360iDev 2017 Takeaways

360iDev is a long standing iOS developer conference held out in Denver, Colorado. This was my first year attending after hearing many good things from friends. Some quick notes:

  • Sunday, was a pre-conference education day. It had a mix of full day and half day workshops. I think there was some good content to be had, but I don’t think the majority of the workshops were scheduled and paced right. Some felt like runaway session presentations, more than training. I will admit though I am very biased in what I like to see in my workshops / bootcamp environments being a teacher myself.
  • Monday saw the official kickoff of the conference. The opening keynote from Soroush Khanlou reviewed how his own blog had influenced his career and encouraged us all to share more, which I think is great.
  • The closing keynote on Monday came from Mike Lee and he tore apart the tech industry’s obsession with growth and how it has negatively impacted us all. He wasn’t afraid to point out how we enable it and I will say, while Mike’s loud presence can sometimes put me off, he does get me thinking.
  • Tuesday opened with a second blast of harsh reality with Jay Freeman’s, “That’s How You Get a Dystopia”. In this talk Jay pointed out how we are enabling some pretty scary scenarios, from the fragility of the Tor network, to Apple pulling VPNs from China. For more personal actionable ideas, Jay pointed out how we could augment our own data capturing methods to make sure if the data is ever breached its value could be lessened, eg: no need to capture the identifiable IP addresses of people when zip codes will do and are not 1:1 trackable).
  • Tuesday closed with a Stump the Experts panel and funny enough I ended up on the panel. (Must be my gray hair.) I was very happy to get an Apple IIc piracy/drm question right. Was also happy to hear Conrad’s Philly CocoaHead talk get quoted as a source to help the panel get 10 points for some other question.
  • On Wednesday, John (conference organizer) opened with a very transparent take on how this year conference went and it’s trajectory. While there are many positives experiences it was sad to hear the conference ended up running as a ~$10,000 loss this year. This is obviously a labor of love for John and his crew and to have a negative cash flow on top of all the volunteering is disappointing. They have started up a new Patreon to try help balance the loss. I’m signed up for a $10 monthly donation and if you want to support one of the longest running iOS conferences I’d love to see you join too.
  • Lunches came in the form of vouchers to visit the local eateries in favor of drab hotel catering which I think worked out great. Getting out of the hotel for some sun is a nice break too. My only real feedback here, would be to extend the lunch break a bit more, since I got the feeling more than a handful were late when returning and it’s not fair for the people doing presentations after lunch break.
  • The sessions themselves broke down into a mix of technical and social/skill topics and there were usually a choice of 3 or 4 per time slot. The fact that there were many hard choices is a good sign for the content’s quality.
  • I did two talks. One was on Running a Meetup and the other on Code Review. The Meetup talk had light attendance, which I kind of expected going in — it’s a niche topic. But, for the people who did come, they seemed to enjoy and I’m looking forward to seeing it hosted online for others. The Code Review talk saw a good crowd and many even stayed well after for discussion in favor of running out to lunch which I took as a good sign.
  • Walking away from the conference I’m very excited to get back to work and try some of these things out (both on current projects and new ideas). I also have a strong feeling to get more into open sourcing my code and in general sharing my work.

My thanks to John and all of the rest of the staff.