Tag Archives: Apple

The question of WWDC

This year, Apple took a different approach to selling tickets to their annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC or “dub, dub” as some devs call it).

They announced a day ahead of time when the tickets would go on sale instead of taking the traditional approach of selling tickets as soon as the announcement went out. 

With the conference selling out faster every year (last year tickets went in two hours),  pre-announcing the sale at least gave everyone a fair shot at getting a ticket. Last year, tickets were gone before most people on the west coast even knew they had gone on sale.

So, at 10 am PST yesterday, the mad scramble began. 

Two minutes later, it was over. 

Sold out. 5,000 tickets were gone.

A lot of well known developers were unhappy on Twitter because Apple’s system blocked them from completing their transaction. There were a number of complaints of people who had the ticket in their carts, but could not complete the transaction before tickets were sold out.

Apple has been reaching out to some of those individuals by phone and giving them a second chance at getting a ticket. They’re also increasing the speed of when the session videos will be available, promising that they’ll be available during the conference.

There are still a lot of developers left out in the cold, though.

How do they fix it? 

One option, some argue, would be to provide a lottery system. In a way, they’ve kind of already done that. 

If they make it more organized, then how do you determine who qualifies for the lottery? Do they add qualifications to it above just having a developer membership?

One thing they could do, I think, would be to offer a 1 day pass. The one day pass would basically only allow people into the first day of sessions, which would cover the keynote and the overview sessions. 

The firehose of information usually doesn’t get turned on until day 2. 

They may have to scale things up for that first day, but it might eliminate some of the people (like press) who buy tickets and only attend the first day of sessions.

Another option. They could scale up the conference. I saw someone mention that JavaOne hosts 20,000 in Moscone. 

That sounds easy, right? 

Apple sends 1,000 engineers to the conference and makes them available to answer developers questions. Right now, that’s a 5 to 1 ratio of attendees to engineers. If you scale things up to 20,000, then that ratio goes up to 20 to 1.

Okay, then, someone argues – send more engineers. 

Assuming Apple has the manpower, that means they could be pulling more guys off major projects. They may be able to mitigate that to some extent, but I don’t know if they have enough manpower to keep the 5 to 1 ratio.

It’s more than just the engineers, though. What about sessions?

Even when I went in 2009, some sessions were impossible to get into. I’ve heard that the problem hasn’t gotten better, and that’s with only 5,000 attendees.

How much harder will sessions be to get into when you have 10,000 or 20,000 people trying to get in?

They could repeat sessions, maybe. But, there again, you’re pulling engineers away from labs to present multiple times.

Okay – how about this? Let’s host multiple WWDC’s either in San Francisco or regional ones around the world.

The major challenge there is that now you have to pull engineers off for additional weeks to attend multiple WWDC’s. If you host it outside of San Francisco, now you have to spend the time and money sending developers to location X. 

Certainly, Apple could afford to do that. Can they afford to take engineers away from their projects for the additional weeks? 

Here’s another thing for you to think about? I may be wrong, but I thought I had read something in the stories about the new “mothership” headquarters in Cupertino being large enough to host WWDC there. 

Could they scale the conference up and host it at the “mothership”? 

While I would love for Apple to do something to allow more developers to attend WWDC, there are no easy solutions. 

 

RIP Steve Jobs

Well, fuck…

Steve Jobs is dead…

I can’t even begin to express how I feel about this. Numb, really. I know how much of an impact this man has had upon me, even though I have never met him or even had a chance to attend a live “Stevenote.”

If you don’t read beyond this point, please take a look at this video of Steve Jobs giving a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. It’s one of the most compelling things I’ve seen in a long time.

Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement Speech

It’s so weird to be this distraught over the loss of someone I’ve never met. Yet, unlike so many people, I have at least some inkling of just how much Steve has made an impact on my life.

I know because I own many of the very products he created. I know firsthand that the iPhone is simply one of the best smartphones out there, and it has been and continues to leap ahead of its competition. I’ve experience the “magic” of the iPad. I’m typing this on one of the Macintosh computers I own.

Don’t believe it? There are several sites that have images of smartphones “Pre iPhone” and “Post iPhone”; look at those images and try to tell me that Apple and Steve Jobs have not had an impact on the market.

Don’t believe it? When was the last time you bought a music CD? How long before you ripped said CD to MP3 or some other audio format in order drop onto an iPod, iPhone, or other device?

Don’t believe it? Look at the success that Apple has had with the iPad in 18 months. Apple used this quote in yesterday’s press conference from someone (I forgot who) ” There’s no such thing as a tablet market, only an iPad market.” Look at all of the companies trying to jump on that bandwagon.

I’ve seen how Steve’s influence on others, both meeting people who have worked at Apple and who have gone “indie” and have abandoned the “safe, secure” jobs in order to develop software for these products.

It’s hard to describe. I guess the best way to experience it would be to spend a week at Microsoft’s Tech Ed visiting with people, then go to Apple’s WWDC. Hell, just go to any one of several iOS or Mac developer conferences that have been springing up outside of WWDC.

People at TechEd are there largely because their respective employers paid to send them there. WWDC attendees are people spending their own money, their own vacation time in order to be there. Others are already indie developers, and attending is part of the business, but it’s also a chance to spend time with other like-minded developers both during the conference and after-hours.

Spend thirty minutes talking with these indie developers. Spend thirty minutes talking to developer Mike Lee about Appsterdam. All of these guys have been “touched” by Steve. They don’t want to just make software, they want to make GREAT software. They aspire to make products that live up to the high standards that Apple sets, both through its guidance to developers in documentation, but more importantly, through the amazing applications that they build in-house.

The iOS/MacOS developer community is a great community of people always willing to help others with their problems as well as help encourage others on their own trek to indiehood.

Losing Steve Jobs so suddenly and at such a young age ( or, more relevant, an age that is a lot closer to my own age than I’d care for) makes you wonder what it is that you’re doing with your own life.

I want to follow my heart, but as much as it is easy for someone (even Steve) to say it, it’s not so easy to do. Maybe part of it is simply not knowing. For me, maybe the problem is that I’m not taking the time to stop and listen to what my heart truly wants. Whose dream am I following? Mine? Or someone else’s?

To an extent, I am so deep into this rut professionally that I’ve been digging for myself for longer than I care to admit, it’s hard to see above the rim.

But… I want to get out. I need to get out.

Why? Because that’s what Steve would do.

Thank you, Steve, for everything you’ve done. You’ve found a way to capture the future and put it into our hands.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.