Episode 302: MacADUK 2023 in Brighton!
Spring is coming, and with it, MacADUK’s return to Brighton, England for this year’s first European Mac Admin Conference. We’re talking with two of the organizing committee, Alex Hawes and James Ridsdale about this year’s conference, what attendees can expect, and what’s important to them in a Mac Admins Conference.
- Tom Bridge, Principal Product Manager, JumpCloud – @tbridge777
- Charles Edge, CTO, Bootstrappers.mn – @cedge318
- Marcus Ransom, Senior Sales Engineer, Jamf – @marcusransom
- Alex Hawes, Amsys – @alexdthawes
- James Ridsdale, Founder, dataJAR – @james_ridsdale
Click here to read the transcript
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Hello and welcome to the Mac Admins Podcast. I’m your host, Tom Bridge, and it’s great to be back with you, Charles and Marcus. How are you today?
Tom Bridge (01:00):
Hello and welcome to the Mac Admins podcast. I’m your host, Tom Bridge. And Marcus, how is your morning going? It is very early there.
Marcus Ransom (01:06):
Uh, it’s very early. It, uh, it’s involved getting up, having a shower, having some wheat bakes, and now I’m drinking coffee. I’m multitasking. So I’ve not opened Slack yet to see what Tuesday has in store for me, . So if, if any of you notice any eyebrows getting raised while, while we’re recording, I may have started looking at some threads that I really probably should leave until after we finish recording.
Tom Bridge (01:32):
You used a word I was not familiar with. Wheat Bicks. What’s a wheat bix?
Marcus Ransom (01:37):
It’s a breakfast cereal. That’s biscuits of wheat. I, I, I think I, I think in the uk there like wheat, wheat, Wheater, BS, but, uh
Tom Bridge (01:45):
Oh yeah. Oh, Wheater bs. Okay. Okay. That makes sense. And then it’s, you know, my favorite is the, of course the scene comes into mind. Ted lasso the shredded wheat biscuit. He pours it out and it’s like one chunker of a, uh, you know, of a wheat biscuit. Yeah. Down with that. Okay. Yeah. Now I, now I have a good idea in my head. Charles, uh, it was gonna say you were in a studio today. It looks very fancy. Um, how’s your day going?
Charles Edge (02:07):
Oh, it has been wonderful. I will have to leave a little bit early, so apologies in advance that I won’t be here for the tail end of the conversation, but I’m looking forward
Tom Bridge (02:16):
To it. Yeah, and we’ve got some incredible guests. Uh, welcome back to the podcast, uh, Alex Haws and James Ridsdale from Macd Duck.
Alex Hawes (02:25):
Hi Tom. How you doing?
James Ridsdale (02:27):
Hello. Good. Hi. How you doing? You’re all right.
Tom Bridge (02:29):
Yeah. Thank you so much for joining us. You know, it, it’s, I, I got the memories on my Facebook from the very first time I went. That was the memories in my Facebook today, cuz Rich Trouten and Jen Uner and I stopped in Iceland for the day ahead of the conference last year, or, well, gosh, 2016.
James Ridsdale (02:47):
I remember that. I remember, yeah.
Marcus Ransom (02:49):
A long time.
Alex Hawes (02:50):
That’s before Covid. I don’t, we don’t remember about that far. I don’t think ,
Tom Bridge (02:53):
, I don’t think anybody does. Right. And, and so we wanted to get people back on to talk about the conferences that are happening this year. Um, and of course now it is February and we’ve got a lot to look forward to. Um, you know, as we start planning for our spring, how can we work plans to return to Brighton into that? What’s, what, what do we need to do to, uh, to, to get that started?
James Ridsdale (03:18):
Bring your swimming trunks.
Tom Bridge (03:20):
Oh, I think, good idea.
James Ridsdale (03:22):
Alex Hawes (03:22):
This time, this year bring your swimming trunks this year. Cause we last year wouldn’t have been so wise, I
James Ridsdale (03:26):
Don’t think. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Well, you could have to be fair. There’s, there’s still, uh, there’s still people going in the sea as we speak right now. Um, mad as they are. Um, but yeah, we’ve moved it out to May, um, with a view that, uh, it’ll be a bit warmer and we can enjoy the outside a little bit more. And, um, yeah, just make it a bit more, uh, a bit more fun and outdoors for everyone as well. So, so when you say outdoors, you mean standing outside a pub rather than inside a pub? A absolutely. Well, there’s, there’s definitely, there’s, there’s, there’s a few places that really, uh, are really, really nice in the summer, in the winter, you don’t want to be standing outside with a pint, so that’s why we shifted it out a little bit more. And you get some great sunsets as well when you’re down the beach. Um, so yeah, just trying to, you know, when you’ve been inside at a conference all day, the last thing you want to do is to then go inside at a pub. So this is where we want to take the vibe outside a bit more.
Tom Bridge (04:24):
The, my trip through the lanes, uh, in Brighton last year was a lot of fun. It’s these very tight alleys, and there was one spot where Joel Reddick was leading us down towards a pub. And I was like, we, the, the alley is getting narrower and narrower. It is barely one human being wide. Um, and are, are you sure you’re not gonna like, take me to, you know, you know, uh, Vlad and, uh, you know, have him give up my kidneys. I mean, but you know, we ended up in this really great cozy pub off of these great laneways in Brighton. It was fantastic.
James Ridsdale (04:55):
I can take you down some very dark alleys, Tom. There’s, there’s many, there’s many
Tom Bridge (05:00):
Bright You usually do
James Ridsdale (05:02):
usually do. My reputation precedes me. There we go.
Tom Bridge (05:06):
. And what drew you to the south of England?
Alex Hawes (05:09):
Yeah, Mac. Mac Duck was kind of started in London and we did several venues. You may remember we did year two, one year. And actually that was probably the beginning of it. The, um, the O two s on this little sort of, almost a peninsula, if you like, on the, uh, south Bank of the river. And it’s hard to get to unless the, uh, the tubes are running. We were threatened that year with a tube strike on the day of the event. So there was lots of, uh, flapping and planning. Right. How do we get buses, fairies, taxis? Anyway, it’s called off at the last minute. But look, I was talking to James, uh, I was, obviously James has come on board to help with the technical content and he said, look, why don’t we do it in Brighton? You know, and we thought, well, why not?
Um, and I think the thing is, you go to London and you, you are just, you’re lost in a big city. And while it’s fun, a great city to go and see, we felt taking to Brighton, it would be a much more intimate event. Make it more of a destination. It is a great seaside resort. I mean, admittedly last year we didn’t quite get the weather, weather correct. Uh, the week before would’ve been beautiful, but, uh, it was a little bit chilly. So yeah. So we thought we would, we would do it again and give Brighton another go. A few things have changed, um, as, you know, the dates move back a bit and, uh, weather should be warmer, which should make for a much more kind of engaging, entertaining event. Everybody outside drinking and, uh, all that kind of stuff. So, uh, yeah, we thought we’d give that a whirl.
James Ridsdale (06:35):
Tom Bridge (06:37):
And so when you, when you looked at the calendar dates, you know, moving back just a little bit, was that, was that just purely weather or was that, you know, were there other factors
Alex Hawes (06:45):
Involved? If I said yes, I’d be lying , we, um, we, uh, we looked at a, at a sort of similar time in the calendar, and the hotel was busy, so we said, great, well, here’s an opportunity. Let’s, let’s go for some warmer weather. And we pushed it back to, we thought May was, uh, may was late enough before getting into, you know, other conferences or other events or holidays or whatever. So we thought we’d give that a whirl, um, also give us a bit more time to plan, which is always welcome. Um, but yeah, so we thought we’d, we’d take the opportunity to get, hopefully money was England, so you never know what’s gonna happen with the weather. But, um, yeah, that was, that’s part of principally the reason.
Tom Bridge (07:27):
And so, you know, what can folks expect if they’ve never been to Brighton before? You know, James, this is your hometown. Tell, you know, make the pitch. Tell us all about Seaside, uh, seaside, south of England.
James Ridsdale (07:37):
Well, um, Brighton itself is a very vibrant and diverse and creative, um, place to live. And it’s certainly somewhere that, um, I, how can I say it thrived. Um, there’s so much going on down here. Um, it is little London, if you wanna look at it that way. Uh, I mean, if it was good enough for the Victorians to come down and have fun from London, then it’s good enough for everyone else. Um, but it, it really is, I mean, from, from a, um, from a, um, digital community, I mean, there’s, there’s things like Silicon, Brighton and everything else. There’s, there are so many, uh, development houses and tech companies and everything else all popping up all over the place down here. Um, it really does feel this is a nice place for this conference to take place. So it’s, um, yeah, I’m, I’m super excited. So is all the, all the team back at the office and everything else, and, um, yeah. Really looking forward to it.
Alex Hawes (08:32):
Yeah, look, I think what we experienced last year was pretty much everyone stayed together. They might have gone off into little groups around pubs, but we didn’t have people sprinting all over the city. So we very much had a had a feel of the events staying together and, you know, enjoying the, the town together, which, uh, which we really appreciated.
James Ridsdale (08:52):
And we we’re spoiled for venues. Right. So I think in Bryan see this every year. Yeah. We, yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s over 430 pubs in Brighton for such a small sort of area, um, and the, the actual conference venue as well. Um, nothing is far, so it’s, it’s, it’s not a, a trek to anywhere. I think it’s a, what was about three or four minute walk from the conference venue to the, to where we have our, our, our main, main reception on the first night. So, um, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s beautifully local, should we say to me.
Alex Hawes (09:28):
Yeah. And if you see the hotel is right on the beach, so you cross the road mm-hmm. , you’re on the beach, and if you’re lucky enough to get one of the rooms on the, the front of the hotel, then you, you look out to see, I mean, it’s fantastic venue.
James Ridsdale (09:39):
Marcus Ransom (09:40):
And what about getting too Brighton? So for, for people who are coming from outside of the uk, what’s involved in getting from, you know, we, I imagine you’d fly into London, uh, down to Brighton. It’s, uh, it’s another Yeah. Look
Alex Hawes (09:53):
Marcus Ransom (09:54):
Um, place to get to, is it?
Alex Hawes (09:56):
No, it’s very easy. So Gatwick Airport is a 20 minute train ride from Brighton, and the station is probably seven minutes walk from the hotel. Um, if you come into Heathrow, then these days, the connections across London and then down to the, the line that connects to Brighton’s really easy. So, uh, I mean that’s, that was one of the considerations, making sure it was easy for people to get to. And we’ve had various of our guests suggest, you know, other cities around the uk. But in terms of connection and getting to Brighton, it’s very easy.
Marcus Ransom (10:28):
Rail in the UK is one of those things that’s fairly well used as well. It’s, um, you know, I know in some other countries in Australia, for example, you probably wouldn’t consider catching a train between major cities unless, you know, there were no more planes or anything like that. But, uh, , you know, I, I know my experiences of, you know, catching trains around the UK was, you know, a, a very well oiled machine.
Tom Bridge (10:53):
Well, and you know, I, one of the things that I love is, of course, everything supports Apple Pay over there. And so you just show up, you just boo your watch and you’re on the train and off you go. I mean, it’s, it’s very, very straightforward to do a lot of that stuff.
Charles Edge (11:07):
I don’t think the Victorians pooped their Apple watches though. And actually, I don’t think they were allowed to have fun, not to be combative with an earlier comment, but I mean, it is by definition that there was no fun in Victorian anything.
James Ridsdale (11:22):
Charles, I think you should really have a look at the history of Brighton and have a look for Prince Regent and what he got up to in his, uh, pavilion.
Charles Edge (11:30):
Uhoh, maybe I should invent.
Alex Hawes (11:33):
Didn’t the Victorians invent certain kinds of literature?
James Ridsdale (11:36):
I think this was Iha before IHA even existed. You know, this, this was, this is where the Victorians went to have fun.
Marcus Ransom (11:42):
Well, well, I live in the state of Victoria here in Australia, so I’m technically a Victorian and, um, . And, and to be honest, I can’t boot my watch to get onto the public transport here. So I, I think you are correct,
Charles Edge (11:54):
Speaker 1 (11:55):
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Charles Edge (13:22):
You know, now that we’ve talked about the location, let’s move on to talking about the conference itself. If you’ve never been to a Mac ad before, what should you expect?
Alex Hawes (13:31):
So I think the, the first thing you expect is, is community. So there’s a great community. You, if you come as a, as a delegate, as an attendee, you’ll be amongst peers. And, uh, I think one of the strongest Dr one of the stronger draws actually is, is that whole community feel. As soon as you arrive, it’s a very friendly event. You meet new people, uh, discuss, discuss your issues. I think the, the next thing I’d say is we’ve got, we’ve got a fantastic lineup. So content, I know we, we probably gotta talk about this in a while, but you really get to hear from a, a great array of experts in the industry. And if you go to the website and you see the speakers that are posted already, you’ll see, you know, some familiar big names in the industry, some of whom are present today.
Um, but we’ve also got other speakers who perhaps less well known, but who come with a kind of interesting angle on, on it issues or solutions. I mean, I’d sort of as an example pull out Robin, Robin, Lauren from last year who, who brought a kind of view on a human component, which was unexpected, but actually was really well received and was, was thought provoking. And I think it’s just a great event. You know, uh, we are, this year we’re gonna start a little early. We’re doing a, a drinks reception on the first night, the Monday evening, starting about six o’clock, which is sponsored by JumpCloud. Um, everybody who’s in Brighton’s invited to attend. Um, and that’s really gonna kick the, kick the three days off. Um, this, as you know, the second evening is our kind of networking party. Uh, we’re planning to be back in Shelter Hall again this year, which is down on the beach, um Oh, nice.
Which I think we’ve, we’ve reserved the whole place. Um, but yeah, I think that’s it. It’s, it’s a, it’s an event for like minds to get together. What I I was thinking about this earlier, something that someone said to me at an event a few years ago, he said, you know, it’s really lonely being the Apple guy in my, in my business. Cuz you know, nobody gets it. It’s probably less relevant today. I, I granted, but you know, here I am amongst, you know, light minds. I get it. I feel really welcome and it’s, it’s just great to be appreciated. So I think, uh, what do you think, James? Anything to add to that?
James Ridsdale (15:50):
No, no, I think, I think you’ve nailed it really. Um, and, and we’ve worked really hard this year on, uh, building up the lineup even more. I think, um, I mean the last year was, how can I say? It was, um, it was, it wasn’t rushed. It was, uh, we, we did a lot in a short amount of time cuz it was a go, no go is Covid still happening? Is all these things. And we literally had to get it all together. But I think that that worked as well, really well actually. So having some more time this time round to plan it out and actually start those conversations with some of the, uh, some of the presenters really to, to get that content in place. So how many people are you hoping to get along this year?
Alex Hawes (16:33):
Uh, so historically we’ve capped the event at two 50 largely, cuz that was, you know, the capacity of the, the venue. We have the ability to do more in, um, in Brighton and Hilton. So we are aiming for a three 50. That’s what we’re looking for between 300, 3 50. So it’s a small but high quality audience, shall we call it. Um, yeah, I mean our plan is to try and, you know, build the event every year a bit. So we’re, you know, expanding the expo side of it this year, um, trying to draw in a few more exhibitors to come and, you know, meet the net, meet the, meet the community, both show what they have to offer, but also, you know, hear from, from the Apple cis admin community, what they want, what their problems are, and how they, how these organizations can solve it. Um, yeah, so, so that’s kind of 3, 3 50 I think. We’ll, we’ll go for.
Tom Bridge (17:24):
Fantastic. And so, you know, how many sessions does that rep represent? You know, as you go through the, through the three days?
Alex Hawes (17:31):
So this year we’ve got a combination of, well, we’ve gone back to two tracks basically. So our sort of keynote or headline sponsors will be getting a single track session. So the answer to that question is, I think you could attend if you’d attended everything every hour about 18 sessions, which will include your podcast at the end in a panel and, and then various speaker sessions. So, you know, good 18, 18 different sessions to get stuck into
Charles Edge (17:59):
Fun. Uh, and we’ll include links to the conference site. So obviously don’t wanna read off every description of every session that, that you’re holding, but are there some of particular note that you’d like to call out?
James Ridsdale (18:13):
Yeah, I, I think looking, like I say, we’ve worked really hard this year and, and having that bit more time to plan things. Uh, basically got out my little black book and, uh, work with Alex and we were like, right, who, who, who can we get in? And, uh, yeah, we got, I mean, to be fair, those of you that know him, uh, Greg Nagle, uh, you know, instigator of Monkey uh, and all and telling us about the future of that, um, we’ve got our own, uh, Ben Toms, Matt Mule, who’s, uh, gonna be, uh, going into a bit of a deep dive from a cis admin perspective on, on all things, all things Mac and Ventura and, and some different things as well. Just trying to change it up because the, the, the, the general theme of, of all this stuff nowadays is, is isn’t just, isn’t just about who can push out the fastest MD and command, no one’s really interested in that. To be fair, it’s some real transformation pieces and, and we’ve got a, um, uh, an old friend actually, uh, many years ago, used to be his boss, but, um, but he’s, uh, Joe still, and he’s gonna go into, he’s done some amazing stuff, uh, his current, um, his current workplace, uh, about automations and everything else. And that goes into, uh, Octa and all the security side of things as well. And there’s, there’s some really smart stuff out there.
Charles Edge (19:30):
Love it. Uh, you know, I wrote my deck, um, and contrary to popular belief in the quality of my speaking, I don’t write them the morning of but , but I, I, I did write it kind of assuming that the developers were together still. So I might have to go tweak some slides, but are there shared topics that, that both are interested in? And I guess how do you handle that?
James Ridsdale (19:56):
I think from a, a macab admin versus developer, I think the, uh, the bar has been raised somewhat, uh, o over the years and the, um, everyone’s doing a bit of development and everything else. So, um, absolutely Charles, um, there’s a reason I, I wanted you involved as well, cuz I want you to demonstrate to the audience your absolute, uh, mad skills when it comes to all this stuff. Um, so yeah, I mean, trying to, and actually trying to enlighten some of the people out there as well that, that perhaps haven’t, you know, cracked OpenX code and other bits and pieces to actually start, start doing those things. So I am really looking forward to what you’ve got to show us.
Charles Edge (20:37):
Well, , I wouldn’t look forward to it for too long. , .
James Ridsdale (20:43):
Oh, no pressure.
Charles Edge (20:44):
So, you know, as you look at the landscape,
Tom Bridge (20:46):
You know, for Mac admins right now, what, what do you see in your eyes as what they’re hungriest for in terms of
Charles Edge (20:51):
James Ridsdale (20:53):
As, as I, as I alluded to previously, it’s not necessarily about, um, uh, device management and all the other bits and pieces around it. It is around the whole piece mainly. I mean, I, I spend my entire job now, um, helping organizations maintain security and compliance. That’s, that’s literally it. An MDM falls into part of that, that spectrum. But whether it’s right in an app, making sure you’ve got secure development life cycles, if you’ve got all these other bits and pieces in place, it’s all around, uh, workflows, compliance, security. So this is actually, and as, as the Mac, uh, and Apple, uh, in general really, uh, I mean it has now but matured to a, an acceptable enterprise, uh, endpoint. Um, so what follows it is all of those questions. Um, so it’s no longer the isolated thing. So I think there’s a lot of people coming along to these, or a lot of questions are gonna be raised around, how can I get this thing to work? I’m not gonna say it like a PC cuz I’ll that’s that, that, that is red reactable to me . Um, but how, how can I utilize this technology in my workplace and make sure that the business is, is also secure as well?
Charles Edge (22:02):
So I, I do feel like prognostication is kind of part of conference planning. Like one of the hardest parts is trying to figure out what’s gonna be important later in 2023 or even in 2024, because now is kind of the time to be planning for, for, for those future endeavors. So are there any spots where people weren’t asking for something and you thought, well, that’s actually gonna be important, so let’s go source somebody who can talk about it.
Alex Hawes (22:31):
So I think this is probably a, a James question. One thing I will say there, if I ever may before asking James to answer that directly is, is it’s very much a conference where people come looking for answers. So I, I’d sort of describe the audience as broadly falling into three categories, which may be oversimplification, but, but you’ve got the kind of developers and solution providers who come in to show, show the wheres and discuss and gather information about what people need. You’ve then got sort of brought into two categories. The the cis admin guys who are, you know, doing this day-to-day in the, in the organizations and looking for either problem solved or looking for solutions and setting strategy. Um, so if anybody’s asking the question, you know, why should I come? Or what am I gonna, what do I get out of attending the conference? I think, I think that’s it. So having said that, I’ll perhaps ask James if you can answer that look to the future question.
James Ridsdale (23:26):
Well, yeah, I dunno whether it’s, uh, the future question, but one thing that, that nobody ever asked for us to do, or could we have a talk on this and everything else was actually, uh, uh, something that everyone thought was very, uh, black and white and they had nailed. Um, and I refer to, uh, Dan Jones last year who absolutely annihilated the audience and left a lot of open mouths about how to actually design and implement wireless networks correctly just for Apple technology. Um, again, nobody’s actually ever asked for this, but since that talk last year, everyone’s going, have you got Dan’s number? I need to speak to him about this and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Because, um, I think, uh, from from that alone, the, the overall, um, uh, feedback that we had was basically there’s an absolute ton of really, really badly designed networks out there and people trying to enroll devices and do all the bits and pieces where they just don’t work.
Charles Edge (24:24):
Marcus Ransom (24:25):
It’s, it’s interesting hearing that I, I know Chris and, uh, Chris and Tom came down to Australia for Exw World in the, in the great, before Toms doing a similar presentation. I was speaking to Chris about it, um, as to the relevance of a presentation like that now that a lot of people are working from home. And my conclusion was, it’s actually probably even more relevant to the admins now because it’s not just your corporate network that’s possibly managed by somebody else that needs tweaking. It’s sort of looking around in your own home environment that, you know, is being shared with a lot of other people and realizing there’s probably a lot you can do to that to make your working life, you know, sitting in your own study a lot better as well. Um,
James Ridsdale (25:07):
Marcus Ransom (25:08):
So is there, is there gonna be, um, any wireless or networking sessions again this year?
James Ridsdale (25:13):
There is. Dan will be making his comeback. So yeah, he’s coming back to do that, that thing as well. Um, and I think actually Alex, that was one of the sessions that everyone was sort of, where’s the recording? Where’s the recording of that? So , um, yeah, he’s, he’s definitely gonna be coming back and, uh, hopefully he’s got enough business cards with him this time.
Alex Hawes (25:32):
Yeah, I think we’re looking at the views, views of the sessions. That was, uh, right up right up there in terms of,
Tom Bridge (25:37):
Yeah, Dan’s just a, a very engaging speaker and incredibly knowledgeable, especially on, you know, the esoterica of really, you know, doing something hard wifi networks with something a little bit obscure or where things are just a little bit off of access. And so I’m thrilled that he’s coming back. He’s a great speaker
Charles Edge (25:57):
And that’s a great example actually, I think of just evergreen topics that that’s going to be an issue that we’re all struggling to troubleshoot for till the end of time probably. Um, and I, I would guess that the any survey results or anything like that would’ve impacted the desire to kind of have him back. But any other examples of how maybe past survey responses have impacted the choices for future sessions?
Alex Hawes (26:26):
Well, that he, I think Dan’s the most obvious one, but I, I mentioned earlier Robin, Robin Lauren, who, who appeared actually, he hadn’t done a lot of public presentation, um, but actually he blew a lot of people away with, with his presentation and the whole different angle to come at a, at a sec, you know, is the human aspect of security. And in, in part, in fair some of the content is driven by the people that support the event. You know, we gain sponsorship from a number of exhibitors, um, and they actually make the, uh, make the event possible. So, um, now we obviously guide them towards not giving us a sales presentation, but, but giving some insight and something of interest for the, for the audience, which, you know, most do pretty well, uh, that, that’s kind of what stands out. James, what about, or I should, I should, before I hand over to James, should say that the podcast is always popular and, uh, the, um, you know, the forum, getting a gang together and answering questions is, is again, pretty popular. James, anything stand out to you from the surveys?
James Ridsdale (27:37):
No, no, not, not, not really. Like I say it, it’s, I I tend, I I will be honest, I don’t get to see the surveys , um, the, the, the, the, the, I’m, I’m not, I’m not on that distribution list, but I do, uh, I do walk a lot the floor and I do speak to a lot of people as I go around the conference and I was like, is there anything you’d like to see more of? Anything you’d like to see less of? So, um, yeah, I mean, like I say this year as well, if you see me come and grab me if you’ve got some feedback and other bits and pieces, cuz that will help shape the conference next year as well. So, um, yeah. All is to you all.
Alex Hawes (28:09):
Yeah. One of the strongest bits of feedback was, was a desire to see it return to two tracks. Hmm. You know, have a bit more content, a bit more choice. So, uh, so we’ve done that this year.
Tom Bridge (28:20):
Alex Hawes (28:21):
Even though single track was much easier to manage
Marcus Ransom (28:24):
Alex Hawes (28:25):
But, uh, you know, people want value for money, so, uh, you know, we’re, uh, we’re producing the content. Yeah. Yeah.
Marcus Ransom (28:32):
Fi finding speakers for a single track is challenging enough and then when you go Right, we need twice as many speakers. Um, yeah. It, it creates well challenges.
Alex Hawes (28:42):
It certainly was last year because, you know, coming outta Covid Yeah. Quite a few people didn’t want to travel, so, uh, and we’d like to have a, have an international, international lineup.
Tom Bridge (28:53):
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It is no surprise data jar dot mob is consistently ranked in the top 10 highest rated solutions in the G2 grid for mobile device management. Wanna learn more? Come and say hi in the data jar channel of the McMan Slack, or visit us at data jar.co.uk/mac admin’s podcast. Thanks so much to our friends at Data Jar for sponsoring the Mac Men’s podcast. So when you’re planning a conference like this, you know, you thought, you start to think about, great, I need to find all of these talk slots that are out there. How do you go about that? How do you start, you know, uh, stacking the own your own deck, where do you start with, you know, the last session and work your way backwards? Do you start with the opener and work your way forwards? What’s, do you work it inside out? I mean, what’s, uh, what’s your process?
James Ridsdale (30:31):
Well, I’ll, I’ll start on that one, Alex. Well, it starts with, um, really going through what we want to target and focus on what’s really the hot, hot topics. So I, I’m, you know, in my, my day-to-day job as, as what we do as a business, um, it, it’s, it’s really trying to find those things. What are the problems? What are the pain points that are hitting customers? What, what’s the general thing out there, whether it be education enterprise, doesn’t matter what, what vertical you’re in. Um, and try and work back from there. Try and look at then what vendors are gonna be interested in, in coming along. What actually are they gonna bring to the conference? And then around that, who are the specialists? So, so again, if I look at this, you know, not to mention names, but Octa is, um, is certainly, uh, something that’s, that’s growing a lot of pace out there because of the way it can be used. And, and again, knowing Joe, seeing what they’re doing, um, really sort of helps. Like, I, I need that other people need to see this, how this tech should be used properly. Um, because it, it does save a lot of time and money and that, that stuff needs to be shared, right? So
Marcus Ransom (31:39):
Also seeing examples of people actually using it themselves, um, in presentations Yeah. And practical examples of it. Um, you know, everything works in the sales pitch deck, but seeing somebody who’s actually implemented this and talked to that is, you know, I is a really powerful way of describing a lot of that new technology.
James Ridsdale (31:59):
Exactly. Exactly. So it’s, yeah, it’s not, it’s not a sales pitch. This is actually someone who’s bought the technology and they’re using it and they’re using it in a really, really smart way and clever way. And then you’re like, ah, how can I get that into, into my organization? So yeah, that, that’s, that’s always, uh, um, uh, uh, I’m very happy when I see that knowledge being shared.
Alex Hawes (32:19):
Yeah. And historically those have been really popular sessions. So as you say, you know, the, it’s interesting to see the products and, you know, see what’s going on, but, but hearing those real world problems solved and implementations is, uh, you know, the, the audience really likes that stuff.
Marcus Ransom (32:36):
And, and then being able to trigger the hallway track afterwards where if you’ve gone and attended a presentation of somebody who’s implemented technology you are considering, um, and, you know, maybe there’s some things they didn’t cover in the, in the talk, or there’s some really open and honest discussions you want to have with them about how it went. Being able to go and speak to them afterwards and understand, you know, an an easier way to implement it or to, you know, save you, uh, you know, a bunch of time and money in evaluating something is, you know, worth, worth the cost of the ticket and the flights and accommodation alone I’ve found for, for those sorts of sessions.
Alex Hawes (33:15):
Yeah, I mean, interesting you said that. So, so a couple of bits of feedback last year were a lot of the sessions didn’t need 40 minutes. So we’ve, we’ve reduced many down to 30, um, which allows us to push more content in, but also, um, more corridor time, you know, more time. So we’ve expanded the breaks a bit to give people more time to meet each other around, you know, the coffee bar or, you know, round the sponsor stands and chat and, and you know, do just that, which, uh, we know as you say, people derive a lot of value from, so hope that works.
Tom Bridge (33:49):
Mm-hmm. , one of the challenges that I think a lot of conference organizers have to deal with is, you know, how do I make sure that my conference represents my community? Um, you know, it, the challenge of putting together a big conference is making sure that you’ve got the right slate of people looking at this year’s lineup. I’m seeing, you know, a lot of dudes not gonna lie. Um, how do you go about recruiting to make it a better platform to make it a better, more diverse slate as part of your process?
James Ridsdale (34:20):
So this is something not just on a conference side of things, but in a professional capacity that I am desperate to try and fix, uh, or, or do whatever we can to do this. And I was, I was even looking at, um, Max’s admin actually and looked at their lineup. There’s literally, it’s just, just guys. Um, and I think from when I was actually chatting to my wife about this a few weeks ago, I was like, why is it, she goes, well, I find to be fair, if you weren’t in it, I find it really boring. And I’m like, right, okay, well that’s, that’s your opinion. Um, my son, some of my male friends find what I do, really boring. So it doesn’t, it’s not, it’s not that thing, but I think in general, the tech industry is male dominated because guys tend to gravitate towards it.
I I have been in situations actually, and we, we managed to get a few more female speakers last year, but it’s really, really hard work, unfortunately, sometimes don’t wanna talk or, I don’t know, it’s that imposter syndrome thing and trying to really, you know, I can’t, I can’t physically drag people out on stage and say, you must talk . Um, but I I, what I would say is, uh, we, we do have some speaker slots left and if anyone’s listened to this, please, uh, we’d love to see you and, uh, we’d welcome you with open arms and please, you know, send, send your, send your, um, ideas over to us.
Tom Bridge (35:47):
What’s the best way that folks can contact you. If you’ve got a talk in your head where you’re like, Hey, how do I, how do I get this on the stage? I’m somebody who doesn’t look like that. I’m somebody who has something to say who has, and believe me, I know that they’re out there. Um, you know, cuz we see them all the time, the Mac admin Slack and on guests on this podcast and other places, what’s the right way to get people to get in touch?
Alex Hawes (36:08):
Well, there’s one of three ways. There’s a, there’s a button on the website on the speaker page, or there should be, or you know, if you’re happy to put up an email, you know, with this email me direct or James, if you’re willing James to, you know, email one of us direct or maced maced.uk, which will be picked up by the admin team, then yeah, we’d love to hear from them. Um, we have tried fantastic. We have tried hard promise you, um, but on, on a, on a positive note, you know, looking at last year, every year the audience gets a bit more diverse. Now it’s still overwhelmingly male, but, you know, um, it is, it is changing and it’s quite an international audience. So it’s not just, you know, a bunch of guys, you know, guys from the uk we’ve got people from all over Europe and North America and mm-hmm. , you know, historically. But yeah, we’d, we’d love to see more wider participation. Um, and this is a topic every year. We, we discuss this every year and we push and, uh, it’s really hard.
Marcus Ransom (37:08):
And I think the onus is not just on, uh, the conference organizers, which do have an enormous responsibility to, you know, have representation, but also, um, people who are regular speakers at conferences rather than the, the responsibility being between the conference organizers and the presenters from a diverse background. Also the people who are presenters who are not from a diverse background, who see somebody who has a good story to tell and saying to them, would you like some help? Um, I’m happy to help you, um, show you how to put something together and encourage people who have a story to tell. Because if you’ve never put together a conference presentation before and you’ve enjoyed watching a few, um, it can seem like a lot of work and there’s a reason for that because it is a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding work. But having someone encourage you and tell you that you are, you have a story that’s worth telling. And cuz you know, sometimes it can, it can seem, when you see all of these, this amazing content being presented, it’s like, well, I’ve, I’ve got nothing at that level to say. And generally it’s the people who feel like they have nothing important to say or nothing different to say who are actually the ones that have something really fascinating to, to say.
Charles Edge (38:26):
I think everybody’s got a story hidden Yeah. In there. Um, some of us are just probably more comfortable telling our stories. Y you know, because of whatever reason we’ve been told we can, we’ve decided we can for whatever reason, but
Marcus Ransom (38:44):
Some somebody’s already helped us and encouraged us.
Charles Edge (38:48):
Yeah. I I, I do think this is one place where like Penn State with their conference does a good job with this, with they, they have a mentor channel in Slack where if you want help, you know, crafting and submitting a presentation or maybe just finishing the writing, whatever it happens to be, I would say on Slack, feel free to hit me up at any time. I would love to, um, to help. I mean that’s, that’s part of what we do on the podcast. We find guests to tell us their stories, and those guests come from a wide, uh, I would say diverse set of backgrounds because we’re doing that outreach, looking for them, um, on a pretty consistent basis. And it’s a lot of extra work. Um, it would be a lot easier to just have Greg Nagle as our guest every week, or , you know, or just, or just have us on. Um, and Greg is an awesome guest, but he will not, no matter how hard I try come on more than once a year . So, so we have to look further than Greg.
Marcus Ransom (39:56):
Joe, Joe Renick on the other hand, would show up every week if we let him
Charles Edge (40:00):
only, only so that, only so that he can have more times on the pod than Mac Mule. You know, that’s the only reason he wants to be here
Alex Hawes (40:09):
Is to one up thing is, I, I’d hope that maced is, is the kind of event where a new speaker, particularly now with Jill Trak come along and take a short session, maybe be mentored by, you know, one of the more experienced speakers and, um, and do it for the first time. Yeah.
Charles Edge (40:29):
Marcus Ransom (40:30):
I, I, I think, you know, Mac admin conferences in general are a safe, safe place. Um, the audience wants you to succeed, the audience wants to hear your story and is interested. Um, a great, great piece of feedback from one of my colleagues, Ash McKinlay, when he came to Janek for the first time, and he’s fir been a Mac admin for years, and it was his first experience of going to a specific MAC conference. And he, he said that unlike a, a lot of the other tech conferences he’d been to where an organization would send four or five people and they’d wear their company jacket and they’d hang out together and, you know, it was all about them and the tech, he said, coming along to a Mac admins conference, everybody was talking to each other and there was this real sense of community. And it was, it was amazing to hear that, you know, I’d been part of this community and enjoyed that.
And it had never really occurred to me at that stage that other communities weren’t necessarily like this. And, you know, and I think that’s, you know, whether it be, uh, whether it be conferences, whether it be coming onto the podcast, um, this community only exists because we’ve shared information with each other. And whilst it can seem really daunting, um, remembering that everybody is actually really interested to hear what you’ve got to say, um, it may not seem that way the night before the presentation when you’re still working on your slides and either trying to cut a two hour presentation down to half an hour or try to increase a from 10 minutes. But when you get up there and give that presentation and there’s that moment of silence, and then the questions start coming or the people start coming up to you, you know, a around the coffee station afterwards and asking, asking questions, um, it, it’s really rewarding and you realize that people are actually listening, um, and, and people are paying attention.
Alex Hawes (42:30):
Yeah. I think it’s easy to think that perhaps what you have to say is trivial, but you can bet that there’s a good chunk in the audience who are grateful for what you’re saying have the same problem and, you know, we’ll get some something to take away from it. So, you know,
Marcus Ransom (42:46):
And the sessions also don’t need to be deeply technical as well. Like, you know, as much as we love going and seeing Greg Nagle present and impart all of his years and years of wisdom, a lot of people attending conferences are at the beginning of their journey in this world as well. Giving presentations that are at a more general level also provides, you know, a rich source of content for people who are, you know, yet to discover the joys of creating their own auto package recipes or, you know, writing their own script from scratch or creating their own application. How have you gone about ensuring that there is content at, at various levels for, for Mac Duck?
Alex Hawes (43:30):
I think, like we’ve said, we’ve looked around what are the, the key issues that we think, um, people are interested in or the, the hot topics in the industry. And then we’ve tried to build out a program around that with a drawing actually on sort of last year’s, if we had a bit of variety in terms of, um, you know, some, some perhaps more technical. Others are gonna be telling the story. Um, and as James said, we’ve still got a few slots left, so if you think we’re missing anything , um, and like you said, we’re, you know, keen to hear from, from a few speakers, which I think we’ve got three or four left. James, sorry, what are you, you wanted to say?
James Ridsdale (44:10):
No, no, no, absolutely. By the way, sorry for the coughing. I’m literally, I’ve got something from, from the gym. I’m, I’m, yeah, it’s probably not perfect. Don’t, yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. I’m sort sitting here holding back and cough. I’m like,
Marcus Ransom (44:25):
Get it over and done with
James Ridsdale (44:26):
Now. So I was trying to talk, but it just didn’t come out, so sorry. Anyway, there we go. It’s not Covid, I promise. How many times are we gonna say that?
Tom Bridge (44:35):
At least once more . Um, but, uh, but I was gonna say, I’ll be bringing my N 95 this year. It’s totally cool to come to conference masks. Good. It’s totally fine. Do your thing. Take care of yourself. That’s the important part. That’s it. Um, you, you know, for those folks who can’t make it in person, you know, what are the options to kind of catch up on the conference after it happens?
Alex Hawes (44:55):
So, um, after, hopefully shortly after the conference, all the sessions are recorded, we’ll be go through post reduction and then we’ll be put up on both the website and probably on the maced YouTube channel. So once they’re up, we’ll announce them. Um, so similarly, if you are, you know, you’re picking a track through the event and you miss something, you’ll have the chance to pick it up, pick it up shortly after the conference so everything’s recorded.
Tom Bridge (45:21):
That’s awesome. And I deeply appreciate that you guys do the hard work and you guys do it so well, um, to make sure that those sessions go out after the fact cuz it’s, you know, yeah, I mean obviously it’s better to see it in person cuz you get to ask questions, you get to interact with the speakers, you get to interact with your fellow, you know, folks, oh man, did you see Dan Jones’ talk? Wasn’t that great? What about, you know, this after the fact when you’re all down at Shelter Hall or you know, out at the pub later. Um, it’s a great way to interact, but, you know, it’s so great to basically say the community still needs this knowledge. We are gonna support the community and make sure that it’s out there.
Alex Hawes (45:56):
Yeah. So last year’s sessions are live on the website still, and uh, also on YouTube. So if anybody’s, you know, thinking or should I, shouldn’t I go to Mead? Go and have a look and see what we’ve done mm-hmm. , um, and make your mind up. But, um, we didn’t have a video from Shelter Hall, so you just have to imagine that better. No,
Tom Bridge (46:13):
It’s, uh, , you just have to imagine it. The food was incredible. Um, the
Marcus Ransom (46:18):
Videos are also great for the people who are present as well. So if you know, something is being recorded, it means you can really be present in the moment and focus on paying attention to what’s happening, uh, you know, speaking to someone afterwards. But it’s also a really valuable resource where it’s like, okay, so what exactly was that thing thing that they mentioned? What, you know, how did that work in the slide? And being able to go back without having to furiously take notes while you’re trying to pay attention to something. So, you know, having Yeah, absolutely. Having that, that resource available where it’s like, oh, I remember that session I saw two years ago that maybe wasn’t that relevant to me then, but now all of a sudden it is. So, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a really rich library for, for Mac admins to have all, all of this content on YouTube. So, you know, really appreciate you you doing that because it is a lot of effort to, to do that.
James Ridsdale (47:07):
Yeah, no, it’s invaluable actually. Um, and, and like I say, yeah, it is stuff you can just refer back to. So I would encourage anyone to go and go and check ’em out as well if you’re thinking about coming.
Alex Hawes (47:18):
But don’t rely on the videos. No. Come and do it in person and then enjoy the videos. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tom Bridge (47:23):
for sure. Here at the Mac Admins podcast, we wanna say a, a special thank you to all of our Patreon backers. The following people are to be recognized for their incredible generosity. S Stu Bakka. Thank you. Adam sbe. Thank you. Nate Walk. Thank you Michael. Si. Thank you Rick Goodie. Thank you Mike Boylan. You know it. Thank you. Uh, Melvin Vive. Thank you. Bill Steitz. Thank you. Aus Storyville. Thank you. Jeffrey Compton, m Marsh, Stu McDonald, Hamlin Cruin, Adam Berg. Thank you. AJ Petrek. Thank you James. Tracy, Tim Pert of two Canoes. Thank you. Nate Sinal, will O’Neill, Seb Nash, the folks at Command Control Power, Stephen Weinstein, CHES W out, Daniel McLaughlin, Justin Holt, bill Smith, and Weldon. Dod, thank you all so much and remember that you can back us if you just saw head out, out to patreon.com/mac ADM podcast. Thanks everybody. You know, I think that’s, that’s a great place for us to, to kind of wrap this up and, and dive into the bonus question. So, I mean, we’ve talked about everything that’s in the obvi, that that’s, that’s immediately obvious. We get to enjoy a beautiful seaside town. We get to enjoy an incredible lineup of talented speakers. But, you know, I’m gonna ask the bonus question aside from the obvious what else is in it for, you know, the attendee at that point. So Alex, I’ll let you go first.
Alex Hawes (48:46):
Well, obviously the goodie bag, I mean, there’s a goodie
Tom Bridge (48:49):
Bag. There’s a goodie bag too,
Alex Hawes (48:51):
And, uh, oh, come on. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. With some great merch . And we encourage, actually we encourage all the sponsors to bring, to try and outdo each other on merch. So if you are a collector then, uh, you know, you can have a pretty, pretty profitable event.
Tom Bridge (49:06):
I seem to recall picking up some very limited edition, uh, GitHub speakers Stick or GI GitHub stickers at the conference a few years ago. And I’m still trying to get another one of those cuz it’s, it’s on a laptop that has since gone to live with the recyclers. But, um,
Alex Hawes (49:22):
Let’s not forget the Fleet Smith socks. Oh
Tom Bridge (49:24):
Yeah. Yes. Which I still wear for the Rick. Yeah. . Um, they, those were good socks. They were a big hit. That’s down here at Ex World as well. James, how about you?
James Ridsdale (49:34):
Um, well, I, I, like I say, I’m, I’m very passionate with, uh, with, with the lovely city that I live in. So, um, yeah, I mean there’s so much to see. Um, even if you’ve, if you’ve not been, there’s, there’s so much history, um, and really between the nightlife and, and the history of the place as well, you will be slightly enchanted and, uh, and follow me as well, cuz I know all the good places to go.
Tom Bridge (50:02):
I really enjoyed visiting a brand new pub to you last year. Oh yes, . Um, it’s that one that was right outside the venues. This cute little pub that’s like in the back of a building. You can’t see it from the main drags you wouldn’t know it’s there except unless you happened upon it as we all did that afternoon. Um, and, you know, sat between sessions and had a pint at two o’clock in the afternoon or later. And, you know, this beautiful, cute little pub. So lots of great little, um, I, you know, Joel Renick and I went for a walk on, uh, one of the mornings and walked by these beautiful art galleries in the lanes and stuff like that. It’s just a, it’s a really spectacular town. So, um, here’s to Grand Adventures. You know, folks can, uh, you know, sign up for the conference. We’ll put the signup details into the show notes here so that folks can sign up using our code and get a little bit of a discount. Cuz it’s always nice to have a little bit of a discount, uh, to, to encourage you to come along. Um, but it’s gonna be a, it’s gonna be a great show and I’ll be ecstatic to see you all in like three months,
James Ridsdale (51:01):
So we can’t wait. See you all in person. Yeah,
Tom Bridge (51:05):
In person. Live and in person.
James Ridsdale (51:08):
So people would
Speaker 7 (51:08):
Tom Bridge (51:11):
Yeah. Right. Like, you don’t know. I’m wearing sweatpants right now, . Um, you know, I did not, you know, at least I’m wearing pants, so I, you know, the, the, the, the the we, it’s a workday. I try to wear pants. Um, but you know, try, no, I don’t always succeed. That’s neither here nor there. Um, but yes, looking forward to seeing everybody. Alex, James, thank you so much. Where can folks go to, uh, you know, just one last shout out. Where can folks go? Tosey more about the conference?
Alex Hawes (51:35):
Yeah. Direct to the firstname.lastname@example.org. Um, fantastic. Yeah, maybe we’ll pop the link in. It’s all there, all the information. Is there more coming? Uh, the schedule be up, up schedule will be up very soon. Hopefully. I’ve been promising it to James the last two weeks. . Uh, yeah, no, we’re good. We’re nearly there.
James Ridsdale (51:53):
, we’ve got a meeting Wednesday I think we have.
Alex Hawes (51:56):
Yeah. Yes. Won’t be ready by then.
James Ridsdale (51:59):
No . Okay. Alright. Okay. Okay,
Tom Bridge (52:01):
Fine. Alright, well fantastic. And we’ll see you all very soon. So thanks everybody and, uh, thanks to our sponsors this week. That is our friends at Conhi, our friends at Data Jar, which who we barely touched on, but thank you, uh, Ja to Giannis and, uh, and James for, for back in the pod. And then also our wonderful friends at Collide, uh, who have a lot going on right now. And I feel like I need to get Jason Miller back on the podcast to be uh, you know, cuz there’s a stuff happening there. So thanks everybody, and we’ll see you next time.
James Ridsdale (52:31):
See you later.
Alex Hawes (52:32):
Thanks for having us.
James Ridsdale (52:33):
Thank you. Bye-bye.
The Mac Admins Podcast is a production of Mac Admins Podcast LLC. Our producer is Tom Bridge. Our sound editor and mixing engineer is James Smith. Our theme music was produced by Adam Codega the first time he opened GarageBand. Sponsorship for the Mac Admins Podcast is provided by the MacAdmins.org Slack, where you can join thousands of Mac admins in a free Slack instance. Visit macadmins.org. And also by Technolutionary LLC: technically, we can help. For more information about this podcast and other broadcasts like it, please visit podcast.macadmins.org. Since we’ve converted this podcast to APFS, the funny metadata joke is at the end.
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