Tech conferences usually fall into one of two categories: vendor-centric and user-centric.
Vendor-centric conferences are about showing what’s new with the product and providing a place for their partner and customer ecosystems to co-mingle. User-centric conferences are gatherings for sharing ideas and learning from others; this format attracts the people who are doing the work and creating the innovation. In this case, it’s Developers.
In July of 2023, I attended WeAreDevelopers in Berlin, supporting Appdome where I work as a Senior Product Manager. In my time there, three things stood out to me that positioned WeAreDevelopers as a user-centric conference that has succeeded in attracting an innovative, curious, engaged and talented group of attendees, speakers and sponsors at an epic scale.
Working the booth gave me a great position to talk to dozens of people over the course of a few days. What I noticed immediately is the wide range of people there from so many different countries, cultures, backgrounds, skill levels, and specializations. Each person I spoke to shared unique challenges in the development, user base, market fit, or some other aspect of their projects. From mobile developers in Kazakhstan to recent grads from Bulgaria to a CTO from Poland, every conversation was a quick glimpse into a new and unexpected context, even just standing in the booth, it was impossible to be bored.
Second was the range of topics being presented; I’m a car guy, and I loved hearing how Rimac overcame the challenges of designing a software architecture from scratch for a technology-focused hypercar. As a developer, StackOverflow has bailed me out of a technical jam more times than I can count, so sitting in on Joel Spolsky’s session about the Past Present and Future of StackOverflow was an interesting and insightful peek behind the curtain on one of my favorite tools. And yes, I’m a bit biased, but Appdome co-creator Tom Tovar’s talk on how to make money from cyber attacks and cheats, offered a unique approach to an old problem from a new voice you may not have heard from before, and is worth listening to.
Beyond the things I saw and people I met, what impacted me the most was the sense of community around building and creating new things with technology. Everyone there was motivated to broaden or deepen their skillset, learn from others in the field, and get exposed to new tools and techniques. The overall vibe was one of excitement and curiosity.
From what I could tell, Appdome was the only mobile-centric sponsor; we talked to so many mobile devs who were excited to see something specifically for them that makes their jobs easier and the apps more secure. It would be great to see more mobile dev tools and sessions at next year’s event.
Looking forward to meeting you there in 2024.