Sometimes Goodbye is a Second Chance

When a conference goes away

I got the news today, oh boy…

A day or so ago, I, and my compatriots/friends on the MacIT advisory board got the bad, albeit not unexpected news: MacIT is done. IDG is in the middle of their own throes and don’t want to do it again. The people who I worked most closely with at IDG for the last 16+ years on the conference have left IDG, and with IDG being on the chopping block…well, again, not unexpected.

But it is sad.

As I just wrote, MacIT, in one form or another has been a part of my life for over 16 years. It is…hard…to talk about how I feel, mostly because even I don’t know. It’s still too much to process. I can say it was more than just a conference. Most of the people I consider close friends/family I met, and hung out with only because of MacIT. From the IT track at Macworld Expo to the final standalone MacIT in 2015, every year, that was what I did.

To give you an example of how much a part of my life that conference became, when I married Melissa in 2007, in terms of my guests, there were only…2–3 people there who weren’t a part of MacIT. Everyone else had come into my life because of that conference and now…it is not. It is a former conference, and by this time next year, almost no one will really remember it.

I will. I will always remember it.

In a way, this feels like someone very close to me died. Sorry if I’m beating a dead horse a bit, but it really was that central to so much of my life. The people I met there became more than just “conference friends”. They went to my wedding, I went to some of theirs. I’ve told them things that literally no one outside of a small handful of people know. They’ve been there for so many high points in my life, and helped me through some really low points.

If you want to know why I laugh when people say that WebEx can replace a conference, this is why.

As far as other conferences, I’m most likely done. Not out of some “no one can ever replace MacIT” but most of the IT conferences in the Mac/iOS space are either primarily for consultants or people doing IT for EDU. That was never really my space. I never ran labs, I never spent time imaging hundreds or thousands of computers every year. I’ve never been a consultant. So those conferences only speak to me in the most peripheral way.

The rest are split consultant/indie dev conferences, and honestly, other than a literal two handfuls of people I can specifically name, the only interaction I’d want with the Indie Dev community in the Mac space involves a bus with cut brake lines, fire, and a cliff. Those two handfuls of people are awesome folks and deserve every good thing they’ve earned. The rest can all fuck off in whatever direction they please.

Not a fan of indie devs, as a group, I’ve always been too aware of the viciousness they pretend they don’t have. Watching “good”, “kind” people boo and hiss someone just because they work for Microsoft or Adobe, or shit on other indie devs because they were using Carbon instead of Cocoa isn’t what a welcoming, inclusive group of people do. If they had any self-awareness, they might care. Instead, they all think there was some time when everything was all Kumbaya and it’s only since the advent of <thing> that it went bad.
Relax, you’ve always been vicious assholes.
I’m a helper.

I do sincerely hope that another conference with an enterprise focus comes up, it’s needed. Yes, I know about JNUC, but that’s a user conference for an enterprise product. I don’t actually use JAMF products, although I admire the hell out of JAMF and the folks running it, especially Chip and Zach. For me to just go to JNUC as a replacement for MacIT would a) be full of failure, and b) I’d always feel like I was stealing a slot from someone who should be there far more than I.

Fucking ethics.

So maybe this is a chance for something new. I hope so, I’d like for other folks to have the same unasked-for rewards and joys that MacIT so very unexpectdly gave me for over a decade and a half.

In the meantime, for everyone who was ever a part of it: Thank you. You made my world at least a much better, brighter, nicer place. And you all taught me many things I didn’t know. I couldn’t have possibly asked for more.