Popping my Bar Camp cherry

The notion of losing my virginity of anything to a bunch of self professed geeks is pretty horrifying, but terminology aside I just wanted to try and articulate a brief explaination of what a Barcamp is and why anyone should want to attend.

I didn’t know what to expect from BarCamp London 5, but given that i’d agreed to help out with BarCamp Sheffield 2, I thought it my duty to go and find out.

After signing in, we go through the introductions, each taking turns to describe ourselves in 3 tags. This public shaming exercise acts as a great icebreaker.

We will be plotting a number of embarrassing means of breaking the ice at BarCamp Sheffield.

After a discussion with the guys at ebay I decided from the many things I wanted to talk about, to do a talk on demand = supply, which I haven’t even blogged about yet (more on this to follow later).

I approached “the scheduling board” with trepidation at first – It was a grid with times on one side and rooms on the other. I wasn’t immediately sure what to do, although write your talk on a post it and stick it where and when you want to speak appeared to be the order of the day, I noticed that Moo were the only people speaking at 1.00 (the first slot).  After checking that I wouldn’t be making a faux pas, I decided to go head to head with the well known firm.

I found the system easy to use, and the distributed nature of choosing a speaking slot made it easy to post.

My talk on supply = demand went well, with a room fit to bursting and I didn’t see anyone sneaking out, which I held to be a good sign. People counld interject and ask questions mid flow, which made it feel informal and free, and enabled me to elabourate where neccessary.

The rest of the weekend was rich in conversation and discussion, highlights included:

How Architects use buildings to control us – A look at Las Vegas is especially terrifying

  • How to make your own touch screen for £10 (which led into a how to make your own projector, amoungst other DIY projects)
  • An explaination of the Credit Crunch (and how the economy works) – Terrifying knowledge that makes you go What The Fuck
  • An assessment of virtual media centres – Boxee looking sweet
  • Some interesting discussions on economics of morality and facilitating change through social enterprise with EcoCamp and UK carrot mob founders.

So all in all a great time was had by all. I didn’t play werewolf role play (from what I could gather a more complex version of Wink Murder), into the evening, I had to draw the line somewhere. It looked like fun, but I just wasn’t willing to embrace my inner geek to that degree.

Many thanks to the guys at Ebay (i hope you weather the storm), and all the attendees who made the event such fun.

This is to get the conversation going, both here and there (at BarCamp Sheffield), so join in and join us. Oh and help us design the logo.

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