Networking (v): the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts
Apple’s annual developers conference was in the news today, most notably because no one will be attending in person. I can’t speak to the value of their prior year’s presentations and speakers; however, from attending conferences for other professions I’ve worked in, I can say unequivocally that most of them are usually of low value learning-wise relative to the cost. Most of the time, unless you’re a brand spanking first year newbie, conferences seem to provide a stream of forty five minute presentations where you learn very little new or couldn’t find out in less time from a Google Search. Maybe technology conferences are different, but I’m doubtful.
What made conferences worth going to, however, was the conversations you’d have with attendees during breaks and meals. You’d learn what’s really going on in your industry, exchange business cards for future networking, and maybe even get a few leads if you’re in sales.
“WWDC is when developers around the world fly into a high production-quality event, to learn things, ask questions at labs, get the idea and so forth. So if you want to launch a big idea, like moving to SwiftUI, you have to get developers together, to ask questions, and get things solved and move on,” Paul Hudson, author of Hacking With Swift, and a four-time WWDC attendee, said.
I feel extremely bad for the developers who now get to spend several days watching videos and videoconferences during this years Apple World Wide Developers Conference. If this is the new normal for tech developer conferences, perhaps we should expect fewer big things to be introduced this year. Or to expect lower quality ideas to see the light of day due to the loss of these annual collaborations of tech minds.