Memoirs of a WWDC Rookie

June 12, 2014

This year I went to Apple’s WWDC for the first time. I got the chance to be where every iOS developer wanted to be. The place where stuff happened. The place with the best among all. The place that mattered.

We got to San Francisco the weekend before the conference and left the weekend after, so we had some time to explore a new city I didn’t know. First of all, the food is great. I had the best burger, the best chinese and the best pizza I’ve ever had. And I’m a foodie. Just Yelp it and be happy. There’s a lot of tourism you can do in SF, some of the things we did were visiting Alcatraz, bike to Sausalito and drive to the Silicon Valley and visit the great tech companies HQs.

Monday, when the WWDC starts, we got out of the hotel at 4:30am and got to the keynote line at around 4:45am and it was already huge. Honestly, I was skeptical about the keynote being all of what people say. But, as a first timer I thought I just had to go and see. We had bought beach chairs at Target in the Sunday and sat in the line and got to know new people, exchange ideas, do some networking. Despite the cold and sleepiness, the line itself was already worthy of the effort. But, thankfully, everything was worthy. Sure, some say we had the best keynote since the iPhone, but if you’re a first timer, do find time and motivation to go to the keynote.

Throughout the WWDC, the sessions were outstanding. Me and my team split up to cover the maximum ground we could. Later we would get together to share what we learned and who we met. One thing I regret is not going to more labs. I was too focused on the sessions and lost this opportunity. Have this in mind: the sessions are streamed. Everyone can see it and you don’t have to be at the WWDC to keep up to it. Tête-à-tête with Apple engineers is a one-of-a-kind experience. You can only do it by being there. The Design Lab lines can get pretty overwhelming. There were already people waiting outside the Moscone at 7am and Apple’s designers insight of your app is priceless. This is my main advice:

Prioritise people time rather than session time. Don’t interrupt a conversation to go to a session. Sessions must be you’re last resource. If you have nothing to do, go see one.

It’s easy to see great faces there. Tim Cook wandered about, Craig Federighi took selfies with whoever asked him, Steve Streza and his green hair was everywhere, Marco Arment, John Gruber, Aaron Hillegass and his cowboy hat… if you see someone you admire, go and talk to them. Lose your shyness. They are mostly great people and will be happy to talk to you and give you advice. There were also outstanding folks at the AltConf. Great talkers like Matt Thompson and Orta Therox that only attended to the AltConf.

Go to parties and get togethers. Get to know people. Lot’s of companies promote after parties at their HQs. Twitter, Github, Foursquare, Pinterest, Yelp, Dropbox, Pebble, Square… these are just some of the after parties. Worst case scenario, you get to eat and drink for free and get to know their office.

Basically, my advice is the same my mom gave to me over and over: go outside and talk to people.

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