March 31, 2017
Congratulations to everyone who won the chance to attend this year's Apple World Wide Developer Conference in San Jose. My first (and so far, only) trip to WWDC was in 2016 and it was an amazing experience.
A good friend going for the first time this year asked me what I thought about WWDC as a place for business networking. He is a freelance iOS developer and is always on the lookout for new opportunities to work on interesting projects. My advice, based on my experience last year, boils down to this:
I didn't meet many people who were actively looking for contractors to help with their iOS project. I don't really remember meeting anyone who was looking for technical co-founders or partners either. I'm sure these opportunities are there, but I wouldn't say they are common at WWDC.
There are many other contractors at the conference. Chatting with them is fascinating (some of the stories are pretty good) and could potentially lead to sharing of opportunities in the future. I met at least a few people to whom I've passed on contracting leads I've come across since.
The social aspect of WWDC I enjoyed the most was getting to meet in person all the people with whom I've had some interaction in the Mac and iOS developer community. People with whom I've argued on Twitter, whose podcasts I enjoyed, whose libraries I've used, and some who currently do, once did, or would soon begin, working for Apple itself.
This third type of interaction will probably not lead to a direct business opportunity. But membership in the Apple community is the greatest reward for choosing to develop for the platform. There are real people behind all the work you see and use, and once a year you can shake their hand, buy them a beer, and talk shop for a bit.
So if I was going this year, I think I would seek out the third, be open to the second, and not worry about the first type of networking in my list.