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My experience at Deep Dish Swift

As soon as the Deep Dish Swift conference was announced I knew I wanted to go. The thought of meeting so many amazing developers I have admired or ones I’m learning of for the first time was exciting. I also was a little unsure of what to expect because you never know what the turn out would be and I have only attended a few other conferences.

The conference I had been to the most is AltConf. It was a really fun event right next to WWDC and the convention center Apple took over. But that was the old format in the before times and things are different now. So when Josh Holtz took on the task to put on Deep Dish Swift I knew that it would be something new.

Whatever I had thought the conference would be I was overwhelmed by what it was. Josh put on a conference that was not only really impressive and well done. But it was so much fun all I can think about is next year to hopefully go back to Chicago to see everyone again.

The conference was 2 and a half days and the scheduling and activities was perfect. Starting day one as kind of a half day let everyone get settled in for the conference. Each talk was about 45 minutes or so with time for questions afterwords. Then followed by a 15 minute break depending on how long the talk or questions were. This format along with all the talks occurring at the same time in the same room was a winning format. I have only AltConf to compare to really but they had multiple rooms and multiple talks going on. During AltConf the only time we were all in the same room was to watch the WWDC Keynote or ATP live show.

When everyone is in the same room during the same talk its different. The feeling and vibe is different, and after each day you get to know the friends you’re sitting next to even more. There wasn’t assigned seating but there was definitely lots of people in the same area they were before.

When I first arrived at the conference hall I was a little nervous but excited. I knew that I was going to be able to meet a lot of people who I had only interacted with online. And indeed I did but what was unexpected was the friends I got to meet that knew who I was. I wasn’t thinking people were going to recognize me and say hello I thought it would be the other way around. It meant so much to me and still does it was a really good feeling. So often in my hometown I have a few friends who work on Apple’s platforms. But the majority of time I am the only developer in the room. I haven’t had the opportunity to work as an iOS developer so what I experienced at Deep Dish was really different.

I was always in a room with someone who was a kind and really smart developer. We would go from talking about random topics to showing each other our apps and talking about our approaches. Everyone I met was so kind, knowledgeable, and just wanted to help others with their problems. That environment was the norm at Deep Dish and wherever we were.

The first night we all invaded the closest Giordano’s for some deep dish pizza. It was my first time in Chicago and first time having deep dish pizza. Both did not disappoint! It was so good and definitely different than pizza I had tried before. The subsequent nights I got to hang out with new groups of friends. There was numerous spots to eat and every place we went to there was always 3 or 4 tables with other groups from Deep Dish. All of the dinners and lunches and breakfasts were a really great time to be able to talk and meet new people.

A picture of me and a group of friends at Giordanos in Chicago. The first night of the conference at Deep Dish Swift.

A picture of some Deep Dish Pizza at Giordanos in Chicago.

The Talks

The talks at Deep Dish Swift were all really inspiring. There wasn’t one talk I didn’t learn something new from. Josh knocked it out of the park with the speaker line up he got. A few of my favorites were from: Peter Steinberger, Via Fairchild, and the closing keynote talk from Paul Hudson. Each speaker had a different talk and a different perspective to share. While there were some discussions about code some of my favorites involved a little less code.

Hearing Peter talk about his start as an iOS developer to building and selling PSPDFKit was definitely a stand out. He shared so much with the audience being very open and brave. I think thats another thing I didn’t expect from the talks. So many people were very open about their successes but also their struggles and hardships. I think if anyone attended the conference and is new to being a developer. They got a really great insight to the many different aspects that comes with. It is so much more than just the code, marketing, and the App Store. It’s the learning process, the personality you put into your app, and the people in the community that are there to help and cheer you on.

Another favorite talk of mine was by Via Fairchild she spoke on mentorship. Both being a mentor and what it is like to be a mentee. It was so inspiring to hear her talk about how mentorship helped get here on the path she is and how we should all be mentors for others. It’s a relationship where both people learn from each other it’s not just the mentee.

Via Fairchild giving her talk on Mentorship at Deep Dish Swift.

The closing keynote by Paul Hudson was the perfect way to end the event. Paul has done so much for the community with his books, website, videos and more. He took the stage and gave what might have been my favorite talk. He touched on so many points that were from past talks but also put a lot of important things into context.

He gave a talk that had so much heart and left you feeling like you were ready to march off and help others. Paul stressed on how we should focus less on design patterns and focus more on building apps and things that make a difference for people. How AI and large language models can’t match a persons heart and creativity to make something. Then he reminded us on the things we still need to work on to make the community more inclusive and friendly.

Paul Hudson giving his talk closing out Deep Dish Swift.

At the conference I had the opportunity to meet Paul. We had a few conversations and that was a surreal experience. His teachings have helped me solve so many coding problems and build my apps. Paul is so kind, encouraging, and easy to talk to.

Launched Live

Charlie Chapman about to start Launched live at Deep Dish Swift.

Launched the podcast I edit for my friend Charlie Chapman recorded its first live episode. Charlie interviewed the CEO of RevenueCat Jacob Eiting and it was a ton of fun. They got to sit at a small table with some Grordano’s pizza boxes in view. They talked about Jacob’s backstory and how he got into iOS development to becoming the CEO and starting RevenueCat with his co-founder. I encourage you to listen it’s a really fun one and you can hear the laughter and excitement of the audience.

Meeting Charlie in person at the conference for the first time was also a huge highlight. We have been friends for a while but since we live so far we had never got to hang out in person. We had lots of time to sit and talk share stories and our experiences at the conference.

Charlie Chapman recording Launched live at Deep Dish Swift.

Deep Dish 2024?

Me and Josh Holtz at Deep Dish Swift.

Deep Dish Swift has been a huge success and Josh Holtz pulled off something amazing. He created a conference that showcased some really talented developers with talks that were both memorable and inspiring. A vibe and atmosphere that you didn’t want to leave. As it started he shared a super impressive stat that the conference had 313 attendees from 23 countries. All this is even more incredible because this is Josh’s first conference he organized. I don’t know how he does what he does but never underestimate Josh Holtz. My hope is that next year there is another Deep Dish Swift. That Josh is able to grow and expand it to include even more people.

No pressure Josh you did amazing!

Deep Dish for me has been a life changing event. I feel so much more ready and energized to work on my personal projects like Bridges. That the iOS/Apple community I love so much is as great as I think it is. And that there is still so much more I can do to continue to be a part of this special community.