The name is different now, but the friendships are the same. I had a non-stop great time at Macworld | iWorld, the new name for the 27-year-old trade show. Late January is a quiet time of year in San Francisco, which can be a beautiful city, and felt like it this time around. For the first time in many years, I stayed for the full length of the show, and even then barely talked to so many friends at the show and missed getting together with a bunch of people who live in and around SF — there just wasn't time!
My favorite story from the show starts with when I landed at SFO. At baggage claim, I turned on Find My Friends, an iOS app that Apple released some months ago. I'd barely used it before except to test. I received a group temporary request that would let me see a bunch of fellow writers during the show. I accepted it, and shortly thereafter saw that my friend was in Brisbane, Calif. Now, the only reason to be in Brisbane is because you're driving somewhere. I texted her to see if she (a Macworld editor) was on her way to or from the airport. It turns out she and fellow editor Dan were coming to pick up yet another editor, and my buddy, Lex. I knew Lex was arriving on Wednesday, but hadn't thought to ask him when. He was landing a few minutes from when we texted and his baggage claim was feet away. I walked over, met Ren and Dan, and then we met Lex.
I had a lovely drive into the city to my hotel, where Jeff Carlson (my Seattle pal) was there with his mom and daughter. Jeff and daughter Ellie were visiting his mother in Dixon, and Jeff and I were rooming together. I texted him that we were en route, so he delayed his mom's departure so I could see her. (I love his mom.) We pull up and Jeff, Ellie, and his mom Susan come out, along with Adam and Tonya Engst, my friends and TidBITS/Take Control publishers from Ithaca, also staying at the hotel. Moments later, I meet Michael Cohen, a TidBITS editor who I hadn't yet met in the flesh. (Not everyone is in the picture.)
From there it was off to two different parties and then a staff dinner, which involved miles of walking in moderate weather. The next morning, I interviewed Susan Orlean on the Main Stage at the event, something that had been in the works for a while. We had lunch with a small group afterwards, and then I breezed through the day of meeting a million other people and roaming the show floor. Friday and Saturday were also full of people, meeting longtime Twitter and email correspondents, more checking out the show floor, a brief visit to a Twitter friend at Twitter itself (a block away from the convention center), and three Macworld Live events on the trade-show floor! Sunday morning, I rose not too early, walked to a BART station, went to SFO, and flew home.
It was a busy and marvelous time. The show is such a mix of social and professional. A chance for me to meet up with friends and colleagues, and a mix of the two, and an opportunity for me to chat with some of the folks who read my work who aren't in the writing field. More pictures here. Although I'm working in my basement at home, and that can sometimes be isolating, after four days of maximum contact, I'm happy to have a little respite! I wish we could this every three or four months.