Category Archives: barcamp

BarCampAustin and BarCampPortland Compare & Contrast

This is my second BarCampAustin, and it’s been interesting to notice some of the similarities and differences between Austin and BarCampPortland. For some reason, Austin seems to have more presentations and pitches instead of the informal round table discussions that people seem to favor at BarCampPortland; however, Austin also has more of a party atmosphere. Last year, it was held in a bar with lots of drinks all day, and this year, they had beer on tap all afternoon. They also had a live band, karaoke, and stage diving. Austin throws parties; Portland plays werewolf 🙂

Both BarCamps tend to be full of really smart people with great questions and great conversations both in the sessions and in the hallways. I’ve been running into and meeting people that I only get to see in person at conferences like these. It seems like a lot of my techie friends seem to favor BarCamps, which isn’t surprising since many of them are fellow community managers and community-minded geeks.

On a final note, it wouldn’t be a whurley organized event without something over the top & crazy happening. BarCampAustin had a runaway battlebot that jumped the curb in the parking lot and attacked the air conditioner at a neighboring house. Final score: battlebot 1; AC unit 0.

A Great Time at Beaver BarCamp

Those of you following me on Twitter know that I spent Friday night and Saturday in Corvallis at Beaver BarCamp, and I had a great time. I met a bunch of interesting people from Corvallis and had time to visit with a handful of pdxers also attending.

We were using Google Sites for some of the notes, the schedule, and other day of event information. This sounded like a great idea, but it turns out that Google Sites is really buggy right now. About half of the time, I could get to the site, and the other half of the time, I kept getting stuck in a strange login loop. We did get a few of the notes posted to the site.

One of the highlights of the event for me was a tour of the Open Source Lab (OSUOSL) where they host the servers for some key open source projects: kernel.org, Apache, Drupal, and many more. The lab also does quite a bit of work with the OLPC (XO) laptops, and is currently working on improvements to the media player.

I also learned about Wagn, had an interesting discussion about the future of software development, and participated in a discussion about investing led by Steve Morris.

I led a couple of sessions during the BarCamp. I went to Beaver BarCamp planning to host a discussion about managing online communities. I’ve done this at a number of BarCamps, but because it is a facilitated discussion and not a presentation, I am always surprised and interested by the direction that it takes. At the last minute, John Sechrest also asked me to talk about Ignite, since they were planning to hold an Ignite Portland as part of the Saturday evening festivities. We talked about the format, and how to to organize an Ignite event. I also learned that a couple of people from Eugene are thinking about starting a Eugene Ignite event. Unfortunately, I had to leave before they started the evening Ignite event to make the long drive back to Portland.

I hope this will turn into an annual event. I am guessing that a little over a hundred people attended, which is a great showing for the first Beaver BarCamp. Tim Budd or John Sechrest (co-organizers) may have a better count. I also wanted to thank Tim and John, all of the sponsors, and the volunteers for making Beaver BarCamp a great experience for those of us who attended!

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Beaver BarCamp in Corvallis on March 1

Don’t miss BeaverBarCamp in Corvallis, Oregon (about 85 miles south of Portland) on March 1st. It will be held at Oregon State University in the Kelly Engineering Center. There are a bunch of really smart, geeky people in Corvallis, and I am looking forward to attending!

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Legion of Tech

I’ve been hinting about a non profit organization that a few of us have been working on for a while. Today, we received confirmation of our Oregon non profit incorporation status. Keep in mind that we are not (and may never become) a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization (we will file for it, but ultimately the IRS makes this decision).

The organization is called Legion of Tech, and the purpose of this organization is to

  1. Grow and nurture the local Portland technology community through educational, not-for-profit, community-run events.
  2. Make it easier for community members to organize technology events.
  3. Provide resources and assistance for technology community events.

Ignite Portland, BarCamp Portland, and Startupalooza will all fall under this organization. You can read our complete bylaws and see who is on the board of directors on our website.

Note: we are still in the early stages of designing a logo. If you have some mad design skills and want to design a logo for a good cause … in other words for free 🙂 … just let us know!

Can the Average Person Get Rich Blogging?

Yes and no (there is never a simple answer).

Now that I am back from lounging on the beach, I thought it was time to get back to blogging, and what better way to start than with a debate over whether or not people can really make money blogging. On Read/WriteWeb today, Alex suggests that . Well, yes and no.

I really liked Anne Zelenka’s response on Web Worker Daily. Her take is that

you can earn money because of your blog instead of with it. Blogging can be the centerpiece of your professional promotional and networking activities, leading indirectly to new money-making opportunities. Plus, blogging offers psychological riches — through the opportunities for personal expression and social connection it brings you.

The best reason for an individual web worker to blog isn’t to make money directly with the blog. It’s to boost your online persona, to make professional connections, to learn about your field, and to attract new opportunities, whether paid or unpaid. And note that unpaid opportunities are not necessarily less important than paid ones — because they can provide you with attention, reputation, education, and new connections.

(Quote from Anne Zelenka: Web Worker Daily)

I absolutely agree. I don’t make any money directly off of my blog (no ads here), but it has made a huge difference in my career. My career was in a bit of a lull until I started blogging a few years ago. At the time, I worked at Intel and did my job really well. I received great internal recognition, but almost no one outside of Intel knew who I was.

When I started blogging and actively commenting on other blogs, people started recognizing me. I went to conferences and people would approach me! I started getting emails from people who read my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in being on panels for conferences. While I do not make money off of Fast Wonder directly, I do think that I have made more money indirectly through blogging. Through blogging and getting involved in a bunch of unpaid tech community activities (organizing BarCamp, Ignite, etc.), my career has improved in so many indirect ways (financial and job satisfaction).

Related Fast Wonder Posts:

Everyone’s a Peer. Live with it.

I stole the title of this post from the last two sentences in But Miss, they’re not listening to me, a blog post by JP Rangaswami on Confused of Calcutta.

In his post, JP describes a world where hierarchical command and control structures are being displaced by more democratized networked environments. The days of expert speakers who talk at us while we take notes and passively absorb the information with little or no opportunity for discussion are gradually disappearing.

This post resonated with me and helps to describe my recent thinking about conferences and speaking engagements. I’m finding that I rarely enjoy giving formal presentations where I yammer on and on with a slide deck while people listen to me talk. In these presentations, I don’t get much real time feedback from the audience other than the occasional non-verbal cue (nodding in agreement vs. nodding off, for example), and I learn little or nothing during these presentations.

In contrast, my favorite speaking environment usually happens at unconferences (BarCamp, etc.) where I can lead a lively discussion about a topic of interest by kicking it off with 5-10 minutes of my ideas on the topic and moving quickly to a facilitation role where many people contribute to the discussion. Since each person comes into the discussion with different experiences and diverse views, I learn as much or more from the other people participating as they learn from me.

Panels fall somewhere in the middle depending on the structure. I despise panels where the moderator asks too many questions or where each panel member essentially gives a mini-presentation with little time for audience questions. On the other hand, my favorite panels are similar to my unconference speaking style with a couple of minutes of discussion at the beginning, but opening it up to audience questions no later than in the first 10-15 minutes of the panel. The audience questions help target the discussion to topics that are interesting to the audience, but even more important is what you can learn from the questions being asked. Questions give so much insight into what people are thinking about the topic and what is important to the audience. My Social Networking panel at Defrag was a good example of one that moved into audience questions early, and I think it benefited greatly by the participation.

JP says in his post:

It’s a new world out there. We can’t go around saying “But Miss, they’re not listening to me”. We have to earn the respect of our peers. But remember, in a networked society, everyone is a peer. Your professors. Your children. Your subordinates. Your bosses.

Everyone’s a peer.

Live with it.

(Quote from Confused of Calcutta)

We each come into a discussion with unique and diverse ideas, and we learn by listening and sharing ideas with our peers aka everyone.


Related Fast Wonder Posts:

BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup

Want to hang out with other Portland techies? Join us at the BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup. We have ~26 people signed up already, so it should be a fun opportunity to talk tech and network with other local technology enthusiasts!

Thursday, November 15, 2007
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
At Jive Software

The Portland meetups are intended to be a little less intense and more frequent than a full BarCamp Portland event. The intent is to get a group of cool people interested in technology together to chat over drinks on the fourth Thursday of every month. Anyone working in high-tech is welcome to attend. Conversations usually range from wikis to open source to blogs to who knows what!

Note: We have moved the signups for this event from the wiki to upcoming. Please RSVP on Upcoming to help us get a count for the event.

You can visit http://barcamp.org/BarCampPortlandMeetups for more information.

Also, Please add yourself to the Google Group http://groups.google.com/group/barcampportland so that we can let you know if there are any last minute changes (we will send a note to the Google Group to announce any changes).

BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup

Want to hang out with other Portland techies? Join us at the BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup.

Thursday, September 27, 2007
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
At Jive Software

The Portland meetups are intended to be a little less intense and more frequent than a full BarCamp Portland event. The intent is to get a group of cool people interested in technology together to chat over drinks on the fourth Thursday of every month. Anyone working in high-tech is welcome to attend. Conversations usually range from wikis to open source to blogs to who knows what!

Note: We have moved the signups for this event from the wiki to upcoming. Please RSVP on Upcoming to help us get a count for the event.

You can visit http://barcamp.org/BarCampPortlandMeetups for more information.

Also, Please add yourself to the Google Group http://groups.google.com/group/barcampportland so that we can let you know if there are any last minute changes (we will send a note to the Google Group along with posting an update here).

PDX BarCamp Tech Meetup Aug. 23

I wanted to remind everyone that our next informal Portland BarCamp Meetup is next week on Thursday, August 23rd. We had a fantastic time at BarCamp and are interested in continuing to network with other local techies. These events are held on the fourth Thursday of every month. The meetings are not highly structured, and you can arrive whenever it is most convenient if you can’t make it at 5:30.

When: Thursday, August 23rd
Time: 5:30pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Jive Software Office (317 SW Alder St Ste 500)
Sponsored by: Jive Software

Jive Software is located on Alder near 3rd. Parking is available in a nearby parking garage, and it is short walk from the Max / bus lines.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP on the Portland BarCamp Meetup wiki.

The meetup will be very informal and similar in format to previous meetups. We’ll network, do a few introductions, and talk technology for a few minutes about organizing the next BarCamp / DemoCamp, and then see where the discussion goes. This is primarily a networking activity, not a planning meeting.

Please feel free to invite a few others to join us (just make sure they RSVP)! Please encourage them to join our Google Group to receive email announcements about any last minute changes, future meetups, and other PortlandBarCamp communications.
The next meetup will be on Thursday, September 27th.

Portland BarCamp Technology Meetup on June 28th

I wanted to remind everyone that our next informal Portland BarCamp Meetup is next week on Thursday, June 28th. We had a fantastic time at BarCamp and are interested in continuing to network with other local techies. These events are held on the fourth Thursday of every month through October (July is canceled due to OSCON and November / December are TBD due to holidays). The meetings are not highly structured, and you can arrive whenever it is most convenient if you can’t make it at 5:30.

When: Thursday, June 28th
Time: 5:30pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Jive Software Office (317 SW Alder St Ste 500)
Sponsored by: Jive Software

Jive Software is located on Alder near 3rd (directions). Parking is available in a nearby parking garage, and it is short walk from the Max / bus lines.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP on the Portland BarCamp Meetup wiki: http://barcamp.org/BarCampPortlandMeetups

The meetup will be very informal and similar in format to previous meetups. We’ll network, do a few introductions, talk for a few minutes about organizing the next BarCamp / DemoCamp, and then see where the discussion goes.

Please feel free to invite a few others to join us (just make sure they RSVP)! Please encourage them to join our Google Group to receive email announcements about any last minute changes, future meetups, and other PortlandBarCamp communications.

The next meetup will be on Thursday, August 23rd.