WWDC, it’s not just for attendees…
[A repost from last year's WWDC season -- and worth revisiting -- if you're an Indie Dev and don't have WWDC tix, you should come to SF anyway. Yes, seriously!]
[update to the update: added/corrected links to point to 2012 conferences, where applicable _dhms]
So, you were an early bird and saw all the commotion on Twitter about WWDC tix going on sale and you leapt from your comfy warm bed and hit that buy button and… oh, wait.. what? You didn’t get a WWDC ticket?
Major bummer – You are going to miss the single most elite geek-fest of the spring here in beautiful San Francisco! Or, are you..?
There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth right now in some developer circles about how Apple is under-serving their developer community right now by limiting WWDC attendance to the ~5,000 seats that have been available for the last decade or so. This may be true, but I tend to agree with Jeff LaMarche and others who assert the very thing that makes WWDC so valuable is the fact it’s a small conference (compared to the 40,000+ attendees of something like OracleWorld).
Really good conferences — whether in tech or other domains — are not really all about the conference itself. Its like 1/3 content (i.e., what the conference is about) and 2/3 the experience itself — including what goes on in the hallways and the session back-channels like Twitter/AIM/IRC, and then, even more importantly, what happens outside the conference at parties, dinners and other social and networking gatherings. WWDC is no exception.
There are a lot of iOS/OSX focussed events these days, from The Voices That Matter 2012 iPhone Developers Conference in Boston, MA, to the 2012 360|iDev Conference in Colorado and more.. So if WWDC isn’t just about the sessions, why is everyone so hellbent on getting there? Well, WWDC is special because of the mix of resources all in one place for 1 week. WWDC brings together Apple engineers and product managers from every part of Apple to meet with Apple developers from the smallest indie 1-person shops to members of the Microsoft Mac Business Unit — but even more importantly it’s surrounded by an ecosystem of supporting events like meet-ups, and hackathons, and dinners/parties, and <…too many other good events to list>.
Of course Apple engineers are people too they don’t just do their WWDC talks and go home for the most part; they go to the parties and other events too. They’re not going to spill the beans on products or talk about stuff that is shown under NDA at WWDC proper, but they are still approachable and are usually happy chat with you and can even give you some idea on whom to talk to at Apple outside of WWDC to help solve a problem or answer a technical question if you ask nicely. Apart from the functional aspect of bending an engineer’s ear, it’s also good to just go meet’em to get to know the men and women who create the products that help you be an indie.
Seriously, remember 2/3 of a good conference is outside the event venue itself – and no one is stoping you from going to those events! Who knows what will happen as the result of a bunch of random meetings at a WWDC-related party…?
So, if you’ve missed out on the chance to go to the WWDC itself, you have 3 choices:
- Stay at home and mope… (or spout on Twitter how WWDC isn’t ‘all that’ anyway…)
- Buy a WWDC ticket on Craig’s List or eBay at scalper’s rates (not possible any more, sorry…)
- Come to SF for June 11-15 anyway, and take part in everything but WWDC
I’d suggest that if you were planning on coming to WWDC if you’d managed to score a ticket, you should come out to San Francisco anyway. Yes, you won’t get to go to WWDC itself, but San Francisco will be simply teeming with your fellow iOS and MacOSX developers. The ability to hobnob and socialize with your fellow devs and perhaps even demo your products in environment also teeming with potential customers, partners and even VCs is too big of an opportunity to miss! We won’t even get into the food, coffee, wine and the scenery here in the San Francisco Bay Area… but that should be the icing on the cake of why you should come anyway.
Who knows… maybe next year someone will set up the “Un-DubDub” conference – kind of like the BIL folks did in response to the scarcity of TED seats a few years ago for those developers who want a more structured event to go to even if they can’t get the full WWDC experience.
MacIndie has a list of every WWDC-related event both official and unofficial we can find (see the front page – The Definitive WWDC Party & Event List); if you have an event you want the iOS/MacOSX dev community to know about, we want to help you get the world out, so drop us a line at events (at) macindie.com!