Reflections on Macworld 

This year was my first Macworld, and to be honest, I really thought I knew what to expect. I figured there would be a big expo floor, lined with booths hawking iPhone cases that I have no interest in. I assumed I’d get to meet fellow writers, some developers and Internet heroes.

What I didn’t plan on was having an absolute blast while doing it.

The Expo

I’ve went to several sessions. I saw Merlin Mann speak with David Sparks and Brett Terpstra. I met Fletcher Penney, Mike Vardy and more. I got to hang out with developers of some of my favorite apps, and talk about what they have in the pipeline for this year.

I heard several panels with the big names in Apple journalism like Jason Snell and John Gruber. I’ve got more items in my OmniFocus inbox than ever before, with ideas and products intertwined with tasks.

The Humans

Above all of that, I got to spend time with guys like Brett Kelly, Shawn Blanc, Ben Brooks, Thomas Brand, Matt Alexander and more. Guys whose work I’ve respected of years, and with whom I’ve enjoyed friendships with across things like Twitter and iMessage.

We shared meals, walked around the city and went to Cupertino together this week. We’ve talked about having kids, writing and more. We’ve swung from serious conversations to making poop jokes.

I’ve struggled with questions concerning online friendships in the past. This week, I learned that people I know from the Internet are real people and – more importantly – that our friendships are real, even though we don’t see each other most of the time.

Having a beer in person is just icing on the cake. God, I love icing.

The Future

The future of the Macworld Expo is a big question mark, I think. The new name (Macworld | iWorld) is terrible, but it shows the very rift that is ever-expanding down the middle of the Apple community.

On one side, the old-school. The guy wearing the NeXT shirt. Guys like me, who have used the Mac basically their whole lives, and wouldn’t learn much from the Mac IT track.

On the other side, the customers all of those companies with the busty Asian chicks luring nerds into booths. While it is clear that iOS is the cornerstone of Apple’s business today, I’m not sure the community behind it will every be as tight-not as the one that formed around the Macintosh.

This event straddles the divide, trying to offer something to everyone, and thus keeping both groups happy. While Apple is trying it as well, I’m not sure that at the end of day it’s all that possible. Apple might be able to pull it off, but I’m not convinced Macworld can.

If the flashy, consumer-oriented community wins, at least I can hang out with all my friends. That’s more than enough for me.