When I first got interested in the Mac platform and Cocoa development, it was a small victory if I walked into a Borders or Barnes & Noble and saw Aaron Hillegass’s Cocoa Programming book. Back then computer section bookshelves were filled with books on .Net, Java and Microsoft Office. Mac related conferences were also few and far between. MacHack existed and Apple held WWDC each year, but beyond those meetups, the Cocoa platform was relatively quiet.
Fast forward almost a decade and Apple has its own section at your local Barnes & Noble with many of those books being dedicated to building iPhone apps1. It also seems like there is a Mac or iOS related conference every month where developers flock to meet, discuss code and share their thoughts on the current state of the industry.
I’m writing this post 30,000 in the air on my way to Austin for one of those conferences: 360iDev. This is my second conference this year after making the trip to Atlanta for NSConference earlier this year and pretty much fills my quota for outside events.2
Conferences like 360, WWDC and Voices That Matter are great events to refuel your Kool-Aid repositories, but I can’t help but wonder when the bubble is going to burst. As with any hot technology, people swarm around it anyway they can. Developers are flocking to iOS as millions upon millions of iPhones and iPads are sold every quarter. Marketers are starting to become append “iOS expert” on their business card right underneath “Social Media Guru” and “Web Visionary”. Conference organizers also see there is money to be made by channeling the high interest in Cocoa.
I don’t fault them for it. One of my most rewarding experiences this year was going to NSConference and meeting so many people who enjoyed participating or purchasing software through the Indie+Relief event I organized earlier this year. Instead, I’m more curious the motivation of those people who attend each and every one of these conferences either in the capacity of a speaker or attendee.
My preparation time for my presentation and trip to 360 this week took an entire week of time away from me working on my Second Gear products. The run-up to WWDC each summer gives me the same “gotta get it done before San Francisco” mentality. I’m find doing that once or twice a year, but anymore time away from improving my products feels like time wasted.
Camaraderie is great, but so is shipping software. That’s what I prefer to do.