Shuttering Macworld/iWorld

We received news today that IDG has shuttered Macworld/iWorld for 2015. IDG is calling it a hiatus but I can’t really see how, after they’ve shut it down, they will ever get the momentum necessary to start it again.

Like many in the community, I find this information heart wrenching. In our world of Apple geeks, we all are adept at connecting with each other via those screens on our desks and in our pockets. However, none of this digital communication comes close to the value of gathering the tribe once a year and breaking bread together in San Francisco.

In my case, I don’t make my living spending all day being MacSparky. I’ve got a day job. Every year, however, for one glorious week I get to lay down that mantle and just be a geek with the some of the best geeks on the planet. Macworld Expo has, for so many years, been my Mecca.

I don’t hold any hard feelings toward IDG over this. They are a business and someone looked at a spreadsheet and made a tough decision. I’ll be forever thankful to Paul Kent, Kathy Moran, and the rest of the gang at IDG that poured their lives into making the show an annual success. Most of all, I’ll be sad that I can’t go back next year.

At this point, I’m hoping that somebody figures out a way to do something like Macworld in the future. Our community needs an excuse to gather.

Macworld Photo Stream

In the past two days I’ve given five presentations and attended 4 parties. Other than that, I’ve not been doing much. Here’s my photo stream from the Macworld show floor.

Macworld 2014

As I hit the publish button I’m cruising through the California central valley in the family minivan. I really love going to Macworld every year. I love all the geeky stuff on the show floor. I love the content and the parties. But most of all, I love meeting old friends and making new ones. I recently talked about Macworld with Chuck Joiner on his Mac Voices podcast.

If you are at Macworld this year and see me, please stop me and say hello, whether you are an old friend or a new one. If you are normally introverted, this is the time to put that aside and let your geek flag fly. We’re all family in Moscone at Macworld.

You can definitely find me at the following places:

Thursday, March 27

Drobo Booth, Show Floor, 1PM

Katie Floyd and I will be talking about how we use our Drobos.

Mac Power Users Workflows, 3PM, Room 133

Katie and I will be demonstrating some of our favorite workflows from five years of the Mac Power Users along with a few new ones.

Macworld Rapid Fire, 5:00 – 6:30 PM, Room 103

Imagine a room full of geeks, with each getting only 5 minutes to explain something cool. I’m one of the speakers and hoping to make my few minutes special.

Friday, March 28

Mac Roundtable, 11:30 AM, Show Floor

The Mac Roundtable is a collection of podcasters. We’ll be doing a live show on the show floor with Chuck Joiner riding heard.

Paperless, 2:00 PM, Room 123

Despite the book, I’ve never actually given a Paperless presentation at Macworld. That’ll change this year.

Saturday, March 29

App Camp for Girls, 10:00 AM

Jean MacDonald is running a 2 hour App Camp session starting at 10:00 AM. My family will be there in force with my wife and I helping Jean, my youngest daughter in the camp, and my oldest daughter shooting video.

The Incomparable Live, Computer Draft 12:00AM, Show Floor

The Incomparable podcast is recording a live session on Saturday where we’ll be doing a computer draft. This will be my first time on the Incomparable and have to admit, I’m pretty jacked up about it.

Bring Your Daughter to App Camp for Girls at Macworld/iWorld

App Camp for Girls and Macworld/iWorld are joining forces this year to offer a special App Camp for Girls on March 29 right in Moscone Center during Macworld. They are looking for girls 12 and up to come and learn about app development. If you were already thinking about going to Macworld, why not bring your daughter along so she can join in the geek-fest. That’s what I’m doing. Girls planning on attending the App Camp can get a free pass with this link. 

Macworld/iWorld moves to Late March 2014

Next year’s Macworld/iWorld expo, previously scheduled for Superbowl weekend (January 31-February 2), just moved to March 27 through March 29, 2014. has the full story. While I have to admit I’d have no problem giving up the Super Bowl for Macworld, I’m not sure everyone would agree. I think this move is a good one. Moreover, the new date means I don’t have to leave town on my wife’s birthday.

I’ve written before that I believe Macworld has found its groove since Apple left. Moving the date further helps draw the distinction between the Macworld of old and the Macworld of now. It’s no longer competing with CES. Instead, it takes place months later.

So now we’ve all got a year’s notice and no excuse not to make plans to attend next March. It’s just not right how much I enjoy attending Macworld every year.

Macworld Transformation

I’m writing this from my desk back at MacSparky headquarters having returned from another Macworld/iWorld conference and exposition. It seems to me the post-Apple transformation is complete.

When I first attended Macworld, it took up multiple halls and was a frantic, glorious, nerd-zoo. It took several days to walk all of the show floors and finding the gems between the iPod case manufacturers (Yes, I said iPod.) was like a geeky treasure hunt. (That is how I originally found 1Password when they had a very tiny stand hidden behind Apple’s omni-presence.)

Then Apple left.

For the first few years after that, the show organizers had their work cut out for them convincing other large companies to stick with the show in light of Apple’s departure and getting people to attend against a perception that the show was finished. I think they did a remarkable job in those first few years in just keeping the show going.

Over a period of time, however, Macworld didn’t just survive. Macworld/iWorld found its groove.

Rather than focussing on Apple and its latest whizzy announcement, Macworld/iWorld has turned on itself focussing on attendees and users instead. There were numerous exhibits throughout Moscone showing off artwork created using Apple technologies.There was a constant stream of people playing music and creating. People stopped me in the hallway to ask about creating children’s books. Users were playing drums and dancing. Macworld became a celebration of creative iFans.

The show is definitely more intimate. The exhibitors fill one hall now instead of two but there is even an upside to that . The exhibitor signal to noise ration has improved. Where you used to have to wade through 7 plastic case manufacturers to find one interesting product, that is no longer (excuse the pun) the case. Moreover, a lot of the case manufacturers that were present had interesting cases. (One included a bottle opener and had an app to keep track of exactly how many Heinekens you’d opened. I was so tempted to buy one of those and mail it off to Jim Dalrymple.) Another benefit of the intimacy of the show floor is that it is even easier for users to get through to decision makers and the programmers that make the products they love. When it comes to expositions, certainly bigger is better. However, as an attendee, I really enjoyed myself on the show floor.

The Macworld/iWorld organizers also lowered the price of the iFan pass making it easier to get into the conferences. It is now much more reasonable to take classes from some really smart people and a few goofy ones. I couldn’t believe I filled the room for my iBooks Author session. Moreover, the room had this kumbaya feel that made talking about iBooks Author an absolute joy.

And then there was the social piece. Making friends with complete strangers that share a love of all things Apple and catching up with old friends is an absolute joy. To all my friends (new and old) that I met with at Macworld, thank you for giving me an amazing experience.

I am thrilled with this new Macworld and hope it continues many years into the future. Speaking as someone who has a day job, I find my yearly pilgrimage to Moscone Center absolutely necessary for my sanity. My thanks and gratitude go to Paul Kent, Kathy Moran, and everyone else at IDG for making it happen.

Below are several more pictures from Day 3 at Macworld.