When Macworld folded its tent, it left a gaping hole in my heart. I looked forward to it every year. It was MY Christmas and always a major treat.
You began the week with the keynote (“…. and one more thing”) then spent the rest of your time checking out new products first hand. You spoke with dozens of software developers and hardware engineers pitching their wares. You gathered up review copies of everything. All the reps were eager to have their products critiqued and mentioned online.
There were also numerous panel discussions on all manner of Mac topics. Instead of passively watching or listening to a podcast, now you had the ability to interact with your favorite personalities, engaging in Q&As and conversations.
But the most resonating aspect was community. With each visit, you would hook-up with friends that you hadn’t seen in a year, attend parties, and go to lunches and dinners to enjoy each others company.
I have missed Macworld terribly, apparently along with many others. Particularly the community facet. Mike Potter apparently felt similarly and decided to attempt to fill the void.
Macstock was born.
Not far from Chicago in Crystal Lake, IL, he secured the Luecht Conference Center’s state of the art auditorium, two breakout rooms, the dining facilities, and a common area for “casual networking.”
The first year, Macstock was a one-day event and has since expanded to a two day affair. (I understand the logistical problems but how I wish that it could last for a week!)
This past weekend was the third Macstock. I can’t express how impressed I was.
The schedule runs like this. First there are presentations on various topics, most of which are limited to 20 minutes, although this year, for the first time, the occasional 45 minute presentation was added. Personally, I hope that several more of those are added next year.
Several of the presentations are selected for expanded sessions known as “Deep Dives” which are held in the breakout rooms. Here, the presenter delves further into their topic. You get to ask more detailed questions that your fellow attendees would also like to know the answers to.
Midday you brake for lunch and conversation/networking. When finished you either return to the auditorium or attend one of the ‘Deep Dives.’
At the end of the first day, if you’ve purchased a ticket, you travel down the road (this time to bucolic Woodstock, IL.,) where you gatherer with fellow attendees for the evening’s festivities, coordinated by Barry Fulk. This year, the evening featured food, an open bar, and a live band (as opposed to a deceased one, I suppose). ‘A splendid time was had by all.’
Truth be told, as much as I wanted to attend the seminars, this was the bit that sold me on attending. Finally, a return to the community.
I met up with friends that I had not seen in years. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect was meeting people face-to face who I had been friends with online for several years. A a bonus, I added some new friends to my community.
Sunday was a repeat of Saturday’s schedule with more topics. Then sadly at 5:00PM the show came to its conclusion. I said my ‘goodbyes’ and headed back to the grind.
I felt compelled to write this article as Macstock hit the nail on the head with reviving the community feel of Macworld. I plan to attend Macstock 2018. Whether or not you were ever fortunate enough to attend Macworld, I can’t encourage you enough to seriously consider attending Macstock next year.
Thank you, Mike. Thank you, Barry. I am in your debt.
©2017 Frank Petrie