Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Final Conf-Down

Chris Adamson:

I think it’s interesting to note that there’s been an obvious, substantial contraction in the conference scene.


The obvious explanation is that after 10 years, iOS is old news, that most people who want to work with it are already doing so, and there’s less travel/training money available. This makes sense, to a point, although if that’s the case, then how can the No Fluff Just Stuff tour be doing 17 events this year, hawking old warhorses like Java and Spring?

Still, the idea that iOS is old and unsexy can be seen in the fact that nearly every new conference focuses on Swift, even putting it in their name: dotSwift, try! Swift, Forward Swift, Swift by Northwest, Swift Summit, etc. Good for marketing, although as a speaker, I find it somewhat limiting: I don’t feel like I could do a talk on, say, debugging with Instruments or Auto Layout in storyboards, since those wouldn’t really be about Swift.


Today, WWDC is nearly impossible to get into, and all its videos are quickly made available to non-attendees (lately, most or all of them have been livestreamed). So if you’re just interested in getting Official Info from Cupertino, just standing in front of that firehose is all that’s necessary.

Update (2018-01-17): Marco Arment.

Ten years ago, you had to go to conferences to hear most prominent people in our industry speak in their own voice, or to get more content than an occasional blog post. Today, anyone who could headline a conference probably has a podcast or YouTube channel with hours of their thoughts and ideas available to anyone, anywhere in the world, anytime, for free.

But all of that media can’t really replace the socializing, networking, and simply fun that happened as part of (or sometimes despite) the conference formula.

I don’t know how to fix conferences, but the first place I’d start on that whiteboard is by getting rid of all of the talks, then trying to find different ways to bring people together — and far more of them than before.

Update (2018-01-18): Jeff Johnson:

You can’t really eliminate formal talks at conferences, because then it becomes a lot more difficult to justify the expense to employers.

Manton Reece:

It can’t be overstated how important it is to meet people face to face in our community.

Update (2018-01-27): Adam C. Engst:

There’s no shortage of Apple-focused conferences for professionals to gather with peers. We have once again collected details — or at least dates — for all the Apple-related conferences we can find; if we’ve missed any, let us know in the comments.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Gotta love that Marco Arment just wrote a blog post on this that starts by saying that it's no big loss, since conferences aren't worthwhile anymore, and then when he shifts to what is lost without conferences, shifts his premise to that conferences overall are dead, not just iOS conferences. Go team!

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