RWDevCon 2015 Post-Mortem

Ray Wenderlich
Check out the post-conference report for RWDevCon!

Check out the post-conference report for RWDevCon!

As you probably know, we just finished running our first ever RWDevCon: The Tutorial Conference.

The conference was a huge hit! We received an overwhelmingly positive response on our evaluation forms, with a whopping 4.59 / 5 overall rating.

I thought you might like to see to see some pictures and feedback from the attendees, so that’s what this post is all about.

I already wrote a post covering the first half of day one, so this post will pick up where that left off.

Then we’ll get into the post-mortem, with three things that went well, and three things that we can improve upon in the future. Let’s dive in!

Day 2 Conference Highlights

Let’s start by covering some of the highlights from where the day one post left off.

After day 1, we all headed to a nearby bar for some food, beer, and fun!

01_PennSocial

The next morning, we were up bright and early for some more tutorials. We had tutorials on WatchKit, Adaptive UI, View Controller Transition Animations, and more.

11_Tutorial

After a hard day’s work on tutorials, we switched over to inspiration talks. We had inspiration talks on subjects like Contributing, Finishing, and “Math Isn’t Scary”.

12_Inspiration

At the end of the day, we unleashed a surprise – everyone who attended the conference got an advance copy of an upcoming book by Marin Todorov – iOS Animations by Tutorials!

10_Books

It was a perfect way to end the conference – and now Marin is a new celebrity :]

13_Celebrities

What Went Well

Overall, people seemed to really enjoy the conference and left some amazing positive feedback.

“This was the best developer conference I have been to in quite some time! The combination of technology, friendship, and passion is unique and I think you are creating something awesome!” –Soren B.

“This was a great mix of intro to the concept, guided demo and self study. It was definitely one of the best formats I’ve participated in. A winner.” –Tim M.

“Great value and materials for cost! Hard to beat. Really liked full hands-on approach w/ early access to project files – all very well organized. Better food and more fun than WWDC!” –Conference Evaluation Form

Here are three things I think went particularly well about the conference.

1) Hands-On Tutorials

I think the hands-on focus of the conference was a huge hit, and definitely something that sets us apart from other conferences. I was pleased to see everyone following along with the demos and performing the exercises, and people said they really felt like they were learning and walking away with new skills.

02_Tutorials

“The hands-on tutorials were worth their weight in gold. Some of the concepts I spend hours reading about were cleared up in 30 minutes.” –Conference Evaluation Form

“The demos and labs have been SO polished. Basically my ideal iOS conference because I came away learning so much!” –Conference Evaluation Form

2) Inspiration Talks

It was also really nice to take a break after the tutorials and move onto something completely different – non-technical talks with the goal to give a new idea or inspire.

04_More

“The inspiration talks surprised me the most. I really enjoyed those. I loved all of the technical sessions but the inspiration talks were unexpected.” –Conference Evaluation Form

“Honestly the inspiration talks were excellent.” –Conference Evaluation Form

3) Friendship

I was blown away by how friendly and encouraging everyone at the conference was. People went out of their way to welcome each other and make everyone feel comfortable and part of the same team.

06_Friendship

“I loved speaking with attendees and team members – met a lot of great people and had some interesting discussions on the topics covered.” –Session Evaluation Form

“Great learning experience. Wonderful camaraderie. Have it again!!!” –Session Evaluation Form

What Could Be Improved

As with anything, there are always some things you can improve. Here are the top 3 in my opinion.

1) More Time

The #1 area for improvement was more time. If we had more time for tutorials, we could go a little bit slower so it’s easier to follow along, and have more time for the labs and challenges.

15_More

It would also be great to perhaps add another day to the conference, as that would allow us to cover more topics and have more time for socializing.

2) Better Tailoring

Each speaker was assigned a fellow speaker as a partner, and practiced their talks both with their partner and myself.

This helped really polish the talks, but overall I think the beginner tutorials could have been “more beginner”, and the advanced tutorials “more advanced.”

03_LiveBlogging

I think we could have tailored the material better for the intended audience if we had a group of volunteers at the appropriate level (other than speakers) listen to the tutorials in advance and give us feedback on if we’re teaching at the right pace/level.

3) Materials Polish

We delivered the conference materials to attendees in advance of the conference.

05_Code

That went great, but the materials could have been organized and polished a bit more consistently. In the future, we’d like to assign a tech editor to that.

Where To Go From Here?

Everyone keeps asking us – will there be a RWDevCon 2016?

14_John

We can’t promise anything yet, but we can say – based on the amazing time we had, and the great feedback we’ve received from attendees, we are strongly leaning that way :]

Thank you for attending RWDecCon!

The conference sold out quickly last time, so we’ll give newsletter subscribers a first shot at tickets. If you’d like to be notified if/when tickets become available, sign up here!

Thanks again for everyone who helped make the first ever RWDevCon a success – speakers, attendees, sponsors, and more!

Ray Wenderlich

Ray is part of a great team - the raywenderlich.com team, a group of over 100 developers and editors from across the world. He and the rest of the team are passionate both about making apps and teaching others the techniques to make them.

When Ray’s not programming, he’s probably playing video games, role playing games, or board games.

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