They've gotten rid of the dedicated Mac Track at ABA TECHSHOW®?! How dare they!? TECHSHOW's probably being run by someone who's not into Macs, and they're just kicking all of us to the curb! Well, I’ll show them – I’m not going to TECHSHOW this year!
Running the only Managed Service Provider that works only with Mac-based law firms, I've developed very close connections in the world of Mac-using attorneys. I was at Disneyworld attending the annual MacTrack Legal conference in October 2016 - the week that Hurricane Matthew was coming and was destined to give Florida a battering unseen in years, when I first heard the rumors that there would be no dedicated Mac Track at TECHSHOW, which is presented by the ABA Law Practice Division.
As the storm passed, we were on lock-down at Disneyworld, with emotions running high. The common thread as these rumors rippled through the attendees was a feeling of being cut out and pushed aside. It's not fair. I try to keep an open mind and always find the good in situations and told myself - it's going to be okay. Hey, if anything, it would help increase attendance to the great event, MacTrack Legal (formerly known as MILOfest) which is coming up on its 9th year in 2017.
A few months went by, and it was eventually confirmed that there would be no dedicated Mac Track at ABA TECHSHOW 2017. For several years now, Mac users have had a dedicated track where every single session was targeted for Mac users. The turnout was consistently high, and the Mac users were feeling the love. So why the change? I was determined to find out.
Adriana Linares is the 2017 TECHSHOW Chair, so I went straight to the top and requested a call with her to gain some clarity on this. I admit, I was going in a bit skeptical and ready to fight for the Mac community. However, I was quickly diffused by her reasoning - which made perfect sense. You see, as technology continues to advance, the massive gap which used to exist between PCs and Macs is becoming smaller and smaller.
Adriana told me, "When we have the Mac Track, people only go there, but don't attend other sessions that would be really useful." She believes that taking this step is expanding the Mac Track by bridging the divide. She likes to think they still have a Mac Track, but instead of going vertically all in one room, it is spread apart. Reflecting on her statement, I came around completely and agree with her.
Some of the tools differ, and are certainly differences between Windows and Macs, but there is far more similarity that difference than has ever been with today's technology landscape, primarily thanks to Software-as-a-Service. One hundred percent of our clients (Mac-using law firms) are now using Office 365, which means they are on Office 2016 - by far the best version of the Microsoft Office application suite for the Mac. The Office 365 adoption rate is the highest I have ever seen by far amongst Mac-using attorneys because Microsoft has made a tremendous move towards bridging the divide between their Windows versions and Mac versions. TECHSHOW has several presentations focused on learning how to use Word and Excel. Are there some differences between the PC and Mac version? Absolutely! But I guarantee you that the majority of the content covered in these presentations will be just as easy to implement on the Mac version vs. the Windows version.
There are so many highly valuable ideas and content areas covered at TECHSHOW that go FAR beyond just Macs. There its a talk on Evernote, which is 95% the same between the Windows and Mac versions. The there broad topics that are covered, such as Cybersecurity, Project Management, Marketing, Core Tools, Money Matters, E-Discovery, Document Automation, and more. The core theme is technology, hence the name TECHSHOW.
The main point here is that getting of the Mac Track was really not about the Mac and certainly as not a slight to the community of die-hard Mac-using attorneys. In fact there are LOT of Mac-related things going on at ABA TECHSHOW this year. So many that I wrote another post an "Unofficial Guide to All Things Mac." I would say the majority of the non-Mac specific presentations are fully applicable to your practice. Look forward to the second part of this article next week which will give you a play by play of all the events for Mac-using attorneys.