Last week I attended NSConference USA which was the conference’s first visit to the States. I had an awesome time and I will definitely return to NSConference next year. Heck, I might even attend both the USA and UK events.
The sense of community combined with the unique structure of the conference made for a wonderful time. NSConference is different from other developer related conferences in that there are not multiple tracks during the day. Instead all the attendees, called delegates at NSConference, sit in the same room and listen to the same talks. The other difference is the 30 minute break between sessions. This combination makes for a great conference going experience.
Why does the combination work so well? As a delegate I didn’t have to run from room to room to hear different talks and to find a new seat. I’m able to leave my gear in one spot for the entire day, and because I don’t have to run room to room I can spend more time meeting and talking with other delegates. This is were the 30 minute breaks really help out.
At other conferences my chats between sessions are never long enough to really get to know other developers. The 30 minute breaks at NSConference gives you plenty of time to chat with folks you already know and to meet new ones. And because of this I actually met more people at NSConference then I have at the last 3 conferences I have attended.
And meeting other iPhone and Mac developers has never been so easy. I arrived in Atlanta late Saturday afternoon not knowing a single person. Within an hour and a half I was talking with other delegates, having beers, and sharing stories. I feel like I met close to 90 percent of all the delegates by the end of the conference, and I definitely formed new friendships with a good number of those that I met. As someone who works from home, making these connections and feeling apart of a community is very important to me. And this aspect alone makes attending NSConference worth well.
I haven’t said much about the session talks yet. And yes, the talks were great. I found every topic useful and informative. The speakers really know their stuff and I learned tons. If you are seeking knowledge in Mac and iPhone development than there is no better independent developer conference. But more important to me were the connections I made with others in the iPhone and Mac development community. And this includes getting to know the speakers as well.
There are many more good things I can say about NSConference. For instance, the party Monday night was a blast. Eating at the Silver Skillet each morning was a great way to start the day. Dinner and drinks each night with the delegates was so much fun. The only negative part of the conference for me were the lunches, though many folks told me the lunches were better than those offered at WWDC.
Lunches aside, NSConference is a must attend conference for all iPhone and Mac developers.