Lots of other people are talking about BarCampBlock. Here’s a link roundup. I’ll add to it as more stuff becomes available.
> After two days of meeting new friends, catching up with others, a blitz of demos, piles of sessions, food, and drink, I’m pretty beat. As Tara put it in closing session, “Tired, but content.” If I had to pick one idea out of the entire conference, it would be that raw, published content is better than no published content. This is why I am scanning in my notes for the sake of having the data out there. Where there is data, knowledge and information can be gathered. This idea resonated throughout the conference. Open standards, interoperability, and even open source, all help to turn raw content/data into useful information.
>This, people, is why Silicon Valley culture is unique. While itâ€™s format and thinking is replicated all over the world, this is truly the epicenter that is driving Web 2.0 and the global social economy – but donâ€™t call it bubble 2.0. There are too many important and iconic factors contributing to the new tech landscape to belittle the movement with such a trite and meaningless label.
(Brian’s post also contains a bunch of fantastic photos.)
> Sounds like chaos? â€œCult of the Amateurâ€ mediocrity? No way. Think instead of the energy, ideas and conviviality that can flow from a crowd of smart people when theyâ€™re given a chance to make things up as they go along.
> It turned out to be a vibrant, exhausting day – learned a lot, met great people, hung out with people I knew. Where else would I have had the chance to brainstorm social media patterns with the Y! Design Patterns people. It was a great brainiac mashup.
>I do wonder if it would be possible to do a useful version of this kind of event specifically around the future. The Institute’s conferences are like Faberge eggs, beautifully crafted and unspeakably labor-intensive; clients really like them, but I wonder if we could do interesting things in a conference that goes in completely the opposite direction. No prepared talks, no agenda, just a few simple rules and the passion of the participants….
>Iâ€™m excited about BarCamp because itâ€™s modeled after this energy. People show up, create their own sessions (I led one on â€œProject Management for Multi-Taskersâ€), and migrate toward what really matters to them. There is no profit to be had, no corporate structure to accomodate, no government to adhere to. Every attendee is a participant, and every participant is a volunteer. There is a culture of respect, but all structure and values are self-imposed and in constant evolution.
> BarCampBlock was yesterday in Palo Alto and was awesomely nerdy and I actually learned a lot. Iâ€™ll spare the play by play of a strange day and night and keep it geeky here.
John McCrea talks about a session on social graphs with a notable absence:
> At one point, someone brought up Facebook. â€œIs anyone from Facebook here?â€ Silence. â€œAnyone?â€ Kinda odd, since the debate was taking place two blocks from Facebookâ€™s headquarters.
> If you are missing the BarCampBlock thatâ€™s going on now you really are missing something special. [...] When I arrived tons of people told me I had missed the best BarCamp ever. Thatâ€™s saying something because thereâ€™s been more than 200 BarCamps all over the world and it all started here.
> It was an amazing experience that allowed attendees to be submerged in Silicon Valley tech culture. I learned an insane amount, and I don’t just mean “knowledge”. There was an energy that seemed to be flowing around (not the wifi) and it was very enlightening to take part in that.
> Tremendous turnout â€” not sure they have a perfect count of attendees but easily 600 people. The huge grid quickly filled up with fascinating content from all corners of the tech, community, and art communities. Some giant sessions, some small sessions, but a spirit of sharing that I think embodies the current vibe in silicon valley.
> I just have to stop and reflect on how unusual and awesome it is that events like this can and do take place here with relative ease here. Itâ€™s only possible because of the combination of (a) ambitious would-be organizers, (b) a community of people who care enough about what theyâ€™re doing to spend a perfectly good weekend networking and nerding with their cohort, and (c) a plethora of companies that care enough about being a part of the community to pool their resources and make events like this possible.
> The free food and soft drinks were much appreciated too, and after b-school conferences where business casual was the bare minimum required and suits were not out of place (and often mandatory), it was fun to show up in shorts and sandals and still feel overdressed. (Hey, they’re nice sandals!)
Liz Henry, one of the organisers, talks about the experience:
> As a military history buff I would say that it is a bit like being a general. You can look at a map, but nothing substitutes for going to a location, looking around, and envisioning crowds. What will they need? How will the landscape change with extra people in it? People need a constant supply of food and drink, and they generate a constant stream of rubbish. They need seats, surfaces, light, and shade. They need small private spaces and large gathering spaces. They need bathrooms and a lot of toilet paper.
I’ll be posting some links to people who were blogging sessions, or who put up their own session notes/slides, shortly. Meanwhile, you can check out: