Nerd Ranch to the Netherlands is the most visible example of direct action in that regard, but there are a thousand other third-party training activities in the city that we support in various little ways, such as the several incubator / accelerator programs starting in the city.

Our speaker training program has been formalized into the Appsterdam Speaker Bureau. Appsterdam Approved Speakers can move from giving presentations at the Weekly Wednesday Lunchtime Lectures to giving full day workshops at the Appsterdam Guru Sessions, then into worldwide speaking and training engagements at conferences and corporations.

This infrastructure serves double duty as a means to capture the knowledge of technologists passing through the city. While we will continue to advance Amsterdam as the ultimate vacation destination for nerds, we can also accelerate things with World Genius Grants, offering official recognition and travel expenses for international experts.

While these grants can be as short as a week, we would like to eventually bring key players and their families out for the entire summer. This serves a secondary purpose of introducing the city as both a technology capital and a great place to live. Influential community leaders who experience  Amsterdam—particularly the centrum, and particularly during the summer—will either move here themselves, or go back and spread the word.

The ideal Appsterdam initiative brings people together to solve several real problems at once, while at the same time generating content that serves to inspire and educate people around the world. This notion and the infrastructure and ecosystem we are building culminate in one of our ambitious, high profile projects for 2012: a reality series called “The App Makers.”

Bringing together academic talent from the Rietveld Academy’s Sandberg Institute, technical talent from the Appsterdam community, and private and public funding and assistance, “The App Makers” will take 8-12 aspiring App Makers from around the world, house and educate them, and introduce them, and the world, to our city and its industry.

Rather than being voted off the show, participants will graduate into society, either entering an entrepreneurial mentorship, filling one of the many vacancies at local companies, or establishing themselves as independents. In the latter pursuit they may be aided by the new Appsterdam Maker Bureau, which serves a matchmaker for App Makers and the people who need apps made.

At the same time, the new Appsterdam Research Institute will combine more formal academic pursuits with fast-moving industry expertise in diverse projects such as measuring the social impact of technology and its creation on the city and the world. This will also serve as a destination for international experts looking for a working vacation.

The Appsterdam World Expo will provide one more reason for App Makers to get together in our city: a conference that will rival the quality, and eventually size, of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. We hope the timing of the conference, combined with our careful tending of the ecosystem, will lead to it anchoring a new Technology Week in Amsterdam.

Finally expect continuing greatness from our ongoing initiatives during this time of change and turmoil in our industry. Operation Anthill and the Appsterdam Legal Foundation will continue to ensure App Makers have a unified voice in the fight for creative freedom against patent extortion.