Over the weekend I took a short trip to Woodstock, Illinois, where I attended, for the first time, the Macstock conference. Macstock has been going on for several years. The conference grew out of a lot of friends who used to attend Macworld looking for an excuse to get together. I’ve been hearing about the conference from friends for years and was delighted to have the time to attend this year.
It looked to me like there were about 150 attendees, and I watched a lot more presentations than I usually do at a conference. The speakers were all excellent, and the content was designed to help users up their game. Content covered both iOS and Mac platforms with an emphasis on productivity, which was, of course, right in my wheelhouse.
The conference facility, with comfy seats, was great. Also, the WiFi worked flawlessly.
The Macstock team dialed in the operation and everything just happened, without drama. The speakers had a ton of support from getting mic’d up to getting their slides on the screen.
They also fed everyone lunch every day, which gave all of the attendees a chance to get to know each other. I really liked that. Indeed, if I had one suggestion for the Macstock team, I would like to see even more space between sessions going forward for speakers and attendees to socialize even more.
The Social Aspect
On that point, I particularly enjoyed the social aspects of Macstock. I met people ranging from high school students to retirees, and they were all friendly and passionate about getting the most from their Apple technology.
When I first arrived, I attended a social event where I saw about 20 people that I had not seen since the last Macworld and immediately knew I was home. It wasn’t just old friends though. I made plenty of new ones. I found connecting in the flesh with other like-minded humans even more satisfying than the Macstock content.
This Is Not Macworld
Macworld Expo was glorious anarchy. They had something like 20,000 people between their exposition hall and conference tracks. It offered a lot more people, content, vendors, and madness.
Macstock is different. It’s more intimate and friendlier. Moreover, it’s the kind of conference that can survive at a time that Macworld could not.
Having attended, I can easily see myself going back. If you would like to spend a weekend with fellow Apple nerds, I would recommend it to you as well. While the conference is intimate, and that is part of its appeal, I think it would be even better with 100 more attendees. If you are interested, mark your calendar for some time around the last weekend of July next year.