Thursday, 2 April 2009

BarCamp London 6

Last weekend was fully dedicated to geekiness.

I adventured myself into another BarCamp, this time, at The Guardian Headquarters, near Kings Cross station.

Nice view from inside the Guardian/Observer building

For those of you who don’t know, a BarCamp is defined as an unconference, in other words, you apply for tickets, then you show up, you host one of the sessions (if you feel like doing so), and then you hang around, meet nice people, learn a lot, eat good food, get some freebies, play games, go home and spread the word.

It was not my first BarCamp, as I presented a session on TV III Branding at the SocialMediaCamp 2008, organised by Vero Pepperrell , which was also fantastic.

BarCamp London 6 was organised by Emma Persky and friends, and it was the closest to what the ideal barcamp should be.

Our group (Euston) making the letter R

The crew innovated in many moments, such as calling the rooms by tube station names, or starting the first day with a collective Lego session. Our badges displayed a sticker in the back displaying one of the tube stations names. At the end of the introductory session we were told to meet in the room with the same station name shown in our badges. Once in the room (Euston), we were instructed to build a letter R with loads of Lego stored in a bucket, and at the same time, of course, socialise with other fellow participants. When all the groups submitted their collective master pieces we could see that all letters together spelled the word BARCAMP. Very ingenious. But the pinnacle of innovation, I’m afraid I have to say, was in the pies. Lovely Square Pies. That was surely a hit.

Our quasi-constructed R

BarCamp made of Legos (photo by Ade Oshineye)

This time, I noticed many more techie sessions then in other BarCamps I’ve been to. Anyway, you can always learn something new. But I’m particularly more interested in sessions covering market changes, user behaviour and new business breakthroughs. Perhaps for this reason, I enjoyed the Sunday sessions better.

On Saturday, one of the highlights was The Guardian’s Open API session, sharing with us an overview of the new Guardian’s API. This will certainly shake the structure of the British newspaper business. However, my favourite (probably because of its relevance to my area) was the session on URIPlay, by Chris Jackson. An open media metadata aggregator which seems to be the answer for some of the challenges I’ve being facing to accomplish my world domination plans. Not to mention Chris’ presentation was made with Unfortunately Prezi won’t give me a membership :( Bad for them, I’m an efficient bee.

One of the sessions on Saturday

I don’t remember the exact order, but these are the sessions I attended on Sunday:

1. How We the Internet Generation Are Changing the World by Ben Reyes
I really enjoyed myself watching a clash of generations in this open discussion about how the Y generation is so different (or not) from us (I passed the borderline, I suppose). It made me wonder why everybody in most of barcamps look 30ish, or at least around 25. Where are all the kids? Perhaps they are immerse in the new digital world, but are they really conscious of it? You know, like how fishes acknowledge water. Here are some books and a suggestions that came out of this session:

2. Lateral Thinking Innovation, BarCamps & Hats, by David Sharrock

Interesting session based on DeBono’s theories of Lateral Thinking and the method of The Six Thinking Hats.

3. More Profit in Less Time, by @proactivepaul

Paul is in accounting and gave us some of his insights on the improvement of business performance by keeping focus on getting cash, the system and on people. He also recalled some of Michael Gerber’s (author of E-myth) strategies about how to develop a system, delegate functions and replicate the model. Lastly he emphasises the motto “Keep on keeping on”, establishing perseverance as a crucial asset. Some reading he suggested:
4. How to Organise a BarCamp, by Emma Persky

I have plans to organise a BarCamp in Brazil, if I ever go back. So I decided to attend to this one where Emma answered all participants questions which basically revolved around attention to detail, time spent, money issues, nature of sessions and ticketing strategies. It seems to be a lot of work! But it definitely pays off (in satisfaction, not cash, apparently).

5. Gestalt Principles Using Knowledge from Cognitive Psychology into Design, by Daphne Haltas

Last session of the day. Daphne is a user experience researcher for Yahoo! The session was quite academic, but it raised so many questions and discussion that eventually we ran out of time. A nice lecture on Gestalt.

Who wants BarCampLondon 7 next week?

BarCamps are always a great experience. I’m looking forward to the SocialMediaCamp 2009, in the end of the month. I’ve already got my tickets (these too sold out in seconds) I’m planning to do a session, but it is quite unlikely I’ll get everything done by then. Fingers crossed.

For more info on barcamps:

More BCL6 in these Blogs:

I love Kittens
Tobias Huber
Sylwia Presley
The Hodge
Travel Innovation
Mirona Iliescu
Adam Cohen-Rose

Here is the Saturday Grid. (photo by Ade Oshineye)
And the Sunday Grid. (photo by Ade Oshineye)

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