Good Morning!

As I hope readers can trust, it is rare for me to be dramatic. However the newsletter title is not exaggerating when you take my ambitions into account. Let's discuss what's happened in 2022 and where we're headed.

What Happened

Handmade Seattle (HMS) 2022 was a success along several fronts. Specifically I noticed a few elements of the conference officially emerge as mainstays:

Our Winning Formula

  • Single Hybrid Track: It's immensely practical to follow the same set of presentations. This gives us a shared context which in turns makes it easier to have productive conversations with any attendee, whether in-person or online.
  • Three-Day Event: Three days. Three dawns. A single chance to save the world 🌚 It's the sweet spot in terms of taking days off work plus ensuring the audience attends all events without hiccups. If we were to do a full week like the big conferences then our shared context starts to break down.
  • Job & Demo Booths: This year we pioneered demo booths and a hybrid job fair. There was consistent excitement, banter, and job interviews well into the evening. We'll have to keep them going forward!
Day three ended here, bonding over fires.

With this formula in place it's now on me to add polish and tweak it further. In the spirit of improvement I intend to publish a postmortem of HMS '22. Stay tuned.

Our Bubble Getting Pierced

A surprising number of attendees didn't know how we came to be. We also had folks who weren't programmers at all. We had local students; structural analysts in aerospace; electrical engineers who write the occasional firmware; technical artists, and even people who work on diesel engines.

"In relation to HMS, something interesting I forgot to mention is that there was a variety of people I spoke to who had no idea about Handmade Hero or Casey which seems so odd to me but yea kinda makes sense."
-HMN Discord Member

Of course we're originally inspired by (though not affiliated with) Handmade Hero. We're still about diving deeper into how our computers work. That said, it's quite a good thing to grow beyond our roots. And I want you to build up competency so as to reverse the decline of software quality—whether you're into video games or not.

Expansion to Boston

This year we finished the conference by announcing our expansion to the east coast.

While HMS is a celebration of systems programming, Boston is designed to be reserved and contemplative: it won't have any live-streaming nor job fairs nor demo booths. It'll be quieter, offline, and more intimate.

We'll offer original workshops and seminars over a summer weekend from highly-regarded programmers who want to build up your low-level expertise. That's as much detail as I can currently offer. As long as you're in this newsletter you'll learn more come February.

What Happens When You Become a Member

If all of this sounds incredible to you but also very expensive, boy you'd be right! There's no realistic way for me to survive unless I give myself up to corporate overlords. There's one escape hatch, however, and it's the membership system. That's where you'd come in: throw a few bucks my way and in return I give you sponsor-free events.

Let me stay indie (and weird)

I realize we're all thinning our herd of subscriptions but if you do end up pausing Netflix (or Disney+, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, VRV, YT Premium, Prime, Apple TV+, ...) it'd be appreciated if you pass even just five dollars of those savings my way.

Ticket sales for a conference cover operating costs, while memberships pay the rent and dessert wine. Oh and food. Members also keep tickets accessible to everyone. (Go ahead and compare our prices with any tech conference out there.)

If you enjoy HMS, and soon Boston, I humbly ask you to chip in. Anything. Otherwise—you guessed it—I'm dead in the water.

-Abner