Developing Perspective

#53: Please, be polite at WWDC.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspective. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of node in iOS development, Apple and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number 53 and today

00:00:12   is Friday, June 9th. Developing Perspective is never longer than 15 minutes, so let's

00:00:17   get started.

00:00:18   All right, so for today's show, I've been wanting to do it for a while, but I was a

00:00:22   little bit intimidated to do. And I was going to write a blog post for a while, then I decided

00:00:26   not to do that. And basically, the topic that I'm going to discuss, kind of as a pastor

00:00:31   of mine used to put it, is this goes from preaching to meddling. And so rather than

00:00:35   just giving, you know, general positive advice, I want to talk about the things at WWDC that

00:00:40   kind of really annoy me, and it's the way that some people act and their just general

00:00:45   lack of self-awareness or concern for those around them. And so it's kind of, the working

00:00:50   title originally was "Don't be a Jerk at WWDC." That's, of course, that's sort of

00:00:56   self-referential in the sense that I'm being a bit of a jerk in doing that, so I

00:00:58   think I'll go over the title of "How to be Polite or Please be Polite at WWDC."

00:01:04   There's a couple of these little pet peeves that I've been going to WWDC for

00:01:08   about three years now, and every time you'd kind of think, "Oh, you know, we're a

00:01:13   bunch of mature adults, you know, who have paid a lot of money and are here in a

00:01:18   professional environment will probably be well behaved.

00:01:21   But every year, I'm proven wrong by that.

00:01:23   And so I just wanted to talk through some of these and just

00:01:27   put it out there.

00:01:28   That hopefully it'll maybe create a discussion or just

00:01:31   give people pause to think about the way they act when

00:01:34   they're at WWDC.

00:01:36   And I know a lot of you won't be at WWDC this year, but

00:01:38   hopefully it's still useful for the years following or

00:01:43   just in general.

00:01:44   So the first thing is there's this fundamental lack of sort of respect I've seen a lot for

00:01:51   that the Apple employees, especially the Apple engineers, are going through a tremendous

00:01:54   amount of effort to put on the event.

00:01:57   I see a lot of people who kind of end up in this feeling of like, "Well, I paid $1,700

00:02:01   to be here, so they all work for me."

00:02:04   It's like, "Well, sort of.

00:02:07   That's vaguely true.

00:02:08   You did pay $1,700 or whatever, plus all the travel to be here."

00:02:12   But really, that's not the way it works.

00:02:17   Most of the people running at WWDC are engineers, just like you.

00:02:20   They're software engineers who are taking, as part of their job, are being told to put

00:02:25   on this event to make our lives better, to show us all the cool stuff and teach us how

00:02:29   to use it best.

00:02:30   And so as a result of that, I really think it's important to be really respectful of

00:02:35   them, to really go out of our way to be appreciative, to be thankful, to be kind to these people

00:02:41   to the effort they're putting in.

00:02:44   And I think that it just works well as a two-way street.

00:02:48   So first thing, this is more of a personal thing,

00:02:52   but I try very hard to say thank you to everybody I can

00:02:55   with an Apple shirt on.

00:02:56   Just be as grateful as you can.

00:02:58   There's gonna be just people doing all kinds

00:03:00   of fairly menial jobs.

00:03:02   And it's like, what does it hurt to say,

00:03:03   hey, thanks, I appreciate it.

00:03:04   I really appreciate you helping monitor this line.

00:03:07   I really help you.

00:03:09   Thanks for doing this, thanks for doing that.

00:03:11   just be appreciative and I feel like it just raises the tone of the event in a way that

00:03:15   is just really nice. But the area that I see this most and that just annoys me the most

00:03:20   every single year is around presentations. So at WWDC, you're going to spend a lot of

00:03:26   time in presentations and the presentations are almost uniformly, except for the keynote,

00:03:31   are put on by Apple engineers at various levels within Apple engineering. And, you know, the

00:03:37   best I understand it, a tremendous amount of effort goes into the preparation for this.

00:03:41   I mean, this is months and months of hard work by these engineers to make a really polished,

00:03:47   sharp presentation. And that shows. I think it has probably the highest level of polish

00:03:52   of any presentations I've seen across the board at conferences. They're all really consistent.

00:03:58   They're all very polished and sort of to the point. You very rarely have weird demo problems

00:04:04   and things. They go out of their way so that you're not sitting there like watching people

00:04:07   you know, type in code and things, it's all really sharp and put together.

00:04:11   And so there's a couple of things that I see every year that drive me crazy

00:04:15   when people are going to these presentations.

00:04:17   And so the first one is people who arrive at the presentation

00:04:23   kind of expecting to just work or do their email or whatever while they're there.

00:04:28   And that's fine. I mean, I totally understand that some people are just kind of there to absorb it.

00:04:33   But if you're one of those people, please don't sit in the front row.

00:04:36   please don't sit in the first, like, third of the auditorium.

00:04:38   Why don't you just go sit in the back?

00:04:40   You'll hear it fine.

00:04:41   You're obviously not looking at it.

00:04:42   You know, there's a big screen if you need to.

00:04:44   Please go sit in the back.

00:04:45   Like, you're being disrespectful to the person who's presenting,

00:04:48   because if they look out into the auditorium,

00:04:51   and it's just like, you're just sitting there hacking away,

00:04:54   you're clearly not paying attention,

00:04:55   that doesn't feel good.

00:04:57   Go sit in the back.

00:04:58   And also, you're distracting all the people around you.

00:05:00   And it's often-- maybe the simplest way to think about it

00:05:03   is if you're sitting in the back row and you're typing away,

00:05:06   maybe you're annoying the people to either side of you,

00:05:10   maybe the person just right in front of you.

00:05:12   But if you do it in the front, everybody behind you can see you.

00:05:14   Your screen's glowing nice and bright, attracting attention,

00:05:17   and just kind of annoying people.

00:05:19   So if you're going to do that, please sit in the back.

00:05:21   That's just common courtesy.

00:05:23   And similarly, if you're going to take notes, which is great,

00:05:26   don't do it on your iPad with the keyboard clicks turned on.

00:05:31   if you can't, you know, it's like, try and be as quiet as you can in that process.

00:05:35   You have no idea how annoying that little keyboard click, you know,

00:05:38   sound that you get from the iPad can be.

00:05:43   If you're going to do it on a keyboard, that's fine. You know, obviously there's a certain amount of

00:05:46   noise involved in typing on a

00:05:48   MacBook Air or something, just sort of be quiet about it, and just be

00:05:51   considerate of those around you.

00:05:53   Treat others as you'd have them treat you, the golden rule. Make sure your phone's on

00:05:57   silent

00:05:57   as generally pretty good, but

00:06:01   Often I hear the other things beyond that are like IRC noises or the number of times I've heard like the Twitterrific or tweetbot refresh sound.

00:06:11   Just kind of, you know, just be considerate and be mindful of those things.

00:06:15   And then the last thing, and this is the most important thing as far as I'm concerned for being respectful to the presenters,

00:06:22   is when the presenter hits the point that's kind of the conclusion,

00:06:27   the number of people I've seen who immediately, noisily, start packing up their bag, get up and leave.

00:06:33   So the person hasn't actually finished, they're just sort of in conclusion,

00:06:36   they've got another maybe 30 seconds, 45 seconds of presentation,

00:06:40   and people are just sort of like, "Oh, I'm done, let's get out of here."

00:06:44   I mean, that's about as rude as you can be.

00:06:46   I mean, you've listened through whatever, the 45 minutes, 50 minutes of good, solid information,

00:06:51   and you don't let the guy finish.

00:06:53   You don't get as many as 30 seconds of conclusion,

00:06:56   and now here's the final thing, and sort of sends you off.

00:07:00   And I mean, that's just rude.

00:07:01   And it just kind of drives me crazy.

00:07:03   And I've seen so many presenters just kind of--

00:07:05   either they never finish.

00:07:07   I've seen in some cases, they just kind of like, oh, I guess

00:07:12   I'm done.

00:07:13   Thanks.

00:07:14   Which is not cool.

00:07:16   Or on the flip side, it's just the people who--

00:07:20   you could tell they really were glad.

00:07:22   you can get really getting into it they're really enjoying the presentation

00:07:24   that might get to kick out the park

00:07:26   scone great and then they can get the industry dejected it's like wait

00:07:30   that anybody care

00:07:31   was leaving

00:07:33   so don't do that

00:07:34   gave me a way for the thirty seconds

00:07:36   italy says you know

00:07:38   thanks and

00:07:39   whatever you know he won't when he gives it gives you know gives you a floor

00:07:43   uh... to leave

00:07:44   you're gonna be waiting in line for the next session no matter what you know

00:07:47   getting out that thirty seconds earlier

00:07:49   is a_t_s_ still been selfish maybe if you're like over on the new

00:07:52   jump the line. It's like, well, it's being a little selfish. And then two, I don't know,

00:07:56   it really doesn't matter. Very rarely do rooms overfill. And if they do, it happens. You'll

00:08:02   catch it on the video, you'll catch it on a repeat. Apple's really good if a room overflows

00:08:07   to then make sure that that presentation is given again later in the week. If it wasn't

00:08:11   originally scheduled, often it'll be shown on the Friday, especially on the Friday afternoon.

00:08:16   So the information isn't going anywhere. So just be respectful of your presenters. They

00:08:20   They really are putting a lot of work into this and I think they deserve that, you know,

00:08:24   that that's the least that they could deserve.

00:08:26   Then a couple of other things, these are more just sort of general rather than being focused

00:08:31   on the presentations themselves, is trash.

00:08:33   Please throw your trash away.

00:08:34   Come on, you're, you know, we're all adults here.

00:08:37   There's trash cans everywhere, but the number of times you'll see people just leaving trash

00:08:41   everywhere, it's just kind of, you know, it's just sad.

00:08:45   It just makes me kind of sad when I see that.

00:08:49   Line etiquette.

00:08:50   a huge amount of time waiting in line at WWDC. That's the way it is. From the keynote on

00:08:56   Monday morning all the way through, you'll spend a lot of time waiting in line or waiting

00:08:59   online if you're from New York, or queuing if you're from Europe. And so basically, it's

00:09:06   a kind of important thing that we actually queue and wait in line, wait online in an

00:09:12   appropriate way. And so there's a couple of things. These are kind of the way I do it

00:09:16   and the way I view waiting in line.

00:09:18   But you-- first, it's like, if you're

00:09:20   holding a spot for somebody, be reasonable on the ratio

00:09:24   of people for whom you are holding that spot,

00:09:27   so that there is nothing worse than you're

00:09:31   all waiting in this huge long line.

00:09:32   And then one guy in front was holding space

00:09:35   for these 10 guys.

00:09:37   It's like, that's not fair.

00:09:38   That doesn't seem fair.

00:09:39   I mean, my own kind of personal rule

00:09:41   is typically kind of like a one to one, maybe a two to one

00:09:45   in terms of like, kind of like the buddy system, like often when I'm, like in the keynote,

00:09:49   I'll often kind of have a buddy or someone who, you know, is like, worked, kind of taking turns,

00:09:53   I'll go to the bathroom, he's waiting for me, you know, we're kind of, we're offsetting each other,

00:09:56   and that seems pretty rare, you know, fair and reasonable. You know, showing up with 10 of your

00:10:01   friends, not really cool. And you know, I think also being, you know, respectful of the people

00:10:05   around you, and this kind of gets into the set, the next topic I wanted to talk about is just kind

00:10:09   of your general interaction, is being respectful of other people's time and being just sort of

00:10:14   mindful of it. Sometimes, you know, being aware that sometimes people are going to want

00:10:18   to chat, and if they are, that's great. I've met a lot of interesting people waiting in

00:10:21   line or talking in general at WWDC. That's part of the fun. That's part of the joy. But

00:10:27   if you're getting to, if someone's sort of sending you the signals of, "Hey, you know,

00:10:30   actually I really don't want to talk," like you say, "Hi," and they say, "Hi," and then

00:10:35   pick up their phone and start working on it, it's like they're saying, "Hey, I'm, you know,

00:10:39   I'm burned out from last night's party.

00:10:41   I'm whatever.

00:10:42   And so I'd rather just chill.

00:10:44   And so just be respectful of that.

00:10:47   Similarly, be very careful about selling your products

00:10:51   in conversation.

00:10:52   And this is something that doesn't happen all the time,

00:10:54   but it happens enough that it kind of--

00:10:56   but it's always kind of annoying when I introduce myself

00:10:57   to someone and it's like, hi, I'm Dave.

00:11:00   And he's like, oh, hey, I'm Bill.

00:11:02   I make this app.

00:11:02   You want to check it out?

00:11:04   It's like, maybe.

00:11:06   Maybe I would actually want to check out your app.

00:11:08   maybe I want to pay you, pay to buy that app.

00:11:11   But diving straight into a sales pitch,

00:11:14   I'm not walking up to you at a booth at a trade show.

00:11:17   I'm just trying to chat.

00:11:19   So if at some point, almost certainly, I'll be like,

00:11:22   hey, what do you do?

00:11:23   That's an opportunity for you to say, hey, this is the app.

00:11:26   I say, you want to check it out?

00:11:27   Oh, sure.

00:11:28   But it's part of the conversation.

00:11:30   I don't want to feel like I'm being sold to just

00:11:32   by saying hi to somebody.

00:11:33   Similarly to that, it's kind of a--

00:11:36   At WWGC you'll run into all these fake famous people or famous internet famous people or

00:11:42   whatever and these are people whose podcasts or blogs you'll read or even Apple people

00:11:47   who are legends in the field or whatever and it's just kind of a funny thing but especially

00:11:54   with them be very respectful of their time and attention and I think you'll have a much

00:11:58   better interaction with them.

00:12:00   my personal way, it's like if I run into somebody who's belong I read or whatever, it's like,

00:12:07   "Hey, I bumped into John Gruber, right?" Someone I actually never met, but it'd be interesting

00:12:12   to meet him and it's like, "Hey John, love your work, really appreciate the efforts you

00:12:16   put into your writing. Thank you." That's kind of my intro. And if he says, "Great,

00:12:22   thanks," that's it. That's the end of the conversation, shake his hand, off I go. If

00:12:27   he's like, "Oh great, yeah, hey, what do you do?" It's like he's in a mood to talk, then

00:12:30   great, but don't assume that you kind of have a right to their attention.

00:12:35   Just because you give them all this time to read their blog, don't feel like you have

00:12:39   an unlimited right to their attention.

00:12:42   They may be really burned out from the conference and talking.

00:12:46   They just need some time.

00:12:47   It's like the last thing they need necessarily is kind of being badgered, and especially

00:12:50   to don't sell to people like that.

00:12:52   That's like the worst thing.

00:12:53   It's like, "Hey, Mr. Gruber.

00:12:55   Hey, check out my app.

00:12:57   It would be great if you featured it on Daring Fireball."

00:12:59   "Dude, chill. You'll be alright."

00:13:02   So that's kind of all the negative things.

00:13:05   A few positive things to hopefully wrap it up on a high note.

00:13:08   So first, don't overdo it. WWDC is incredibly fun.

00:13:11   I mean, this will be my fourth, I believe.

00:13:15   And it's one of the best times of the year you'll have.

00:13:18   Spend a lot of time meeting really interesting people.

00:13:20   You'll learn a ton. You're kind of drinking from a fire hose and it's awesome.

00:13:23   If this is what you enjoy, you're a kid in a candy store.

00:13:28   or if you love Apple technology, if you love programming, it's awesome.

00:13:32   But be careful.

00:13:33   Don't overdo it, especially early on, like Monday night, Tuesday--

00:13:37   especially Monday night parties, Tuesday night parties,

00:13:39   Sunday night parties.

00:13:40   Be careful.

00:13:41   Don't go nuts and ruin the rest of your week by overdoing it early on.

00:13:46   Stay hydrated.

00:13:47   Drink a lot of water.

00:13:49   It's like, keep your energy up.

00:13:50   And just be kind, be respectful, and be polite,

00:13:54   and we will all have an awesome time.

00:13:57   Alright, that's it for today's show. I'll be at WWDC next week, so look out for me.

00:14:01   If you follow me on Twitter, it's probably the easiest way. If you ever want to meet

00:14:04   up, just @ReplyMe and see if we can work something up. I'd love to meet some of the

00:14:08   people who listen to this show, make it a bit more of a dialogue rather than the monologue

00:14:12   it usually is. Otherwise, I hope you guys have a good weekend. Safe travels if you're

00:14:17   going to Dub-Dub. Otherwise, I look forward to talking to you guys next week. Like I said,

00:14:22   I'm going to be doing a bunch of shows.

00:14:24   I'm hoping to do probably maybe even five or six shows next week,

00:14:28   kind of talking about the various parts,

00:14:30   kind of dissecting the keynote and things like that.

00:14:32   I got my new mobile microphone set up, which I'm really excited about.

00:14:35   And as always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, complaints,

00:14:38   I'm on Twitter, underscore David Smith.

00:14:40   The feed for this podcast is devperspective on Twitter.

00:14:44   And otherwise, happy coding.

00:14:45   And I hope to see you next week.

00:14:47   Bye.