A whole bunch of busy tech professionals dropped everything on Thursday and headed to the farm — the Earle Brown Farm, that is (now called Earle Brown Heritage Center — a very cool place). Okay, it wasn’t all that far out of town, only Brooklyn Center, but it was like a trip to the country in a way, getting out of the office to focus on a where our world seems to be heading these days: mobile everything! (Wonder what Earle would think of that?*)
The occasion was, of course, the 4th Annual Mobile March Twin Cities conference, and it drew a sellout crowd of some 300. This conference gets bigger and better every year. The 2013 iteration offered myriad opportunities to network with mobile developers, designers, enterprise IT people, gaming enthusiasts, marketers, and knowledgeable vendor representatives. And an awesome agenda of 32 break-out sessions made for a jam-packed day of learning as well. This ever-changing industry we call mobile is made up of many moving parts and pieces, and it touches every segment of the Twin Cities business community — from the smallest of startups to the hugest Fortune 500 giants. All those segments were well represented at MobileMarch, and there was some serious mixing of the pot going on!
Sessions were in four tracks: Mobile Strategy, Mobile Development, Mobile Gaming, and Mobile Business. A sampling: “Four Key Principles of Mobile User Experience Design” … “The Beginning and End of Mobile Marketing” … “BYOD & MDM FYI” (for enterprise IT types) … “Avoiding Apple Rejection” … and the ever-playful “Using Chipmunk Physics to Create an iOS Game.” It was damn hard choosing from the four concurrent sessions going on throughout the day! Which is why getting to see presentations you missed will be helpful — and many are in the process of being posted on the event site here. So keep checking back.
To get the real lowdown on the event as it happened, one can, of course, go read the very active #mmtc13 hashtag stream. During the day, I was trying to do my share on the Minnov8 tweet stream myself, and I also posted some pix here on Flickr — shot with a mobile device, of course! The official tweets of the @MobileMarchTC team were flying all day, too.
Next time you see one of that team, who do such a great job organizing this event, be sure to thank them: Justin Grammens, our own Phil Wilson, Linda Cummings, and Mike Bollinger. Also, Phil made me tell you to lavish the sponsors with copious amounts of gratitude, as this event would definitely not happen without them: Verizon, Fusion Room, Livefront, Code 42 , SDG, W3i (now NativeX), Microsoft Windows Phone, Compuware, Intertech, and Digineer. They rock, each and every one of them! It was great meeting and talking to many of their people during the breaks and cocktail reception.
Postscript: To illustrate the reach and impact of this four-year-old MobileMarch event, I learned on Thursday that it’s inspired the Fargo tech community to launch one of their own: Mobile Summit, taking place April 28-29. The organizers were in attendance and have already landed some Twin Cities-based speakers.
* Earle Brown Farm, which went through a major renovation that transformed it into an impressive, sprawling conference center, is the namesake of, you guessed it, a really cool guy named Earle, who was Hennepin County Sheriff in the early 1900s and founded the Minnesota Highway Patrol. He was also quite a horseman. He just never got to own a mobile device, as he died in 1963. More history here. When I worked for Medtronic early in my career, my office was in an adjacent building and looked right down on horses romping around the large corral, which is now a parking lot. See what you learn reading Minnov8! (No, I didn’t ride a horse-and-buggy to work — we had cars then. Just no airbags.)