Tag Archives: barcamp

MobileCamp Ljubljana in late March!

Who needs to sleep when you’re having so much with the BarCamp like events, right? Building upon this idea we’ve announcing MobileCamp Ljubljana, that’s going to take place on 27th of March 2010 at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering.

I’m excited about this MobileCamp for two main reasons: we’ll be bringing local mobile phone developers together for the first time in such numbers. This is important for Slovenian Mobile scene as there many indie iPhone and Android developers that need to see that their peers are active in the industry and that they’re not alone.

The second is that this venue is much bigger in terms of space so we should be able to introduce more people to concept of unconferences as well prepare grounds for a series of smaller MobileCamps later in the year if there will be enough demand.

We’re seeing increasing demand for iPhone and Android developers from companies and entrepreneurs as well as demands for applications from users, so lets expand this market fast and catch-up with the rest of the Europe. This time we’re switching back to English as primary language and we’re hoping to attract broader community also from the neighboring countries.

As always, go to http://www.mobilecamp.si for all the gory details and how to sign-up for your spot at the MobileCamp.

RealTime WebCamp reflections

Ivan talking about Marketing

We can say once again that our last event, RealTime WebCampLjubljana, was a great success. We didn’t run out of coffee, there was enough electricity and WiFi as well as a great mix of people and the quality of talks and discussions was astonishing.

There are a few things that we did differently this time that had effect on the ‘camp feeling:

  • Smaller group – instead of going with 150+ we went for 50+ crowd. More intimate and it allowed for more open discussions.
  • Two tracks only – moved from 3 tracks format to 2 tracks as there was less people and we also had to optimize for the available rooms. We still managed to create a nice balance of tech vs. non-tech oriented talks.
  • Slovenian language – despite protests from our friends in Croatia, we decided to go with Slovenian as a primary language this time. My current feeling is that this made it easier for everyone involved and we should consider sticking to Slovenian for smaller camps that are not intended for international audience.
  • ‘Hackish venue’ – instead of going for university or conference venue, we crashed in Hekovnik this time, a new hackerspace in Ljubljana. This had a totally different feeling of more ‘ad-hoc’ and less sterile environment. It seemed like people enjoyed this more.

There is still a question – how to encourage people to prepare more sessions and how to time the event. Going for early Saturday morning as a start (8am-ish) seems to work great for now. Regarding more sessions, I’m not sure if we can expect more than 30% of attendees to run their own session, would be interested in recommendations on any literature on the topic of facilitating sessions.

Did I miss anything important that we should take into consideration for our next ‘camps?

Announcing WebCampLjubljana

webcamplj-logo-72dpi-300px

A while ago I ranted about general BarCamps and the need for more topical unconferences in Slovenia. Because the best way to change the world is to start doing it yourself, I’m happy to present you: WebCampLjubljana, a BarCamp like event focused around web development, design and anything else connected to it. It’s going to take part on the last Saturday of November (28th) at Tehnološki Park Ljubljana, who kindly donated the conference space.

There are three easy things you can do to help promote the event:

.. and spread the word around.

Can’t wait to meet you at the event!

On BarCamps, unconferences and why we shouldn’t do BarCampLjubljana3

At #CLS09 we had a bunch of discussions and talks about unconferences and things related to them. To the ones that are new to this space – unconference is essentially a conference where the talks are given by the participants. BarCamp is a brand of general conference, mostly in geek space, that is done in unconference fashion. The history is richer than that, but you can read more about it in the wiki.

A ball brick at Citizen Journalism Unconference.

When I first started talking about BarCampLjubljana last year, it was mostly out of frustration that we don’t have barcamps. The us too wish and the general frustration with the perceived lack of geeks in the area. So began the process of education enough people about unconference style of event and finding people that helped organize the event as well as participants.  I feel that this process was valuable in so far to teach the community about these types of tools and ways of interacting.

The real problem with this approach was that we focused too much on the tools and the process and not enough on the main thing – the content and the topic itself. Just like we can talk all the time about the development tools and programming languages that we use instead of the things that we’re actually building with them.

This showed in the pitch for BarCampLjubljana 1 and 2 – “lets meet and talk about whatever. Show us your recent work and the things that matter to you”. To make the things even worse, we didn’t think too much about who we invited as we basically distributed the message across a few of our usual channels: blogs, Facebook, Twitter and limited mailing lists and forums.

Looking at it now, the result was exactly what you would expect: about 100 of our friends gathered, they talked about their current projects and obsessions and they’ve got to know each other. It was interesting to listen about new projects, but there was only that much that kept community together. Lucky for us, the friends that we invited were fellow geeks from within the industry so there was enough of common ground that they understood each other and could talk to between themselves.

Unconference

The second BarCampLjubljana presented this in clearer fashion – the talks had even less things in common, as the audience was largely the same, there was not much development in the 3 month period and the general feeling that something was missing was in the air. Everyone still had a great time, but we didn’t the fulfill the promise of BarCamps that we were supposedly bringing – pure and epic awesomeness unconferences.

So what now?

As we’ve learned how to do an unconference, I would propose that we let go of BarCamp’s all together and instead focus on topical unconferences. Instead of trying to force all topics on everybody we should start focusing on different topics and communities around them.

While Slovenia is small, different communities are still large enough that they can sustain an event or two on a yearly basis.

Instead of having BarCampLjubljana3, lets call it what we really want it to be – WebCamp. Lets not be afraid to talk hard-core tech stuff, with a bit of workflow and personal ranting about the industry mixed in. There is a whole range of topics from amateur sports to personal development that could benefit from such unconference.

While doing these events, we need to take into account a few things:

The grid at BarCamp Bangalore

Smaller can be better. Thirty engaged individuals can benefit much more from each other than 300+ crowd. There is enough space in event space for both types of events.

Lets not be afraid of small communities. While we might know everyone in our field, we often don’t take time to actually talk to each other. Lets create opportunities to do this and we might discover a few new peers in the process.

Experiment with new things. Unconference is still a very abstract idea and lets see how different groups of people shape it.

We should build support framework for unconference style events, while still keeping it open and vague enough that the community has to make their own flavor.

Conclusion

So what’s left for BarCamp then? I see three possible ways that it can take shape:

  • As a meta unconference of hard-core unconference visitors. Just so that we don’t have ‘unconference about unconference’.
  • An unconference of thinkers and doers from different fields that want to see alternative view from different fields. We would probably still need a theme.
  • It will go away. Topical unconferences will provide enough information exchange.

As always, open discussion on this topic is encouraged so let me know how you feel about these ideas, either in comments or in one of the gazillion other places (blogs, twitter, etc.)

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