The days and weeks leading up to BarCamp can be busy and stressful for the organizers as we work through all of the last minute arrangements, but it is so worth it! I had an amazing time at BarCampPortland, and the majority of the feedback has been positive. I won’t go into the gory details about everything that worked / didn’t work, since you can view the full postmortem document online; however, I will cover a few of my impressions of the event.
I love the BarCamp format
I’ve attended a number of BarCamps, and I am finding that I enjoy attending BarCamps more than traditional conferences, and I think I learn more at BarCamps, too. The people who attend BarCamps are smart and engaged. These are the people giving up a weekend to geek out with others over various technologies, not the corporate types who only attend conferences during working hours. We had people attending from as far away as Chicago, Washington D.C., and Alaska. I had amazing conversations, talked to a bunch of very interesting people, and learned about new ideas and new ways of doing things.
I held a community management roundtable session again this year at BarCamp to a packed room. I’ve done a few of these roundtable discussions where I kick off the conversation and let the group take it in different directions while I act as moderator for the group and contribute actively along with the other participants. I’ve done this at Corvallis and Austin BarCamps, but it never works as well as it does here in Portland. In other places, I’ve had to drag the discussion along or manage people who dominate the conversation while contributing little. In Portland, these just work, and I learn as much from the process as the other participants. I have no idea why it works so well here, maybe we are just more community-oriented than some other locations, but I’m glad that the session went so well. If you want to learn more about the topics discussed, you can view the notes from the session on the Drupal site.
We held a mini WordCamp along with BarCamp on Sunday, and there were more great sessions that I wished I could have attended. I learned a lot about WordPress theming, including how to write your own theme from scratch. I doubt that I’ll try it anytime soon, but it did give me a much better understanding about exactly how themes are constructed in WordPress. Aaron Hockley also led a really good discussion about the underlying infrastructure under WordPress.
Painter’s tape is your friend
Painter’s tape makes a great schedule board and can be used to hang really heavy banners without hurting the walls.
Unique Portland Flair
Here are a few things that make our BarCamp very “Portland”:
- We have Bubble Tea! For the second year in a row, we’ve had bubble tea made to order at BarCampPortland. A big thank you to Six Apart & David Recordon for making it possible.
- Werewolf games provided us with hours of amusement in the evenings led by the Portland Werewolf group (yes, we meet up to play monthly here in Portland!) We even had a Chicago attendee introduce us to a new variant that proved to be really interesting and challenging!
- Twitter was a main attraction during the event. Portland has a very active Twitter population, and most people had a Twitter username on their badge. We used Twitter to make announcements, follow up on sessions, and drive most of the communications during the event.
- We had lots of other entertainment including a wii station, War Games, and more.
As always, Rick Turoczy has done a great job on Silicon Florist of rounding up the coverage for the event. You can get links to pictures, session notes, and other blog posts from the Silicon Florist BarCamp Portland: The Weekend that was post.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
A huge thank you to the entire organizing team, all of the volunteers, the always helpful Cubespace staff, the attendees and the sponsors who made this event possible and successful. These events do not happen unless people are willing to pitch in and help where it is needed. People were helpful and patient as we recruited from random passers by to help with various tasks.