I recently went to the inaugural Snow*Mobile mobile technology conference in Madison WI, one of the more unique technical conferences I’ve attended.
For me, the value in the conference was the exposure to different facets of mobile technology. Too often we’re heads down and immersed in our day-to-day development responsibilities to see how others are creating mobile experiences. This was a great way to find out more about a variety of mobile technology topics in a fast-moving, two day, single track conference.
During the conference, I was able to learn more about things like PhoneGap, RubyMotion and Firefox OS; these are technologies that I’ve been curious about but don’t currently use. Also, as a native app developer, it’s always helpful to see presentations on the mobile web and learn more about that aspect of mobile development.
More importantly, over the course of the conference we learned about uses of mobile tech that we may not be familiar with such as how the blind use mobile and how mobile technologies are changing and improving lives in less-developed countries. These two presentations were revealing and thought-provoking — I highly encourage you to look at the slides which are linked above.
Lastly, the conference was well-organized and strove to build a sense of community with frequent breaks for interaction and socializing. I don’t believe I’ve ever been to a conference where the attendees were so strongly encouraged to talk with the speakers after their presentations. Personally, I found them all to be both gracious (and patient) when I spoke with them during the course of the event.
Oh, and we had fun too — paper snowball fights, pinball, prizes and talks from a local coffee roaster and LEGO league students (who at their young ages were extremely inspirational.)
Snow*Mobile was a really great event — I’m already looking forward to next year’s edition.