Monday, October 02, 2006
So I had the amazing experience of attending my first BarCampNYC2 this weekend.
For those of you not familiar with BarCamp check out their 'global event wiki' and go along to the next one in your city as they are relatively global. (also check out these 10 tips for getting the most from BarCamp)
Lots of Flickr photos here
It was a 2 day event from Saturday morning to Sunday evening where approx 180-200 people from New York and the surrounding area got together to have an "un-conference" about technology.
There are no specific agendas and most important the event is free being fully funded by local Sponsoring Companies (yes Cognation did kick in) however a big shoutout has to go to Microsoft who provided the venue, lets face it, any company who would let 200 geeks sleep over in their offices for a weekend cant be all bad, and I have to point out that apart from 1 session they kept a very low profile. Barcamp is everyone's event.
It's a two day self managed, self organized, self driven geekfest.
Where 30 minutes before it starts there are no agendas and it's not only suggested but actually required you get up and walk out of a session if you are not interested.
Everyone participates and often some of the best advice or experiential information comes from people in the 'audience' if you could call them that than people who are leading the sessions.
The sessions leant towards software development (with some amazingly cutting edge development techniques being displayed).
There was a general skew towards a younger group of people, I'm guessing that the average age was 22-24? However age certainly wasn't a reflection of experience or potential, check out the Session Page above to get an idea on what was being discussed, these people are the future of IT development, and let me tell you it was very bright indeed.
These guys, and quite a few girls, are pushing the envelop of technology further than most of us even think is possible.
Special mention has to go out to Dennis Crowley the founder of Dodgeball (sold it to Google) for his session on Pervasive Games (massive urban games). It made me realize that this is an area I think I want to pursue on a commercial basis, I've thought about it in the past (read my post on Mogi Mogi) but it's an area where I think I can develop some real value.
Not to downplay the rest of the sessions, I learnt at least 3 or 4 new things in every session and I learnt about two whole technologies I didn't even know existed Json and Amazon Mechanical Turk. Some of the implementations of "ruby on rails" / web mashups / web delivered interactive content / social networking that these people are implementing is amazing.
I saw at least 3 business concepts over the weekend that I would be prepared to put my money where my mouth is and fund.
I don't think I can succinctly capture enough in one post my experiences but it's basically changed my mind about the depth of talent out there.
Yes some of it needs a little structure and yes some need a lesson about how coming up with great technology or a business idea, doesn't a successfully ROI make'th', but the enthusiasm and excitement was unstoppable. Besides they might even teach some of us older people whats really possible.
Posted by Dean Collins at 9:07 PM