Geoff Pado

Why I Didn't Do WWDC Parties This Year

I’ve been avoiding writing this post because I wanted to leave open the possibility of coming back and actually building a WWDC Parties 2017. However, at this point, most of the major events are already announced and sold out, so it seems a bit pointless to do so. As such, I wanted to write a bit of an explanation/apology to anyone waiting for this year’s website.

I also want to apologize to the site’s co-creator, Emily Stewart. She wanted to continue to run the site this year; it was only my hesitation that killed it.

Content

Over the seven years (2010—2016) I’ve been running WWDC Parties, there’s been a trend in the types of parties listed. In 2010, most of the events were community-driven, tight-knit get-togethers. I believe the most popular event that year was the sfMacIndie dinner, held in a small bar across the street from Moscone. In 2016, however, most of the listed are thinly-veiled recruiting fairs held at Bay Area offices. I’m not going to name names here, but by far, the most popular events tend to have venture-backed startup names in them.

There are still some amazing recurring events (most of which are listed on Apple’s page already, such as the Breakpoints concert and Beard Bash), but these are by far the exception rather than the norm, and the trend is only going in the direction of more self-promotional than community-based.

There’s nothing wrong with these recruiting events, per se, but they aren’t what got me interested in putting WWDC Parties together in 2010. And let’s face it, companies like the ones throwing these parties don’t need me to give them free advertising.

Passion

WWDC Parties was more than just a place for me to list events I wanted people to know about (or invite me to 🙂) . It was also a place for me to try out new technologies or learn new techniques. It was my first experience with JavaScript web frameworks (via SproutCore), with Sinatra, and with Clojure, all three of which I went on to use in professional projects.

After eight years, though, the well has run a little dry. Unless I’m massively re-writing WWDC Parties every year in a new language, there’s not a lot more it can teach me. I’m also not using server-side technologies much at my current job. All this leaves the act of actually building WWDC Parties more of a chore than a fun side project.

Meanwhile, I have other side projects going on that are taking up most of my spare time. I’ve already released Scrawl (and two updates, including one where I got to teach myself some icon design), and I’m still hoping to have my other new project out before WWDC.

Pace

By far, however, the biggest problem facing WWDC Parties over the last few years has been one of pace. While I could previously get away with releasing a site two weeks before the conference, and tweeting events when I got off work, that just doesn’t fly these days. I’m sitting here writing this blog post about how we’re too late almost a month out, and there’s a reason for that. Truth is, a lot of the events that people want to go to have sold out in minutes or hours the last few years, and I just can’t keep up. The @WWDCParties Twitter account caught a lot of flak for this last year especially. (Why did we tweet this event that’s already sold out? Because that’s when I saw it!)

Likewise, we’re also often late in shipping the actual website (because it’s often something Emily and I can only work on on weekends and evenings). By the time the site shipped, often it was already useless, as most of the events had long side out. As such, people were relying more and more on the half-assed Twitter feed than the thing we had put most of our time and effort into.


All of the above are reasons WWDC Parties won’t be around for 2017. If you’ve been waiting for it to make its annual appearance, I’m truly sorry. I haven’t yet decided if this is a permanent sunsetting of WWDC Parties or just a “year off”; it’s possible there will be a revival next year if situations change.