Monday, March 28th, 2011
And don’t spend $1600 just to go see the keynote. If you’re not a developer, this isn’t the event for you. #wwdc
I cannot condemn this attitude strongly enough. Everyone is welcome at WWDC — doesn’t matter what your reasons for coming are. We, as a community, cannot afford to be anything less than completely welcoming just because our platform is currently popular.1
Excluding people simply because they aren’t currently part of your club is an ugly attitude. It’s even worse to do it just as they’re starting to show a little interest.
(Incidentally, I’ve purchased a ticket for WWDC this year. I’ll see you all in June.)
Update: Mike Woodworth nails it: “It’s not a meritocracy, it’s a free market.”
Update 2: Streza has clarified his position. Now, it sounds more like he was offering non-developer folks the advice that a WWDC ticket isn’t worth your money. That’s reasonable advice. I’m glad Streza clarified. He’s a prominent and valued member of the Apple developer community, which is exactly why I mentioned his tweet specifically: I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Streza’s clarification aside, wanting to exclude the “unworthy” from WWDC is an unfortunately common sentiment. I see a lot of folks complaining that not enough developers2 get to go because of this supposed influx of “keynote-only people”.
That doesn’t sit right for me for two reasons:
- It’s not exactly a surprise that WWDC happens again in the summer. If you feel you truly need to go, do what I did: plan ahead to have the cash on hand sometime in the spring; you should able to attend. Nobody who does that has been excluded from purchasing a ticket.
- The past few years, WWDC has been incredibly crowded. The most popular sessions have had huge lines and they have even had to use overflow rooms or turn folks away outright. I’m not talking about the keynote, I’m talking about the sessions that happen Tuesday through Friday. That doesn’t jibe with there being a significant number of keynote-only attendees.
So this isn’t an actual problem. Instead, the specter of “keynote-only attendees mucking up the conference” represents a disgusting reaction to the massive numbers of newbies in Apple developer community that have surfaced over the past 4 years. Previous to the whole iPhone game rolling in to town, “crowded” was not a word you would use to describe WWDC; last year it sold out in 8 days.
That’s an incredible amount of new blood for a community to absorb in just a few short years, and actually I think that for the most part folks have done an incredible job at making newcomers feel welcome. There have been thousands of tutorial blog posts written, StackOverflow questions answered, mailing list threads replied to, and IRC debugging time has gladly and freely given by all members of the community — it honestly warms my heart.
However, it takes hard work and constant self-evaluation to remain so welcoming and open; the alternative is being part of a community of assholes who tell n00bs to RTFM while laugh in the face of anyone who spent the 2000s doing anything but writing Objective-C. That’s the absolute last thing I want to see, which is why I wrote such a strongly worded post. This stuff is important.
Update 3: Sweet Christmas, WWDC sold out in less than 10 hours.