Going to conferences is one of the best things you can do for your business (especially if you're just starting out). It's your chance to meet other developers, designers, people from Apple, and get to know members of the press. I'm introverted, but I know going to conferences has helped me out so much over the years. I've made new friends, met with useful contacts, and had a blast while doing it.
I always come away feeling inspired and more connected with the Apple community. It may feel like it’s a lot of effort for what is essentially a few days of socialising, but it’s so much more than that.
- I find taking a few days away working on our current projects at Realmac gives me some room to think and makes me feel energised and excited to get back to building great software.
- Being able to talk to other developers about what has been working for them or what they are planning to do is useful, especially when it comes to App Store sustainability (One of the hottest topics at any Apple-centric conference).
- The most obvious reason to go is, of course to watch the Speakers. While I find not every speaker hits the mark, there’s always a bunch that do. An excellent talk has the power to change your life, literally making you question and strive to improve everything about your business.
- The community aspect is a big part of any conference, but especially smaller conferences. When you're running an indie business it’s always good to meet and chat with other people in a similar situation as the advice and information you come away with can be priceless.
- Getting to know people in the press (and at Apple) is also vital. If you want to get anywhere with creating a sustainable business it’s essential you make some excellent connections. Go ahead and seek out the people you want to meet, but remember to be honest and try not to force those relationship. Just be yourself. Having some good contacts always pays dividends in the years to come (for both parties, it's often not a one sided thing).
I don’t recommend going to every conference you come across, pick and choose wisely. I usually only go to two or three conferences a year, I find this is more than enough for me. If this is your first year or two of running your own company or things aren’t going so well, I’d recommend going to as many as you can.
This year I skipped WWDC and chose Release Notes in Chicago instead. I don’t regret the decision. For me, it was one of the best conferences I’ve attended in a long time as it was perfectly pitched at the indie Mac/iOS community.