Under the Radar

Under the Radar 24: Should You Register for a WWDC Ticket?


  welcome to under the radar a show about

  independent iOS app development I'm

  Marco Arment and I'm David Smith under

  the radar is never longer than 30

  minutes so let's get started so today we

  wanted to talk about WWDC it was just

  announced as we record it was just

  announced a little less than a day ago

  and we wanted to talk about whether you

  want to go or not because right now

  they're doing this kind of lottery

  system just like in the last couple of

  years where you can you can register to

  get a ticket and you have to commit to

  buy it to register and then if they if

  you if you win the lottery and if you

  get awarded a ticket they charge your

  credit card that you've registered with

  them it's not refundable so you

  basically have to like pre-commit $1,600

  to potentially getting this ticket if

  you want a chance of getting one at all

  so this raises the obvious question for

  a lot of us of well do I do I want to

  try for this or not and David I'm

  curious did you register and if so why I

  did I have a lot of reasons why I

  registered for WDC it's I it's very

  important for me personally and some of

  these things will only apply to the way

  that I run like my business and the way

  my business is structured but for me WDC

  is a very unique opportunity like the

  actual event going to it beyond just

  like the the things that I could do at

  home you know like there's I think this

  year for the they're going to be

  live-streaming the sessions in past

  years it's been the videos were

  available a few hours later and so if

  you were just going wanting to go to the

  conference if you were just want to get

  the information that's presented from

  stage there's really no need to go to

  WDC there's no reason to go to San

  Francisco like you could just do that at

  home for me though

  the thing about WDC that makes me want

  to go like there's the there's the main

  reason and there's like a kind of a

  secondary reason the main reason for me

  is the labs so every year at WCC it's

  kind of the way it's structured just

  probably is good to have a bit of a

  quick overview there's like on Monday

  and this week this year it's from I

  think the 13th to the 18th of June now

  on the Monday they'll have kind of like

  the big keynote addresses in the morning

  there's usually the like the executive

  one so you know where Tim Koch and Phil

  Schiller and those kind of

  people will come up on stage and give

  the broad strokes of Apple's vision for

  you know then the next generation of

  their software typically you know so

  what's coming in iOS so is 10 watch OST

  vos like the big high-level things we'll

  break for lunch and then they'll have

  the developer State of the Union type of

  thing where they talk in greater

  technical depth about in all the things

  that were said in the morning and then

  the rest of the week

  Tuesday through Friday is broken up into

  there'll be sessions which are you know

  sort of powerful or keynote

  presentations talking about the various

  technologies that are introduced or

  things that are new things that you want

  to learn about and those are gonna be

  live streamed and available and then

  downstairs yeah at most the Moscone West

  Center where it's held they have the

  labs which are we're a bunch of Apple

  engineers essentially I think they

  usually say it's something like about a

  thousand engineers are on hand in very

  at various times throughout the week

  we'll sit down and they'll have sort of

  office hours where you can come in and

  talk to people on the various technical

  teams so say I'm having a problem with

  core emotion I can go to the core

  emotion lab and I can sit down and I can

  talk to somebody who either wrote the

  API is that I'm working with or knows

  the person who did and for me that's the

  part that is completely irreplaceable

  and in some ways honestly kind of

  essential for the way I do my business

  because I have kind of made a living on

  looking at Apple's newest platforms and

  their newest technologies and being one

  of the first people to adopt them in

  whatever form that looks like you know

  so whenever there's a new like I just

  did with activity plus plus like there

  was this new API for active accessing

  activity data I submitted my app the

  moment it was possible to do that and

  you know that works out and for me WDC

  is this tremendous opportunity to go and

  talk to people about not really like the

  what of what was announced like things

  think things did you get from the video

  where they say like here's the five new

  api's here's the new things here's

  what's going on but being able to go and

  talk to an engineer about it's kind of

  why and to be able to say like well this

  is like I think I can go and I can but

  I'll tend to do is I'll sit down and

  kind of bang out a really rough

  prototype of something

  I'm thinking about maybe working on this

  summer go ahead down to the lab and be

  like hey this is how I'm doing it and is

  this a reasonable approach like nothing

  even more specific than is this a

  reasonable approach and you will often

  be from conversations than with those

  engineers you can understand why they're

  doing things the way they are and for me

  that's kind of essential and I'm ready

  to register for ticket I got my fingers

  crossed that he'll be one of the ones

  who's been selected for that reason and

  then secondarily and a bit more

  amusingly I love going to wvc because

  it's almost like every year

  being at an iOS developer there are a

  lot of things that are frustrating there

  are a lot of things that are challenging

  and that can kind of wear on you after a


  and the thing with about WB DC is I've

  been I had the privilege of going I

  think six times before six or seven it's

  quite a few and every time I go I always

  leave that BBC feeling excited motivated

  and just kind of like jazzed about the

  platform and the cool things that are

  coming and it you could say it's kind of

  like going big it's like I go to San

  Francisco and I drink the kool-aid again

  and that's kind of like the negative way

  to look at it or you could just say like

  it's it's a time to go and reconnect

  with the things that originally made me

  so excited for this platform and kind of

  wash away some of the things that may

  have been frustrating in the previous

  year and kind of recenter and focus on

  okay you know what's gonna happen the

  next year and so for me the $1,600 and

  throwing my name in the Hat like just

  makes perfect sense yeah I mean I have

  mostly the same kind of feelings about


  I also registered and I also you know

  put down the potential $1,600 to

  potentially get a ticket for me it's

  it's it's mostly about the community

  side at this point because the technical

  stuff is you know while it is strong and

  it is very good you also don't you know

  increasingly you have to be there less

  and less to get it because every year

  you know it used to be back in the olden

  days back when you could sell apps for

  money it used to be that they they would

  they would put up the videos like three

  months after the conference or something

  like that and then every year as as the

  as the conference has has become more

  and more oversold and overcapacity

  they've tried to address that issue of

  like there's so many people who want to

  be there but just can't get a ticket

  because there aren't enough or they

  can't get out there for scheduling the

  work reasons or the other problem is

  it's just a lot of money and a lot of

  people cannot afford to put down the

  probably all in four thousand dollars

  that you'll that you'll be in to to do

  this trip something like that because a

  big part of which is the hotel but see

  how that goes so it's a lot of money

  it's a it's you know a week off of work

  that you have to go do this so a lot of

  people can't be there so what they've

  been doing is making the videos

  available earlier and earlier to the

  point where oh and also dropping the

  requirement that even had to be a paying

  developer member to even watch them that

  used to be the case now any developer

  can watch them for free and you don't

  have to have been there you don't need

  the hundred dollar full membership level

  any any developer can watch these videos

  and the videos himself have gotten

  better they have transcripts and that's

  searchable and all that stuff and the

  production value has gone up and

  everything and they are now releasing

  them so fast last year they were

  released like within a day or so of them

  of the talks happening and this year

  they're saying as you mentioned this

  year they're gonna be live broadcast in

  them which has never happened before for

  anything beyond the initial keynote so

  increasingly there's less and less

  reason why you need to be there as a

  developer and that's why if I you know

  in past years I have been so scared that

  I wouldn't get a ticket and I've been

  very lucky that for the last seven years

  I have gotten a ticket and all the one

  year I had to sign up to developer

  accounts two together but this year if I

  don't get a ticket I don't think I'm

  gonna be as disappointed and I'm still

  gonna go and and there's a whole

  question of like whether you should go

  out to San Francisco for that week

  anyway even if you don't get a ticket

  cuz there are other things to do there

  are other events that people put on just

  not Apple but you know there's other

  conferences there's the layers

  conference there's alt conf there's a

  lot of like meetups and user groups and

  there's just all

  these developers who were all in town

  that week and so there's lots of social

  events if you have any developer friends

  or if you just go to a bar near Moscone

  you will find developers and you can

  make developer friends and so there's

  there's a lot of reasons to be there

  regardless so if I don't get a ticket

  this year I think what I will miss the

  most is kind of the the fun of like

  being in the building and like going to

  sessions live and and go into the

  keynote waiting with waiting with you

  and John and Casey in line and and like

  doing all that stuff

  well I really miss the line maybe it's

  part of the fun I'll miss the

  camaraderie of the line but maybe not

  the duration of it but you know

  ultimately I will have fun that week out

  there regardless of whether I get a

  ticket or not so the ticket will

  basically if I get the ticket the value

  of it is in structuring my day and

  giving me a place I have to be all day

  every day and and a venue to go to and

  and things to see and and talks to see

  and and kind of the the the focus of

  having it be like my only job this week

  is to watch these sessions and then

  socialize at night but you know my my

  primary job this week is to watch these

  sessions live because when they post the

  videos afterwards it's a little harder

  to find the time to sit down and do it

  because if you're just sitting at home

  in your office you have all sorts of

  other work to do you might have a family

  to also take care of so like your whole

  life is is pressuring you during all

  other times of the year that you should

  probably be doing something else rather

  than sitting and watching a whole bunch

  of videos for api's and stuff that you

  might not even be using yet that you

  might just think might be interesting

  you know when are you gonna find him to

  do that well if you're there your job is

  to go to those things that is the reason

  you're there you have that time kind of

  carved out and that is what your focus

  is if you if you're not there or if

  you're there without a ticket it's less

  focused so I feel like I will miss that

  that kind of focus and forced attention

  on on the sessions because that's a good

  thing however probably the biggest thing

  I would miss would be

  the Mosconi sandwiches no just kidding

  it'll be the labs it would be you know

  as you know as as you mentioned like

  having the labs having access to the

  Apple engineers has not always but has

  reasonably frequently provided me with

  pretty good information oftentimes very

  good information so I that is the part I

  would miss the most if I don't get a

  ticket but the rest of the conference I

  feel like if you've if you've gone to

  them for a few years you kind of know

  what it is assuming they don't change it

  you know Matt massively which is not

  necessarily a safe assumption because

  they are already doing like the keynote

  at the Bill Graham auditorium and so

  what we're gonna see like there there's

  some changes in the event here but I

  feel like I've gotten so much out of it

  in previous years that maybe it's time

  for a break I don't know I don't know I

  think I'm certainly conflicted on the

  issue that's why like if if I do get a

  ticket okay well I don't need to think

  about it for another year and if I don't

  get a ticket I guess I'll see what


  and I think that's fair like it's like

  damnit what do you see is it's it's just

  it comes to this for me it comes into

  the strange middle ground between being

  like strictly rational and somewhat

  emotional like I have an affinity to it

  that is not just logical it's not just

  like oh it makes sense to go here like I

  have good reasons that I can justify to

  myself and I think there are real

  reasons for like I need to go and talk

  to people in the labs that are good but

  if I didn't get a ticket it would be sad

  in a way that it's just emotional like I

  remember you know it was 2009 was my

  first WWDC yeah me too and like I

  remember how exciting that felt and

  there's a certain amount of nostalgia or

  and just like affinity that I have for

  the event where I think about it and

  it's just it's just kind of fun like

  it's everybody there like loves and

  cares about the same things that I love

  and care about they're all doing the

  same job like it's a really fun

  environment to be in and that emotional

  part of just like

  every time I mean I've been to it for

  years but I still like when we you know

  you finally comes right before the

  keynote and you're kind of all

  everyone's kind of you know finally

  found their seats you're sitting down

  like the excitement of just being there

  in that room ever with everyone's kind

  of waiting and anticipating like what's

  gonna happen what's gonna you know

  what's going to come and in some ways

  like it's kind of impactful too because

  the things that are bad about to Annette

  be announced are potentially you like

  completely like a pet could potentially

  upend my business or change dramatically

  what I'm planning to do for the next

  three or four months and so that puts a

  bit of stakes on the announcements and

  so then being there for it like it just

  there's such an emotional excitement

  that comes from it that I think I would

  miss even more than like you know I

  would really be sad to not have the labs

  but just to not have that feeling of

  like it got it's like excitement is the

  best word I have of just well I don't

  love getting up and you know it's like

  really early in the morning and standing

  out in the San Francisco

  I guess winter because it's freezing

  cold and ajuna but like standing outside

  in that San Francisco winter where it's

  just freezing cold and you're kind of

  just like mulling around for a few hours

  before they let you in which who knows

  maybe at this new you know Civic

  Auditorium they'll have a better a

  better scheme for that rather than just

  like wrapping us around the block three

  times but there's something exciting

  about it and if you're a developer who's

  never been to WWDC it's it's a hard

  thing to like you know I don't even like

  explain that feeling that if you're

  looking at it and it's like you know

  like I can get all of you much all the

  information I need from just staying at

  home like that is absolutely true like

  there's no like a strict need to go to

  WTC the videos were live streamed if you

  have questions and problems and like you

  know had but that was something that

  would have been helpful to go to the

  labs you know there are people at Apple

  you can reach out to you like there's a

  whole evangelism team whose job it is to

  field similar types of questions but

  it's just never going to be the same and

  so I would encourage most people if he's

  officially even ever been to try is like

  put your name in and you know it's it's

  ever see everyone's mileage will you

  know will differ and like if you may

  just find

  not really your thing but for me Ivan

  every year I've come back I've always

  wanted to go back the next year I've

  never gone to WDC and then come back and

  said you know what that's probably it

  for me I'm probably done like every year

  I come back just more and more excited

  even as things have changed like it's

  been a wildly different thing you know

  back in 2009 what would what would that

  have been they were announcing iOS or

  probably iPhone OS for something might

  yeah four or five like that like it is

  so much has changed since then like I

  mean it's kind of the crazy things I

  remember when they introduced iCloud

  like that was like a big deal and one of

  them or that was Steve's last

  presentation or his last big one at

  least yeah certainly and I mean not me

  obviously that like that side of things

  is even more crazy when I think about

  the fact that I had sort of had the

  privilege of seeing Steve Jobs keynotes


  like that's kind of special in a way

  that's almost you know like a little

  overwhelming like it was it's like some

  having been able to I think I saw two or

  three that he would they presented at

  and just you know like seeing the legend

  is is really cool so that's kind of

  where I am but nothing like you say like

  I'm going out either way no matter what

  I will be in San Francisco from you know

  it's the Sunday before to the Friday

  after like I will be I will be there if

  I have a ticket awesome like as you say

  like it's lovely to give some structure

  if I don't I don't really know what I'll

  do during the day I mean I imagine I

  will watch some of the sessions maybe

  I'll do a bit more actual programming

  rather than watching and thinking about

  programming which I don't know if that's

  better or worse maybe it'll be a little

  easier on to socialize a bit more but

  one way or the other I'm gonna be there

  cuz I think even just even not being

  instant like past the door and being

  inside there's still something exciting

  about going to a place cuz I think I

  remember I think was Jason Snell I was

  was talking about this where he used to

  be like there were events like Macworld

  Expo which were as like a place where

  people could go to like be around

  like-minded people like people who cared

  about the same kind of things and you

  there's something kind of fun and

  exciting about that and now

  the main event for Apple like Apple

  minded people where if you you know so

  if you go there and just sort of like by

  osmosis we'll be surrounded by people

  who care about the same stuff like it's

  that one week this week in W in San

  Francisco and so like I would just go

  just for that just to be around these

  people you know there's all these there

  are many people who I only see once a

  year and I see them in San Francisco

  during WDC and like I have friend you

  you're sort of like whole friendships

  just based on that and so it's kind of

  fun to just have that as a thing oh yeah

  I mean that's that's why I like the idea

  of not going out there at all just

  didn't even occur to me that's why as

  soon as the date was firmly announced

  yesterday I booked the flight yeah and I

  don't know if I'm gonna have the

  conference badge or not yet but I booked

  the flight and I booked the hotel months

  ago cuz hotels are easily cancelable for

  no money and so like I booked the stuff

  because the the idea of not going never

  even entered my mind of course I'm going

  this is like this is the one conference

  that happens every year that it is like

  a fixed block on my calendar it is

  non-negotiable like it would take a lot

  for me not to go like it would have to

  be like some like massive family event

  like having a baby like then I wouldn't

  go but otherwise like it would be it

  would take a lot for me not to go to

  this whether I have taken or not and at

  you know the a little bit more on having

  tickets or not in a second but first I

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  make to thanks so if you're playing

  going into everybody see without a

  ticket there are a couple things that I

  would add to this just a little bit so

  first of all I agree with you David I'm

  a little concerned about what the heck I

  would do all day the good thing is there

  are a lot of people who go out there

  without tickets and so there are like

  little gatherings some sometimes like

  some some of the local companies like I

  think Twitter hosted the keynote

  watching party last year was that right

  that sounds right yeah and so like

  sometimes like local San Francisco

  companies who have offices in the area

  will will host developer get-togethers

  and meetups and little events to watch

  some of the live streams a lot of some

  people will just watch them like they'll

  like rent a little conference room in

  the hotel that they're in and just like

  have like a small gathering people to

  watch them there or people will just

  watch them privately in little groups of

  like two or three friends together so

  there are a lot of people who go out

  there the only thing is if you if you

  already know people you already like

  have established friends and contacts

  who will be there it's a lot easier if

  you're going out there and you don't

  know anybody yet I highly suggest trying

  to get that ticket because it's a lot

  it's it's not that it can't be done to

  go out there without knowing anybody and

  find people and make new friends but

  it's a lot harder if you don't have a

  ticket because if you're in the

  conference building then you're gonna be

  walking around and everybody around you

  is gonna be an iOS developer or Mac

  developer or a soon-to-be iOS or my

  developer everyone around he's gonna be

  part of that social group there and

  there's gonna be so many other people

  there who you know in the building who

  are looking to meet people looking to

  socialize and looking to make new

  friends looking to MIT to make contacts

  whereas if you're walking around the

  streets or sitting in a hotel room it's

  harder again it can be done but it's

  harder so if it's your first time out

  there if you don't have a lot of fun

  already in the in the community I do

  highly suggest tryna get that ticket it

  will help a lot and otherwise if you're

  if you are regardless of whether you

  know anybody out there or not if you're

  going out there to to hang out and to

  meet new people don't be afraid to go up

  to people who you see who you recognize

  if they're you know well-known

  developers or podcasters or bloggers

  that ever go up to them and say hi do

  not be the person who sits back in it

  and then tweets later oh I saw John

  Gruber today but I was too scared to say

  hi because you know what all of us like

  people who who you might know in this

  community we're all just normal people

  you don't have it's not like we're Brad

  Pitt you don't have to like be worried

  about coming up and saying hi cuz like

  it's really cool for us to have anybody

  in real life know who we are because

  that's amazing

  because every day is not like that and

  so go up to people I think you will find

  that this is a very friendly community

  and we are all know the vast majority of

  us are all socially awkward geeks and so

  you know if you are worried if you are a

  socially awkward geek you don't need to

  be worried about that because all of us

  are and we are very welcoming and you

  know we will we are likely just as

  nervous trying to have conversations

  with people we don't know as you might

  be but please come up and talk to

  anybody you find who you recognize also

  don't be afraid to you know to at reply

  you know if to mention people on Twitter

  to ask people like hey you know where's

  where are you hanging out tonight like

  you know like what are there any good

  parties that you might know or any good

  gatherings that that are public or

  whatever like if you were if you need

  access into a certain group of social a

  certain social community or group of

  friends who you're trying to meet or you

  know certain developer a certain ride or

  whatever else you you know you can you

  can be a little forthcoming you know you

  don't have to like stalk anybody but

  like you can be a little forthcoming

  because this is ultimately a very open

  community open to new people welcoming

  of new people and and there's so many

  people out there who are all you know

  we're all basically the same kind of

  person you know we all like

  the same stuff we are many of us has a

  set our geeks and we all like to say hi

  to people who share a common interest so

  it's totally okay to be a little forward

  socially in meeting people when you're

  out there yeah because I think and it's

  just to jump on it extend that to is I

  remember clearly that first year going

  out to WDC and knowing nobody like I I

  didn't I don't think I couldn't think of

  one person that I knew when I was going

  out there and I did at this point my

  apps weren't well particularly well

  known it wasn't like I had a podcast or

  a blog or something that something

  something that people would know me by

  like I was so fairly new to this and I

  just remember but I still had people

  that I admired people that I respected

  that I had in the back of my mind to

  like how cool would it be to meet these

  people and it was it took a lot of

  effort and I remember it being very

  difficult to force myself to not just

  like go back to my hotel room every

  night and go to sleep

  I'm horde heifer like I just work on my

  code or like things like that like it

  was so it was so easy and always it like

  the path of least resistance is always

  like you know what I could go to this

  event or I could go and just hang out

  and most you know like at the Moscone

  Center um I could do that or I could not

  and I could just have dinner by myself

  and then go back to my hotel room and

  some nights I would have the courage to

  go and like go out and some nights I

  didn't and the reality though looking

  back is I wouldn't have the friends I

  have now and the connections I have in

  our community if every night I had just

  gone had dinner by myself and then went

  back to my hotel that like I have dear

  and precious friends to me now who I got

  to know because at some point I you know

  went up to somebody and said hi I'm

  David Smith I love your work you know

  and it's a pleasure to meet you like to

  you know there are so many people who I

  just admired and respected who then I

  that's how I met that way I mean in a

  weird Sweden they say like

  how I met you Marco yeah I remember in

  further w like i remember meeting you at

  WTC and you know who i would that if I

  had like if I could have told my future

  like my past self like in a couple years

  to be doing a podcast with Marco like it

  would have sounded completely absurd to

  me like at this point I think I was like

  I was a big build an analyze fan and it

  was this kind of cool thing and you

  never know where how these things are

  gonna play out and you just never know

  but if you don't a have if you don't

  serve just like you know what I'm gonna

  do this it doesn't feel good but I know

  that it will end up better like flossing

  yeah whatever exactly meeting us is like


  exactly it's it was such a wonderful

  analogy but I definitely would encourage

  people to do that and like sometimes

  it'll work sometimes it won't like in

  terms of sometimes you'll have really

  awkward interactions that feel like it's

  like man that will it didn't really go

  well but other times it really will and

  it's the kind of thing like there's no

  there's no like magic answer for

  socializing it's not like oh here's

  these three things that you should do

  but it's the kind of thing that you just

  keep doing and then you'll look back on

  and see how those upper to know how

  those moments of just being like you

  know what I'm gonna go up and say hello

  well eventually you do it enough it gets

  easier and it starts to build some real

  connections that you know you can look

  back on and kind of just be amazed yeah

  I'm looking forward to so you know this

  goes you know it's I guess the all the

  time we have for this week thank you for

  everybody for listening I hope that if

  you have the the means and opportunity

  to consider going to WTC I hope you

  register to get a ticket because you

  have to do that basically now to to have

  a chance of getting it for everybody who

  registered who who who really needs that

  ticket to go I hope you get one and I

  look forward to seeing everybody this

  year yeah I imagine you'll be able to

  find one way or the other you have to

  find Marco and I in San Francisco so if

  you see us by all means say hi you

  definitely spot David by the color of

  his shirt it's usually very bright and

  blue exactly basically the brighter

  version of the color of OS 10 folders

  is that about right it's a powerhead

  yeah or maybe I think the better one to

  go for is it's if you if you have one of

  those blue developer watches that Apple

  watch if you know Apple put out when ya

  was first introduced if you see

  something that's that blue that's

  probably me exactly

  alright thanks for listening everybody

  and always floss and we will talk to you

  next week bye

  I don't floss