As someone who's been indie for a long time, I really can't overstate how beneficial attending a few conferences every year can be. On the surface of it, people go to conferences to learn. But as most seasoned conference goers will tell you, the real reason they go is to hang out with their peers and make new connections.
A conference is the excuse people need to go and be with other like minded people for a few days. The speaker topics act as a theme to the conversion.
Going to conferences is honestly hands down one of the best things you can do for your business (especially if you're indie). It's your chance to meet a lot of other great developers, designers, people from Apple, and hang out with members of the press. I'm fairly introverted (aren't we all?), but I know going to conferences has certainly helped me out over the years. I've made a bunch of new friends, got some useful contacts, and had a blast while doing it.
If you're thinking about attending some conferences this year (and you should be), but you're not sure where to start, then you're in luck! I've put together a list of some of the best conferences for Mac and iOS developers that I know of. The best of the best.
Honestly, if you do anything this year, go to at least one of these. You'll look back in years to come and realise this was one of the best decisions you ever made for you and your business.
A conference for Apple developers, designers, and enthusiasts, held in the heart of Yosemite National Park. This ones a little different, I've not been but it sounds like a blast.
Dates: 14 — 17 March 2016
Location: Yosemite National Park
Hear from a diverse group of speakers with talks that will inspire you. Learn new things, meet new friends, hear from industry-leading speakers, and explore new ideas. What more could you want?
Dates: 28 — 30 April 2016
Price: $799.00 (CAD)
An independent conference for serious iOS developers. UIKonf features inspiring speakers giving talks on cutting edge topics in iOS development, mobile design and business.
Dates: 22 — 25 May 2016
Featuring more than 100 technical sessions, over 1,000 Apple engineers, hands-on labs, and the Apple Design Awards. This is my favorite conference of the year, unfortunately tickets are assigned via lottery, so there's no guarantee you'll be one of the lucky ones with a golden ticket.
If you're thinking about going this year, you should check out my guide to WWDC.
Even if you don't get a ticket you should still go to San Francisco and hang out at AltConf. Fingers crossed it'll happen again this year.
Dates: TBC (Probably June)
Location: San Francisco
A smaller, more intimate conference. I've not been to it, but it's always highly recommend by people that have. It's also in its 6th year so they must be doing something right.
Dates: 5 — 8 September 2016
Location: Aberystwyth, Wales
A conference about building businesses. I missed out on this one last year, but I'm planning on attending this year.
Dates: 27 — 29 September 2016
Location: Indianapolis, IN
A conference for people who build and love great products. Being close-ish to home, this is another conference I'd love to attend this year. See you there, maybe…
Dates: 1–2 November 2016
Location: Killarney, Ireland
Beware of Conference Overload!
If none of these conference take your fancy or you're looking for something else then TidBITS has a list of over 30 Mac and iOS conferences. I've not heard of, or been to some of the conferences on the TidBITS list so your millage may vary.
You can overdo it on conferences so be careful, moderation is the key here. Do your research and pick the ones that you think you'll get the most out of. For me, I'd say two to three conferences a year is more than enough.
As with most things in life, it's quality not quantity.