We recently wrapped up the second-ever MacTech Conference. From all measures, it was a success. And it was, save one poor choice on our part. We were really sorry to hear that an attendee had been offended at Andy Lee’s talk, “The Ten Dirty Words and How to Use Them.” Andy’s talk finds words in the Cocoa API that could have juvenile meanings and then goes on to explain what they really do. It turns out, this is an excellent way to take a random walk through the API and serendipitously stumble on classes, utilities and methods that you didn’t know where there. In fact, that’s what we try to bring you at the Conference: things that you didn’t know about … in as interesting a way as possible. We also strive to do so in an environment that is safe and comfortable for everyone.
The attendee did the right thing: left the room during the talk. They informed us after the conference via e-mail. The mail started out, “I recently attended the Mac Tech conference (developer track), and overall I had a very positive experience. I wanted to thank you for putting together a great series of talks. I’m sure it was a lot of work!” This was very kind, and we’re glad that overall experience was good.
While many people did find Andy’s session enjoyable and educational, the fact that we made even one person uncomfortable clearly means we made the wrong choice. This is really a personal failing on our part, and we’re not sure where we made the slip as we’re usually hyper-aware of offending people. To be clear, Andy submitted several talks and we asked him to present this one. Not because of the jokes, but because it’s a unique and interesting way of going through the Cocoa API.
More than our attendees learning, we’re learning. We’re learning how to put on a show that educates, entertains and enlightens. Perhaps in that, despite our efforts, we’re still adolescents. With this experience, we’ve learned a bit, and will discuss internally how to avoid making the same mistake again.