Monday, November 20, 2006

BarCamp Manchester - review of event June 18th 2006

I attended BarCamp Manchester at the incubator ABI along with 60 other people.

True to its adhoc nature, we could post stickies on what topic we wanted to talk about and pick one of the 4 available meeting rooms.

Attendees: Loved the quality of the crowd, wish I had more time to chat with few people in smaller breakout sessions - Lots of entrepreneurial geeks, real people who love technology, a VC who offered funding for people who can develop the local economy of Mt.Washington valley, lots of open honest conversations.

10.30am: I spoke on "building the business side of a business". The google spreadsheet of the business components I discussed is here. I enjoyed the audience and the followups. Its amazing to see how many entrepreneurs are around us all.

11.15am: I attended "3D Animation in a Small Studio" by Kelly Muir. This was a presentation by their company "Hatchling". It was interesting to hear their down to earth story of how they are growing, finding customers and the challenge of the rigid market structure of how broadcast videos are done by ad agencies and web videos are done by new players and customers find it hard to understand the same company can offer both preserving the style of content. They do sales videos for Reebok and I am curious to see their Charmin ads at their NY sponsored bathrooms. Talk of a revolutionary medium to reach people :-)

I liked the real people, the real startup story and learnt something about animation industry, cost of making an animation on the web etc and left inspired by the optimism of the Hatchling team.

Lunch: Thanks to the sponsor ABI who did not pedal any ware and were supportive to the spirit of BarCamp. Thanks to Ian and Kelly Nuir for the painstaking details of all food including veg and vegan food and all the soda and candies. Can't ask for more!

12.45pm: Open Source for Public Radio by Brendan Greeley, Blogger-in-chied of Public Radio. Interesting request, he wants to request public radio supporters to donate time and build open source software that he needs. Will write more about this later. Honest coversations.

12.45pm: Blogging 101 by Ian Muir, I couldn't attend as I thought I knew the topic, but talked to Ian later about Blogging tools to stitch a blog into the blogosphere. Hi susggestion is to use just a few - Flickr plugin, magnolia, digg or reddit and delicious, not clutter with a lot of options.
He has promised to post his slides on the wiki.

1.30: Second Life by Jason Rand. This was an awesome presentation. Jason started out saying he had not planned to present this, maybe there will be interest. I'll write a review of this in detail. But I just loved it! It was interesting to see so many people from the audience talk about their second lives. There was agirl who hung around in a star trek group practising swords. Jason told us the technology of second life, the scripting optins available and we discussed how American Apparels must have gone about building their site in second life. Jason's avatar is "raybock" and he is part of the Giveme Liberty Bar. I enjoyed the discussions about how to build audio (concerts) and video on second life.

2.15 Drop your pants by Ian and Kelly Muir was a session where everyone got 1 min to share their idea and the crowd gave feedback for 3 minutes. I'll write again in detail about the ideas and comments. Worth every minute!

3pm: Ruby on Rails - had rave reviews, I missed it but attended "Startup Strategies" by Ray Deck which was my favorite. He gave us a framework to work for startups to find their real paying customers. I plan to write a separate review on this one. Ray has this magic to bring some interesting audience discussions.

3.45pm: Am Empire of Geeks by Shimon Rura and Aaron Amstel
Nothing like what I expected, a very interactive, interesting discussion about whether geeks can get together and coolaborate and build a company diversifying seevral tech ideas to make money for the group. It had some idealism about openness and fairness, but brought very smart honest discussions about the feasibility of such a group. In this world of open source successfully run by geeks, it should be very possible, so we planned to continue the discussion further later past BarCamp.
For me personally, I keep remembering the conversations as I see news of some early stage web 2.0 companies folding (like irows) and others (like kiko) selling on ebay. There seems a need for some collaboration among geeks, hope Shimon and Aaron can make it happen.

We drove back to Boston, pondering lot of ideas. Since then, I've had interesting followups and can't wait for the next BarCamp.


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