BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants — often focusing on early-stage web applications, and related open sourcetechnologies, social protocols, and open data formats.
Basically it’s a place where people get together to talk about technology with each other in a fun and conversational way. There’s very few rules or no preset schedule of topics. If you want to talk, just put your name and topic on the schedule board. Topics range widely from talking about multi-threading in web applications, business plans, to whiskey tasting for beginners. Barcamp LA 6 was free and hosted by Mahalo with a pretty good turnout of about 150 people. Here are my quick thoughts:
- Twitter, twitter, twitter. It felt like there was more interaction over twitter than in person. As soon as I walked in, I saw dozens of laptops setup on a huge conference table with people twittering and blogging. Even during the sessions, people were twittering on their laptops and cell phones. I guess this is easier than talking to people face to face. You can follow me on twitter here.
- The introductions are fun. Amazing that we went through over 100 people in about 10 min. Restricting the talking time to name and 3 tags did wonders.
- My favorite session was by Francisco Dao over at The Killer Pitch. He was a great speaker and also gave out autographed copies of his book.
- Mahalo has a pretty nice office space. It’s fun yet not over the top like Rubicon Project’s.
I didn’t get to stick around for the whiskey session, but I’m sure that would have been fun. Next time! Barcamps happen all over the world so I definitely recommend checking it out. It’s free and geeks are more friendly and down to earth than most other types of convention attendees.