When I asked a friend from a 4 Hour Workweek MeetUp group for help building a PHP site, he directed me to BarCamp. It was the first I had ever heard of it, but I liked the name!
What is BarCamp?
BarCamp is an international network of “unconferences” where alpha geeks, industry professionals and others passionate about Internet culture, technology, and life online can meet and share ideas and projects. It is built on the philosophy that anyone who builds or uses the Internet on a regular basis has something to learn and something to teach, so every attendee is also expected to be a presenter (but we’re pretty lenient for first timers).
I went into BarCamp confused and uncertain…as I’m sure most do. I saw a ThinkGeek models convention and a ton of breakfast snacks which I happily dug into (the snacks, not the geeks). Sheets of butcher paper with a grid of time and rooms was quickly being filled with post-its of lecture titles and authors. The cruelty was that so many that I wanted to be at tookthe same time slot! It was like prime time, battle of the networks!
A few stood out, and only because of which, I had made some great new friends. @JennyJenJen taught me the naughty bits of the Swedish language. Daniel Marashlian got me all excited to be an entrepreneur in his demo of Pelotonics, a startup he had turned awesome. And Dan Tentler, aka Viss, who was the mastermind behind the event preached to a full house on how to read people.
I learned more at this unconference than most conferences I have been to! It is a microcosm of TED talks. People in the community came together to give back, to share what they had learned. Oh, and I also got all starry eyed when I saw Gina Trapani, the founding editor of my favorite techie news and personal productivity blog Lifehacker. (I was SO jazzed!)
If you get a chance, look for a BarCamp in a city near you. It is totally worth it…well, it’s free and they usually feed you. Bring an empty notepad, a pen, a laptop, and plenty of business cards! I promise the society will amaze you!