Last year I caught wind on a few podcasts about an upcoming Apple Platform Developer Conference located in Yosemite Valley. CocoaConf Yosemite was one instance of a traveling conference series that had been operating for a few years now. I was curious, had a decent discount code, and thought it would be a really fun way to check something off my bucket list. I even convinced a couple friends of mine to look into it as well.
It was an incredible offer. Four days in Yosemite Valley with a small (maybe 200? Max) group of incredible developers and designers, and I got to meet a lot of people I’ve really admired since I became involved in the community, including Brent Simmons, Jonathan Mann, David Smith, and Jean MacDonald. Room at the lodge and most meals included, less than $2000. It was a hard offer to pass up.
I had only been to one other conference before, WWDC, and this was an entirely different feel. Once I got there and the sessions started it became clear that this was a conference designed to allow developers to take a step back and think about why we do what we do, not so much how. People talked about what inspired them, what drove them, and how they make time to take a step back and be not just a good engineer, but a good person and a good family member. And each day was broken up by four hours of exploring the absolute beauty of the Valley.
It was 100% worth every penny I spent on the trip, and I was really looking forward to going again next year, hopefully bringing Rosalee with me to take part in the non-tech aspects of the week. Unfortunately today CocoaConf announced that they’re ending their series of conferences. I don’t know yet if anyone will be taking over the reigns of the Yosemite conference, but I do know that I’m very grateful to have been able to make it at least once.
They are doing a new conference in Seattle this fall, called Swift by Northwest that everyone should check out, seems very much like a spiritual successor to CocoaConf. Here’s hoping they do something in Yosemite this spring!