Aral Balkan

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I’ve given hundreds of talks over the last two decades and beyond. Here are a few of my favourites in chronological order so you can see how my focus and thoughts have evolved through the years.

I hope you enjoy them.

PS. If you want me to speak about the Small Web at your event, feel free to send a short message to with the details.

PPS. You can see Laura and me live every third Thursday of the month on Small is Beautiful, which we stream from our own Owncast server.

Superheroes and Villains in Design

Superheroes & Villains in Design at Thinking Digital 2013 in Newcastle, UK.

I believe that good design is crucial for what we do. Why? Watch this talk to find out or, if you’re short on time, read this.

Free is a Lie

Free is a Lie at Thinking Digital 2014 in Newcastle, UK.

This was one of the first talks I gave when I started speaking out against Silicon Valley’s toxic business model (what I now call “people farming”). I also gave a version of this as an RSA Talk.

Decentralise Everything

Decentralise Everything at The Conference 2015 in Malmö, Sweden.

In this talk, I give the first public demonstration of Heartbeat, a native macOS social media app that never left alpha and was the spiritual predecessor of my work on the Small Web. You can also watch just the Heartbeat reveal.

Beyond the Clouds

Beyond the Clouds at See Conference 2016 in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Excuse Me, Your Unicorn Keeps Shitting In My Back Yard, Can He Please Not?

Excuse Me, Your Unicorn Keeps Shitting In My Back Yard, Can He Please Not?at Doku:Tech 2016 in Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo.

In this talk, alongside raging against the machine, I talk about our tracker blocker, Better, which we retired at the end of 2021, and some of the insights we gained using it.

Don’t you just love the title, though? I know I do.

Design or Decoration?

Design or Decoration at IxDA Berlin 2017 in Germany.

In which I ask a room full of designers whether they are practicing design or decoration. A question we should all be asking ourselves. The answer to which might prove important in deciding whether we live in a democracy or an autocracy in the future.

Kitten (Small is Beautiful)

Kitten demo at Small is Beautiful, December 2022 (online; live stream).

A demonstration of authentication and public-key cryptography in Kitten from our Small is Beautiful live stream with Laura.