On MacWorld/iWorld 2012: A Week Later

So I’ve had a week now to recover from my trek to and from San Francisco – with overnights in Seattle in between – and have mustered up enough energy and opinion to expand on my thoughts regarding my first Macworld experience.
Here we go…

The Name

I think that everyone who I’ve either spoken to or read pretty much thinks the name doesn’t work. I get the notion of transitioning from Apple being a big part of the show as entity, and I’m convinced that Macworld | iWorld will become just iWorld soon enough, but that can’t come too quickly for me.

The Booths

The booths were, as expected, hit-and-miss for me. Some of the products on display piqued my interest while others fell flat. I won’t even go into the “booth babe” stuff other than to say: weak.

Other than some of those I wrote about at Cult of Mac, the booths that left an impression with me include:

  • Microcone: This microphone and software combo will help out in more than just meetings. Here’s hoping I can get my hands on one to put it through the paces in less obvious use cases.
  • The Neat Company: I talked about what the folks at Neat are doing over at Cult of Mac. I have heard whispers of a Neat Desk headed in my direction, so I’ll give it a thorough trial run and offer my thoughts once that’s happened.
  • OmniPlan for iPad: If it is as intuitive in design and interface as OmniFocus for iPad, this could be a big win for The Omni Group. It’s not out yet, but from what I’ve seen it is going to deliver.
  • PDFPen for iPad: I’ll be giving this a comprehensive review on Lifehack, but after spending some time with it last week I’ve already put EasySign out to pasture. So there’s that.
  • Kanex Sydnee: Kanex has a sleek-looking docking station for multiple iPads, something I’m anxious to try. After all, my home is fast becoming iFriendly for all of us.
  • Blue Microphone: They have http://www.bluemic.com/spark_digital/ Swoon.
  • iLid: The concept is great: An ultra-thin iPhone wallet case that I’m aching to give a try. I’ve had my share of iPhone wallets, and this one may be the one I wind up clothing my iPhone 4S in – and keep in mind I prefer my iPhone naked.
  • Fujitsu’s Scan Snap arsenal: I’ve heard a lot about these devices and am hoping that I’ll be able to do a side-by-side comparison with the aforementioned Neat Desk in the near future.
  • Padded Spaces: This Seattle-based company had the Prop ‘n Go line of products that really intrigued me. I’m not sure how they’d play out over the long haul, but I’d sure like to find out.1

The People

I’m not the only one to have stated this (far from it), but the people who I’ve connected with online over the years are the main reasons I go to these events. Here are just a few of the folks I met in person and spent some time with while at my first Macworld | iWorld:

  • Ben Brooks: We’ve chatted on several occasions via Skype and over email, and it was great to meet him and connect face to face. Ben is such a smart (and opinionated) guy, but the latter is not something that has me running in the opposite direction. It sparks lively conversation, and that’s what these kinds of events (and relationships) are all about. Who knows…he may even come up to my neck of the woods for a whisky or two next year. It’s not like he’s that far away.
  • Brett Kelly: Brett and I have met before – at last year’s World Domination Summit – and it was a pleasure to see him again. Brett is somebody who I can bounce ideas off of and get the straight goods…and we can have fun all the while. Even if he has to drink beer out of what look like thermonuclear canisters. Brett’s a good friend, and I look forward to seeing him again soon.
  • Stephen Hackett: I’ve been reading 512pixels back when it was not 512pixels, and to meet Stephen in person was fantastic. I’m sure we’ll connect more often online (and off) now that we have.
  • Shawn Blanc: I like Shawn’s work. Have for a long time. It was great to be able to shake his hand and be able to say so to him in person. Plus, he liked the branding Mr. Mahnke did for the Mikes on Mics podcast.2
  • Brett Terpstra: This guy is crazy smart – and a super-nice guy. I’ve been digging back into nvALT (so perhaps I’m not as “decluttered” as I once was in that respect) and Marked is simply amazing – both of which he built. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with Brett. Seriously…he’s crazy smart.
  • David Sparks: I still have no idea how David does all that he does. He’s a great writer, an incredible knowledgeable guy and he never ceases to astound me in either regard. He’s incredibly authentic, too – which is something all of us should aspire to be as often as he hits that mark.
  • Merlin Mann: I got to thank him, and I’m glad I did. He’s a big reason why I do this stuff. And why I’ll keep doing it long after others have stopped.
  • Brooks Duncan: I met Brooks at 604FreelanceCamp, and it turned out we both went to last year’s World Domination Summit (just like Brett Kelly). I’m glad I got to spend some more time with him in San Francisco, which I didn’t get to do when I was speaking at that camp in Vancouver. Amazing it took such a distance for us to reconnect in person.
  • Matthew Panzarino: We worked together for several months at The Next Web (I’m pretty sure we were hired at the same time, too) and this was the first time we’d met in person. Actually, Matt was the first person I met at this year’s Macworld | iWorld of those that I knew beforehand. He is really good at what he does, and he’s one of the big reasons why I read TNW.
  • Pat Dryburgh: It turns out I hung out with Pat the most during this trip…well, much of which was after Macworld | iWorld actually. Pat turned up in Victoria days after the event and we spent a few hours hanging out at Clive’s last night getting to know each other better. A super-funny guy – and another genuine article. Pat’s someone I plan to keep in touch with over the long haul.

There were many others, including Leander, Traci and Nicole who I spent much of my time with as we covered the event for Cult of Mac. Colby Aley was someone who reached out me as well, which I appreciated a lot – I’m glad I got to meet him and his father briefly on the exhibit hall floor. Even Josh Payne from StackSocial and I got to catch up since we last saw each other – when we found out his old roommate started a coffee shop not five doors down from where I live.

There were others that I also shared time with, like the folks from Smile, Mark from Showyou and Kenny from Asana. Whether it was over coffee while discussing apps or just a chance to get to know each other, I’m glad I made those connections. That’s why I went…pure and simple.

I finally got a chance to spend some time in a great city, playing with great technology and had a great time doing so. But it was the great people I met that will bring me back next year.

I hope to see them all again then…if not sooner.

1Yes, these are all thinly veiled “asks” or reminders of “asks”. I make no apologies for that.
2Oh, yeah…I need to properly write about that here still, don’t I? That said, Michael and I talked about this on the latest episode of the podcast I haven’t talked about yet.