Saturday’s BarCampSydney was excellent. It was very well un-organised and a great venue. I went along with the thought of listening and learning and not getting too involved but I just can’t help myself. Within the first session I had volunteered to present a session. The sessions were for the most part well planned and well presented, and I loved the organic nature of how the sessions came about. In one of the first sessions the subject of Tivo in Australia so 1/2 hour later there was a session on how to set up Tivo in Australia.
My session was a bit like that – It was on Yahoo Pipes. The subject of API’s was raised and I said, it would be good to have some API’s that weren’t just for developers, which Pipes seems to be something along those lines – I’m not a developer but I do know a bit about what Pipes is trying to acheive. So I ran a session to try and get some group discussion going about Pipes and how we could use it to get the best out of it. Unfortunately Pipes behaved badly, which it generally does anyway, and the session wasn’t as good as I think it could have gone. Normally, as I am such a perfectionist, I would have been a bit annoyed about that, but in the un-conference spirit of BarCamp, it was just how things evolved, so that was that, I had fun doing it anyway and the feedback I got was good, it exposed Pipes to a number of new followers. Now we just have to work out a killer pipes app, and work out exactly how to use it.
One of the big things that failed in my presentation was that I forgot my user name and password for Yahoo… which was funny because the next session after mine was on Open ID – which is hopefully the standard that is going to save us all from password hell. It was an excellent presentation and Hilton got my vote for the best Powerpoint presentation of the day, but it did show us that Open ID maybe is not the saviour we hope it will be. It will depend a lot on trust and we could not see a way that we would not end up with multiple Open ID’s which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Anyway I’m going to keep my thoughts open to Open ID for now.
One of the stand out evolving presentations of the day was Mike the scottsman’s presentation on Chickenfoot, which evloved out of my Pipes presentation. Mike had been in Australia 3 days and is starting with Google tomorrow. Mike’s presentation was excellent and I wish him and Anna well for their new life here in Aus.
The presentation which sort of evolved into the Keynote presentation of the day was Marty from Tangler and Mike Cannon-Brookes‘s presentation on How to Start a company. Marty’s insights into what he might do a bit differently if he started again, and Mike’s sheer enthusiasm and passion for his company was excellent. Their thoughts on hiring (and firing) staff were very interesting and overall their presentation left a great impression on the packed room.
In summary here are a few good and bad points about the first (hopefully of many) BarCamp Sydney:
- Excellent Venue
- Great Un-Organisation
- The Un-Organisers made me feel welcome from the first minute
- Even though it was out of my comfort zone I loved the Un-structuredness of the day
- I was able to pop in and out of sessions to get the most information possible – a bit like watching two TV shows at once by flicking channels
- Excellent sessions
- Great Bar at the end of the day
- Even better sized bar tab
- Excellent and stimulating conversations all day and well in to the evening
- The fact that you could walk in and out of sessions as you liked
Not so good points:
- Crap coffee and food at the cafe
- Long walk to the bar at the end of the day
- Not enough girls (however the girls did stay for most of the day, but only a few of us came to the bar after).
- Rooms could have done with some more AC (I’m glad it wasn’t a camp, it was getting a bit smelly by 4pm…)
- The overwhelming number of photograhs and videos being taken… (thankfully only 1 shot of me in the 180 pics so far up on flickr)
- It was hard choosing which session to go to
Weird Points… any geeky event has to be a bit wierd in some ways…
- The guys that just sat on the lounges all day
- The guys that conversed with their laptops all day
- The guy that sat next to me in a group discussion and coded his way through it, not even paying any attention to the discussion
Thanks to all the Un-Organisers and the Sponsors, and hopefully we can do this again soon.