Bar camp buzz builds; the story twists, turns, shouts!

I wanted to pipe up before this topic spiral out any further and I miss my chance to edge in my two cents.

Barcamp LogoI wanted to pipe up before this topic spiral out any further and I miss my chance to edge in my two cents.

In staging Bar camp, we, the original organizers, harbor no ill will towards Foo Camp, Tim O’Reilly or anything or anyone else associated with the project. Indeed, the original concept came to me and my roommate Andy from Tantek Celik, who suggested that there should be an alternative, non-exclusive, “open” alternative to Foo Camp. Sure, an interesting idea, but having little personal knowledge of the event, we shrugged it off to focus on more pressing things.

That was three weeks ago and Andy and I (with the Flock crew) had a browser to launch at OSCON (an O’Reilly event, mind you). Planning a second event was hardly something any of us had the bandwidth to take on, let alone the attention span to consider seriously. There was simply no time.

Yet upon returning from Portland, and with our launch out of the way, our conversations suddenly returned to the idea of the alternative conference. Listening to details of previous Foo Camps from Tantek, I decided that yes, he was on to something here… and the more I researched and discussed Foo Camp, the more we believed that O’Reilly’s ad hoc model would work beyond the limited boundaries of Sebastapol. And would not only work — but needed to be freed!

And so this past Saturday, over IRC, we initiated a face to face meeting of the BarPlanners and got the ball rolling.

When we embarked on this strange and fantastic journey, we knew that we had a week. We had no money, no sponsors, no venue and no idea if just the five of us or 50 random folks would show. But we knew that we had to stage BAR Camp and that, among other things, it would serve as a demonstration of the decentralized organizing potential of the Web2.0 Generation. We set out to prove that what the good folks at O’Reilly could pull off in a year with a couple years’ experience and tens of thousands of dollars, could be cobbled together in a week by a crazy gaggle of savvy geeks, leveraging only the web and the our reach into our social networks.

So here we are, five days later and two days from the event. We’ve had a venue donated to us. We’ve got a fabulous logo (thanks Eris!). We’ve got some sponsors lining up up and a bunch of great advisors. And we’ve got buzz. This is turning out to be the exact kind of unprecedented success we were hoping for — and from here it can only get better as we lead up to the kickoff.

Tomorrow I’m planning on giving Tim O’Reilly a ring to see what we can do to join forces (hopefully beyond coordinating on FooBarCrawl). I’d love to see the ideas he’s baked in Foo Camp spread even beyond Bar Camp. Next year I expect to see multiple satellite Bar Camps happening the world over, loosely joined via the web, bringing distributed collaboration and culture building to a much, much wider audience. Podcasted, Flickered, wikified, videographied and blogged like mad. At the very least.

Whaddya say, Tim, think we can do it?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

12 thoughts on “Bar camp buzz builds; the story twists, turns, shouts!”

  1. Pingback: TechCrunch
  2. This is soooo freaking awesome. I can’t begin to tell you how great it is to see this meme escape. I also can’t begin to tell you how desparate Puerto Rico needs a Bar Camp. At first I made a commitment to myself to make sure we participate next year. Now I’m getting so excited, that I can’t wait for next year. I want to throw a Bar Camp in a couple of months. What do you think. Is that jumping the gun? I don’t want to seem too aggressive, but we need this bad. What do you think?

  3. Chris, thank you for helping organize this. I learned many things even though I didn’t stay for the whole thing. Next year we’ll organize a Mafia game.

  4. @Andy: It went incredible well! So much more than I ever could have hoped for.

    @Kevin: I would love to see Bar Camp happen in Puerto Rico and all over the place — there did seem to be an enabling atmosphere here in the Bay Area, but I do think that, given the right amount of desire and willpower, this kind of thing can be done just about anywhere.

    The beauty of Bar Camp is that it’s really an “un-event” — meaning that when you’re motivated and you want to do it, do it! We were fortunate to have an inspiration in Tim O’Reilly’s Foo Camp, but there no reason that you can’t do this whenever it strikes your fancy.

    @Bill: I’m glad you could attend and found it worthwhile. The support we’ve gotten from putting on this event has been spectacular. I learned so much from this and got so much out of — it’s so affirming to hear that other folks similarly benefitted as well.

    And as I’m also known in certain circles as the “Don of Open Source”, a Mafia game would certainly be in order next year… though perhaps we might plan on infiltrating the Foo Camp and seeing how fast they can put up a wet resistance!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: