Any event takes time to gestate and intermingle with what you encounter next. It will be a bit until I figure out the wonderful thing that emerged this weekend, and document it with others for others.
From my last event, Wikimania, two statements stand out:
- Leadership in Wikipedia is knowing where information is
- The more Wikipedia fails, the more money it attracts
Somehow these points apply to Bar Camp.
When someone walked in the door, 300 people perhaps in total, over 100 at peak, usually Kit would be there to guide them. People insisted on handing out cash and it would make it's way to the guy with the PayPal account (Chris). A collective sense of who was doing what was achieved before the event in a lively IRC channel (remember Happenings?). If you had an idea, like a sponsored sub-party, it could simply get done.
BarCamp happened where it did because of location awareness. About a week before, after we moved into the neighborhood, I met the Flock guys (knew Termie only through time based media) through Plazes. We chatted a bit. Then I got pinged with this crazy ass idea asking if I had suggestions for space and bandwidth. A wiki was thrown up, the rest is increasingly well recorded history.
About 3 hours before the event, I started to panic. 100 people signed up on the wiki and we only had so much room and one DSL line. A little chatter in the IRC channel and David Weekly (who was working on mirroring the Kwiki off of Andy's humble server) who called someone he knew at Etheric. Within 10 minutes a guy showed up and got on the roof looking for line of sight. No clear view and he headed off.
Thinking of elephants and keyholes, I stared at the building in the way across the street. Walked over to the IDEO receptionist who must have thought I was in creative plight who summoned the infrastructure guy. He agreed to give roof and electricity access, called Alex at Etheric, who bridged in Tomas and he happily got back and on the roof -- but note the IDEO guy held off on his weekend for 3 hours to let it all happen. Great neighborhood.
I probably should have been panicking about the need for showers, but instead kept thinking about sweaty happy fun. David Sifry and Stewart Butterfield were both reached by cell on their way to Foo and happily sponsored the bar and brunch tabs. Marten Mickos from MySQL and others offered to sponsor on their own and we held off to keep the budget replicable. We did get a burst at the Gordon Biersche party Technorati sponsored from the expected 40 to 100 people, which will work it's self out.
After putting in deserved family time, I locked the doors at 7 pm on Sunday. 48 hours of what you would expect to be chaos and shit that goes down on your permanent record. But there was Tantek literally picking up lint, spotless facilities, only one damaged participant laptop, and nothing left to do except record learnings and give thanks (especially to Tim O'Reilly).
Guessing from my last two years at Foo, a lot got done there. At Bar, save a few initatives and enlightenments, we had good time chatter. The kind in which the PC revolution was started with hobbyist computer clubs, but now it's SC's turn (viva wikiwyg!. A seriously powerful thing when the social network gets activated, and in a way, how this all got started.
Open as in door is simply magical.