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Okay, I didnt know what to expect this being my first Apple WWDC. I am a vetran of ten Microsoft TechEd’s and a couple MECs. For the most part, Microsoft has cold the logistics of feeding, moving and running over ten thousand people around in an orderly fashion. People would joke about the strictness of the lunch ushers or the “soda and cookie nazis” that guarded the coolers and treats until just the right moment. We laughed at the guards that made us go a certain way and managed the ebb and flow of the geeky crowds. Having been at the Apple WWDC for one day, I laugh no more.

To say that there is no control over anything here would be generous. To wait through the ritualistic Jobsian hazing for this morning’s keynote was a case in painful point. My flight was late last night and I couldnt register on Sunday. Registration opens at 7am, three hours before the keynote. Even though I know the Apple fanboys are famous for lining up hours ahead of time, surely I say, registration would be a simple affair. Ha! How wrong I was. People waiting for the keynote seating and those waiting for registration are put together in one line. This I had to finally just accept as none of the guards or ushers at the front door could confirm this for me. I was told to just get in the big line. Later, some of my line mates confirmed this is indeed where I should be. Then the condensation of the line starts. As you move up you are instructed to make a line four across and the mass starts to condense. Then you are allowed in to the building in groups. At this point, you can continue on to wait in line or register. If you register you lose your place in line and have to then re-join the line wherever it happens to be when you are done registering. You are reminded not to lose your badge – you will not get another.

The way food is distributed is a nightmare. It is just wheeled out to the masses and you would think they just threw one hundred pounds of red meat to five thousand starving tigers. At 3pm, after a morning of nothing but coffee and little dixie cups of water, they put out Odwalla juices, cookies, fruit and chocolate. Chaos insued as people fought and shoved to get to the juices and snacks. People were literally shoving and pushing to grab a juice or a bag of chips. It was a repeat when they rolled out drinks and hot hors d'oeuvres at the reception later that evening. I didnt even stay. I couldnt find anything redeeming about the  mess.

Lining up to get in to sessions isnt any better. Most of them fill up and you have to get in queue as soon as the previous session ends if you want to get in. There are plenty of Apple “staff” around, but not many get involved to make things a good experience.

Apple, send some people up to visit Brian’s team at Microsoft that runs TechEd. Take notes.

And lastly, why the top-secret, CIA type security at all the sessions with regards to giving out information and guarding what is presented? Again, Microsoft beats you hands-down with their transparency, open blogging by staff and information sharing. There arent many (if any) things they wont share and discuss with you, especially at their top technical conference. Community, learning and sharing are key examples they set.

Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 12:18 AM Rants , TechEd | Back to top


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