How We Work

Conferences We Know and Love

+ why you should love them too

We’re big fans of conferences. Why? Because they give you the opportunity to step away from your desk, expose yourself to new ideas and practices, and meet lots of cool, interesting people in your community.

Conferences are extremely valuable — if you pick the right ones to go to. But maybe you’re not sure where to start. Or maybe you’re curious about a particular conference, but want to hear from someone else about what it’s like before you commit to buying a ticket.

We’ve got you covered. Here’s a look at some of the conferences we love attending. Some of these conferences are no longer around (r.i.p.) but most of them are still going strong. Maybe we’ll see you at one of them next year. 😉

try! Swift

New York, New York

try! Swift is a really good conference for the community in NYC. It’s great for networking, exposure, and talking to people. I find the most value in the community-building part. Oftentimes, the office hours to talk to the speaker after their talk is the most useful thing.

– Michael Amundsen

You might like try! Swift if: you’re a developer at any level (beginners included!) in New York City looking for pals and mentors as you learn more about Swift.


Wherever WWDC is

Having never been to WWDC in my life, I feel that I can confidently say that Layers is the better conference of the two. For the unfamiliar, Layers is a three-day design conference that takes place in the same city and during the same week as Apple’s conference. It is (as you would expect) an incredibly well-designed event, with fantastic speakers, great snacks, and a pretty bomb party at the end of the week. My favorite part is the size—there are plenty of awesome people to meet, but it’s intimate enough that you won’t be too overwhelmed.

– Jillian Meehan

You might like Layers if: you want to be around the WWDC hype, but you don’t actually want to go to WWDC.


Portland, Oregon

I just got back from my first XOXO last week, and all I can say is that it was magical. Aside from the great speakers, the arcade full of soon-to-be-released indie games, and the karaoke bar that was popping every night, the community of people from all corners of the internet that XOXO manages to bring together is fantastic. It’s hard to imagine a conference that’s more well-organized and cares about its attendees more than this one.

– Jillian Meehan

You might like XOXO if: you want to meet your internet friends IRL and start up a new side-hustle with them.

A photo of the main stage at XOXO 2018. The main stage at this year’s XOXO was 🔥

Release Notes

Chicago, Illinois

Release Notes is a conference about the business of making and releasing software. Coming out of a podcast of the same name, Joe and Charles book incredible speakers year after year (oh, and me once, also). It’s great because we head people sharing real numbers, and stories about how they have or almost failed at making their business sustainable, and even sometimes what actually happened to work. Good pals, good talks, and a dine-around where you get to explore the city at a small dinner with other attendees, I couldn’t ask for a more thoughtfully curated conference.

– Matthew Bischoff

You might like Release Notes if: you run a software company, are trying to figure out how much to charge for your app, or are scared of marketing.

Matt speaking at Release Notes in 2017. tbt to Matt speaking at Release Notes

CocoaConf Yosemite (r.i.p.)

Yosemite National Park

My favorite conference experience in my years in Apple development was Yosemite by CocoaConf. While the speaker lineup was of incredibly high quality, what set this conference apart from the rest was its location in Yosemite National Park, arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country. Between sessions, there were guided hikes and photo walks around breathtaking mountains and waterfalls. The setting made it easy to leave the stresses and anxieties back home and give full attention to the wonderful talks from the incredibly talented speakers.

– Michael Liberatore

You might like Yosemite if: you enjoy technical talks and networking while fully disconnecting from the worries back home (or you just want an excuse for work to pay for your hiking trip).

A hike at Yosemite National Park. The actual conference was cool, too


Killarney, Ireland

Úll is magical. It takes place in Ireland, and it’s expensive, but everything is taken care of. When I’ve attended, it’s boasted an amazingly diverse set of speakers, experiences, and a much less US-centric crowd. You ride a train across the Irish countryside with your fellow attendees, stay in a hotel with gorgeous views, and learn from folks in all sorts of industries about how they put care and detail into their work. There have been talks, storytelling, science fairs, escape rooms, and so much more. It’s a venue where I was comfortable giving my most vulnerable talk ever, a storytelling slot I used to publicly process the death of Quotebook. If there’s another Úll and you have the money, just go. You’ll see.

– Matthew Bischoff

You might like Úll if: you’ve never been to Ireland, you “trust the process,” or you feel creatively stuck on what to do next or why your work matters.

The well-manicured grounds of a European hotel. How is this a real place?

What else?

We’re always looking to expand our horizons, conference-wise, and there are tons of great events that we’d love to check out but haven’t gotten a chance to. If there are any conferences you love and want to spread the word about, let us know!