Connecting Users with Developers at Macworld

I have an experiment I want to try out. There are more than a few excellent Mac developers, a ton of excellent users which support those developers, but a vanishingly small percentage of developers have an actual booth. Most of them are just walking around on the floor. So here's my idea.

If you're a developer who will be at Macworld and would like to meet up with your users, either post a comment here or send me an email (sstevenson at apple's email service). Tell me what your product is and how you can be contacted or where you're willing to meet people. If I get enough responses, I'll organize the results into contact list indexed by application, hopefully allowing at least some people to meet up.

Why meet up? Developers are much more likely to understand your feedback when you talk to them in person. And users are much more likely to be long-term supporters if they can put a face to the software they use.

I really have no idea if this will work, but might as well give it a try. Also, if you're a user who would really like to talk to a particular developer, let me know and I'll see if either I already have them in my address book or I can track them down. Six degrees and all that. If there's not enough to justify a full list, maybe I can at least connect a few people individually?              
If somebody has a better idea to make this happen, let me know. There are some other options for random chance encounters:

DailyTechTalk's open party on Wed, Jan 10
Niall Kennedy's Mac Small Business Dinner on Wed, Jan 10

I'll be in San Francisco at least on Tuesday. Not sure after that. If I am around on Wednesday I might try to stop in on one of the parties listed above.
Design Element
Connecting Users with Developers at Macworld
Posted Jan 6, 2007 — 5 comments below


Richard Neal — Jan 06, 07 3072

I'd love to meet up with Austin Sarner, to talk about some issues with AppZapper and Disco.

Peter Hosey — Jan 06, 07 3075

Another thing you could do is to have hats with a “DEVELOPER” card in the band and/or glued to it. The idea, of course, is to make developers recognizable on sight.

I'm envisioning one of those hats you used to see on reporters in comic books, with a “PRESS” card in them — but with the card in front, and bigger (three or four inches), and with bigger type. You could have a company logo or name on it, too:

[less big]SurfWriter Software[/less big]

A boater or panama hat would work for this.

David Sinclair — Jan 06, 07 3076

As I mentioned on my new blog, I will be one of those floor-wandering developers, happy to meet with my customers (and with some Dejal logo buttons to hand out, too).

My products include Simon, Time Out, Caboodle, BlogAssist, and others.

Gand — Jan 07, 07 3078

Joining end users with developers, especially FOSS ones, is a target of FreeSMUG I've founded 2.5 years ago. I must admit that this goal is not yet caught up. I can't be there and I can only suggest that this could happen there and then somewhere over the net.

vioccc — Jan 07, 07 3079

I won't be there (but anxously waiting for Steve's annoucements before taking the plunge and buying my first mac) but that sounds like one hell of a great idea.

Actually, i've always wondered why software companies never sent developers along with the marketing guys to these kind of events to be able to get feedback from their existing customers face to face. That sure would be a lot more efficient than web forums and emails and would create a much stronger link between a company and their customers. I've always been so frustrated to never be able to get any meaningful answer from these bloody marketing guys whenever my questions were about more than just feature list or prices.

What about organizing a pub meet as well? It's too late now of course and i'm not sure whether pub meets are as popular in the US as they are in Europe but that'd be a cool way to have a relaxed and informal feedback session between developers and users. But then, pub meets usually work best for existing communities and i'm not sure whether the format would work for what you want to do.


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