360|iDev 2015

This week I was a speaker and attendee at 360|iDev in Denver. It was my third time at a 360|iDev (fourth if you count last year’s Mini in Greenville, SC) and I think this was probably the best one I’ve been to yet. Now, I’m not saying the previous visits to this conference were bad or anything, I just enjoyed it a lot this year. Here I’ll review the week and my session.

The Conference

I still have a hard time talking to people in these types of environments, but I still feel it was a great time. John has done a great job keeping things different and the same. Lunches were actually really great this year too, especially Tuesday’s Food Truck Rodeo. The keynote presentations this year were also really great from Josh Michael’s talk on being Indie to Mike Lee’s talk on “Planetary Engineering”. I’ve actually seen many of Mike’s talks all the way back to 2010’s NSConference in Atlanta. This year’s was so good I had to spend time in my hotel room just thinking about it. “Don’t be Evil by Accident” was just one of the great lines in this talk.

Here are the regular sessions I went to with a brief thought on each.


Universal Layout Workshop

This was a hands-on session about universal layout (of course) and covered a lot of the basics. What was really great was getting the time to really play with UIStackView. He’s provided the workshop materials on Github.

Prototyping with Facebook’s Origami

Another hands-on session, also with workshop materials on Github, where I could work with something I hadn’t had the time to play with yet. This one gave me the chance to spend some time with Quartz Composer and Facebook’s Origami. We are doing a lot of prototyping at work now so this was actually pretty fun to play with. I’ve done a few things with Quartz Composer but had not yet played with Origami. The session provided a lot of examples to work with and it’s worth looking at the Github repo.


Stop Saying No: How I went from Fired to Indie to over 1 Million in Revenue in Under a Year

In this talk, Brandon Trebitowski talked about how he went from, as the title says, being fired to having a successful client services company, http://www.pixegon.com. It was pretty fun to hear a lot of the similar revelations we had at Two Toasters. I guess it’s good to hear that these experiences are common!

Jedi Management from Far Far Away

This talk about managing remote teams was really good and also really relevant for managing any team. I really wish I had seen this talk a couple years ago, it would have saved me some time in learning things the hard way. Slides are available here.

Build a Business, not an App

One of the common themes this week was that the idea of being an Indie developer isn’t as dead as it seems. The real problem is that it was too easy to look at the successes and assume that we’d all be that lucky. The real problem was that developers looked at it as building an app, not building a successful business.

Making a living in and out of the App Store

Just like the last session, this was another that really pushed home the idea of running an independent business. You just have to work at it. It was cool to also see one half of the Release Notes podcast give a talk. It was almost like listening to the show.

Developer Horror Stories: What to do when a Product Fails

This ended up being a panel with several of the other speakers talking about their experiences in failing. Hearing other people talk about their horror stories is always interesting. I thought a lot about my own stories.


Why Being a Best Seller Can Matter More than Being a Best Developer

This was a great talk by Jonathan Rhyne. He went into a lot of his experiences working with PSPDFKit and how he’s worked to improve their sales. A lot of really interesting information.

Welcome to the Team!

Adam talked about a lot of the things that help teams work quickly with each other. He covered a lot of agile methodologies and other things that make teams, especially those that work in an open office, better and faster.

The Challenges of Building a Database API (with Swift)

Oddly this was the only technical talk I ended up attending during the conference. It was actually pretty interesting hearing how Realm built their Swift API wrapper around the Objective-C. It was pretty fascinating to hear the difficulties they experienced but also the how clean they made the API given these difficulties.


Succeeding Slowly: A Practical Guide to Going Indie

This might have been my favorite regular session of the whole conference. On the one hand it was cool to hear a talk by the other half of Release Notes. On the other, it was great to see practical steps to someday going indie. As I said above the entire conference had an, I assume, unofficial theme about how indie business aren’t dead. Charles had a great guide on how to attempt to go indie. I’ve already read mostly through the book he recommended, Start Small, Stay Small. The slides are available here.

My Talk

I decided, at the last minute, to propose a talk on my experiences leading a team of developers at Two Toasters (and continuing at Ticketmaster). Only about 20 people were there but I had some really good questions and a few people seemed to enjoy it. It’s actually the first time I’ve given a talk that was not about a technical topic (except for one talk about Bad Movies) and I was a bit nervous. Anyway, you can see the slides below for my session titled, “How to Lose an iOS Developer in 10 Days”.