Announcing Mashup Camp

mashup camp

So it serves me right that serendipity scooped me on this one, but I’d had this long post thing that I was working on about the Death of Web * Dot Oh but well, as it was boring and even longer than my other tomes, I never got around to finishing it. So I’ll summarize, since my point was extremely simple, if not pedestrian:

Whatever you want to call it, the point is, we’ve got some pretty decent technologies at our disposal now. And some of them are open, as in open source or open APIs. It’s about time that we stopped futzing around and built tools that worked for ordinary folks, yeh, the ones who don’t have time to live and breathe tech like the rest of us seem to. Most of the world is not like us (surprise!) and at some point, yes, we must break free from our autistic cocoon and realize, “Gee Spudsky, there are other people in the world who still don’t know what a web browser is. Well I’ll be. Dang nab it!”

(I probably should podcast that so you can hear the thick southern drawl on that endquote.)

Whatever, so that’s the premise and the treatise of my defunct rant: build good stuff with what we’ve got for ordinary, good people!

Um, so why do I bring that up? Glad you asked.

So I mentioned open tech stuff. Stuff that you can use without having to ask for permission because it’s granted or presumed granted or licensed that way. These are the tools of what’s coming next. (That which shall remain nameless. Grr.)

So what I want to do is two things. And I’ll be totally honest about this:

  1. I want Brad Neuberg’s Coworking idea to spread. And I want it to succeed and take on a life of its own, just like Bar Camp has. Those things which are simple and seem to have built in relevance to a community will survive and flourish when given proper sunlight and water. Coworking needs that.
  2. I want a venue and a space that I can go to and designhack with other skilled, interesting folks working on similarly interesting projects, where there is no ego involved, only the building of The Next; where there’s wifi, access to caffeinated beverages, chairs, tables, couches… and no distractions. Such an environment breeds innovation, breeds connections, friendships, revolutions. And when it can become distributed, plazeless even, you have a shot in hell at finding success.

So here’s the deal. January 17 we’re going to have a Mashup Camp at the Coworking space. No, it probably won’t be exactly David Berlind’s concept, even though he gets credit for blogging the idea first (goddamn procrastination!). Rather it’s going to be a day of intense GTD.

There will be 12 of us, mixed and mashed from a superlative cadre of geeks. It’s open to apply, but we’ve got limited space and time, so, 12. Anyway, we start in the morning promptly at 10am (after informal coffee, etc). We do brief intros, discuss our project, what we’re bringing to the table as far as knowledge, know-how and passion. We then break up into a couple groups based on what we want to get done and the utility of our offerings. …Spend the next couple hours drawing, writing, designing, architecting… getting to something with teeth but not code. Break for lunch and cross-polination.

Here’s where we could get tricky (it is a mashup camp after all). Maybe after lunch we play musical chairs with the projects. Y’know, mashup the teams? This means that the folks early in the day really need to be clear about what they want since it’ll be someone else’s fingers actually punching the keys and juicing the code.

Wait, do you mean that want a decent spec?

Uhm, yes.

Don’t worry, we’ll make something up. So after the mashing of people, a coding melee ensues and by the end of the day, we’ll have something. Scratch that, we’ll have a few things. Probably not all that pretty, but beginnings. And, I’ll tell you this in advance, one of the projects will be to construct the website that will host these projects moving forward… what shall become a proverbial open source treasure trove of mashups. Oh yes my friends, this is going to be good.

Ning, eat your heart out. No offense, but a bunch of passionate geeks in a room can run blindfolded circles around any prefab solution any day. Remember? this stuff is for real people. And for that, well, you’ve gotta have heart.

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 “Announcing Mashup Camp”

  1. Um, I want in. I’d also like to try and reserve a space for my uber smart friend Adam Smith if that’s possible.

  2. Pingback: Napsterization
  3. Chris, I can’t wait! Thanks for all the nice comments about coworking.

    Do you know what you want to mashup yet? Niall and I were talking recently about creating some standard RSS aggregator APIs that others could mash into new kinds of RSS aggregators; thats one possibility.

  4. Sounds like a great event. As I’m coming to San Fran in early March, can’t really justify the additional air travel… sorry.

    But I will be there in the backchannel, ensureing there’s no bullshit.

    Best of luck


  5. I would kill to be a part of this.

    Too bad i’m 17, live in michigan, and don’t have the experience or know how to actually accomplish anything.

    If, i could, just, watch. For the love, of god.

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