This was my fourth MacAdmins Conference, which means I’ve had the opportunity to attend half the conferences since it started in 2010. That’s not a record and I know plenty of folks who’ve attended most or all of them. But it does give me perspective to see some of its formula for success.
Invariably, a few of us will start a discussion after dinner and realize we’re the last ones left in the room. (Leslie, Bryce, Brad, Brian and Pete.)
Part of that formula is that it’s fairly eco-system agnostic. It doesn’t try to cater to people using Chef, Jamf, munki, Puppet or any other automation or support tool (although munki is covered in a few sessions here). A lot of the sessions are modular and the majority are about specific toolsets that can plug in to whatever management system a Mac administrator is using. Most other sessions focus on best practices followed by a handful discussing security, personal development and management.
Another part of its success is the team that organizes the event every year. Because this isn’t a for-profit event, groups like Sales and Marketing aren’t involved. There’s nothing to sell, nothing to promote. The conference is a passion not a profession for Dave, Gretchen, Rusty, Brett, Jonathan and Justin. These are people who do the same work as the attendees they attract to the conference. Because of that, it feels genuine. I’m sorry to see this was Justin’s last year on the organizing committee. He’s getting more involved in his role as a manager and needs to move on to focus on that.
The critical part of this formula, though, is the attendees themselves. The Mac admin community is worldwide and broad in scope, but it’s close. Those who attend this or any conference become even closer as they get to meet, socialize and make friends. With so many avenues of social media, there’s little disruption to conversations across time. Conferences are a good place to put a face with an online name but they easily turn into reunions with old friends after attending just a few.
For the benefit of our careers, we go to learn. I think the best reason for attending this or most any conference is best summarized in this tweet I recently saw in my timeline.
Slides and videos from nearly 50 presentations and workshops are on the Resources page. 2018’s conference is July 10-13. Watch them. Learn something. And considering attending next year.
Administering Office 2016 for Mac, Part III
Much of this talk included snippets of scripts and plist files for managing Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) including a preview of MAU 4.0. I’ve posted the plists and scripts from the presentation on my GitHub site below.