Our DNA is written in Swift

Painting the World with WWDC

Very few people that I know are actually using Apple’s Find my Friends (FmF). Some because they fear about the lifetime of their iPhone battery, others because they abhor the feeling of being “stalked”. But those are really just myths.

FmF allows you to either share your position with somebody specific permanently or to create a temporary event that automatically ends at a given time. So I figured that it would be a cool experiment to use that for sharing positions of WWDC delegates all around the world. I started a temporary WWDC group and told people on Twitter about it.

In very short time I reached a level where FmF would not allow me to add any more people to this group. This level is 50. So I began to split off Europe and Australasia and the latest iteration of this shuffling is to have 4 regions:

  • North America
  • South America
  • Europe
  • Australasia

Doing this I developed the ambition to at least get one dot per region, a representative/ambassador if you will. My goal now is to keep collecting for one more day because many Europeans are hopping on their respective planes on Friday and most Americans are doing the travel on Saturday and Sunday.

The goal of this experiment is to show most of the civilized world covered in these pink dots in FMF and document the two stages before and during WWDC. So stage one would show the world with measels, stage two is the cure located at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

“Out of Context it sounds like you are playing a mad game of chess and all the people are your pawns” – Jana Boruta

If you join as delegate you will be able to see all the people in your group for the duration of the temporary event, so that’s good for some fun too. One does feel distinctly connected with the whole world, I can vouch for that.

On the iPad’s FmF I am then able to tap on “All Friends” and – being the organizer – I can see all temporary PINs on the whole globe. Unfortunately the zoom level does not allow me to show the entire map to encompass Australia and the Americas. But I’ll think of something. Maybe just another stitch job, like we did on the Moscone Banner.

That’s the current state of the North American and European delegations, it looks less than there really are because often there are several dots at the same location, some people had their phones turned off at the time of the screenshot. We have exceptionally few Australasians and nobody from South Africa yet. Why are there no iOS developers in Antarctica?


You can see that there are many US states that are still missing an ambassador/delegate and also a few European countries could use one as well. To join just send me the Apple ID you are using for FmF and mention which region your are representing and I will add you to it.

I promise you, it won’t hurt a bit. I’ve had FmF turned on for over a year now to allow my wife to track me. (“Siri, find my husband”) There is little noticeable impact on my battery life. Also your position is only visible to other participants and only during WWDC. This will automatically end at the set end date. Of course you are free to get in touch with other delegates from your region and do a bit of local networking. It’s probably fun to notice that other people from your continent are coming to the same airport as you.

Then during WWDC you’ll also see where the other people from your region are going after the conference. You have these purple dots running around in San Francisco. This indeed feels a bit like a real time strategy game. I promise I won’t abuse my power!

I wish that there was a way to share a link for people to sign up to those temporary FmF groups, and also the 50 person limitation is a pain in the backside. I’ll probably have to file a Radar for that.

The goal of this experiment is to visualize the uniting power of WWDC. The scientific hypothesis is that these molecules will converge and it will be thoroughly tested next week.

UPDATE June 8th. The primary North American Delegation group is now full, but we have a second one opened up so you can still join. All delegates from all groups will appear in the screenshots I’ll be posting throughout WWDC.

Categories: Apple