Posts Tagged ‘OpenSpace’

Seven Thoughts from PodCamp

April 3, 2009

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Seven: Everyone has a story. Every camper brings their own story to the table, and experiences the camp in their own unique way, with their own perspectives, goals and ambitions.

Six: Enable others to connect with each other. It turns out that AuctionWally enjoys Voodoo Steve’s indie podcast. How cool is that? And many folks were not familiar with Amherst native John Robison before the camp. But everyone in his session came away with newfound knowledge and respect.

PodCamp WesternMassFive: Help others build their networks. It’s not about the size of your own network, it’s about how many connections you can make for others. That’s why I put the ‘Follow Me on Twitter” poster sheets up on the wall; to enable campers to continue the conversations.

PCWM_04RebelThinkingFour: The spirit of PodCamp can be found in the little things. One of my favorite photos is this one of laptop bags lined up against the wall.

Three: The spirit of PodCamp can be found in the spaces. Yes, the sessions are usually excellent. But I learned from BarCampBank SF how great it is to allow ample time between sessions and leave a huge long lunch break. This is what really allows campers to connect with each other, and many times it’s these break conversations where new things are shared and learned.

Podcamp Western Mass 2009Two: The buzz spread more AFTERwards. For an inaugural event word spreads more AFTER the event. WesternMass has never had any sort of ‘camp’ event before as far as I know. So even though many invites went out, many did not see the value in re-arranging their schedules in order to attend. But now that we have 14 GLOWING blog reviews of the camp, interest is piqued in a wider audience. So we’ll hold version two in about six months. If you are considering trying to get any type of new event off the ground, make sure it is WELL RECORDED online the first time out.

One: Seeing the camp through others’ eyes. This is actually one of my greatest joys of PodCamp. Being a ‘camp veteran, I take the open discussion and flexible format for granted. But since so many bloggers, photographers, and videographers attended, I get to experience the joy and wonderment of their first camp experience through their lens.

Podcamp Western Mass 2009

PodCamp WesternMass: A smashing success

April 3, 2009

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Last Saturday, March 28, 2009, we held the first PodCamp in Western Massachusetts. I wasn’t familiar with any “camp” event before Robbie Wright invited me to the first BarCampBank in North America, BarCampBank Seattle in the summer of 2007. I didn’t attend, but after reading the glowing, superlative-laden blog reviews of it, I wished I had rearranged my schedule after all. And thus began my quest of ‘camp‘ discovery. I subsequently attended FacebookCamp Toronto 2, shortly followed by PodCampBoston 2. Even before attending this event, I thought that we were getting to the point where we could hold a PodCamp in the western half of Massachusetts, and convened an exploratory planning meeting with co-conspirators, nationally recognized social media maven Tish Grier, and well-connected writer, reporter, and traveler Jaclyn Stevenson on October 16, 2007. Life, and other ‘camps intervened over the following months, and it wouldn’t be for another year that we held another organizational meeting for PodCamp WesternMass. Finally, we just had to pick a date and make it happen. And boy, did it happen.

PCWM_08MorrisTish and Jaclyn were in their element, getting the word about the camp out to everyone in their networks. A terrific surprise to me was that Jaclyn put the press release out on Pitch Engine, a fully web 2.0, social-media-compatible press release site, and this garnered attention from many in the region.

The day arrived, and it was all wonderful, start to finish. I facilitated getting the sessions onto the grid, and finding the right attendees to lead some of the sessions requested. We basically had two tracks going throughout the day, a beginner’s track for newbies, and a more advanced track for those already involved in social media.

PodCampI was gratified that several video bloggers recorded the day, including Voodoo Stevie who even live-streamed some of it. And many pictures were taken by me, Jaclyn, Shawn Toohey, and Stephen Sherlock. At last count, we have 13 blog entries, 6 pages of video, including two montages set to music, 140 photos, and too many tweets to count.

A huge congratulations to Tish Grier and Jaclyn Stevenson for a smashing PodCamp success! May there be many more!

BarCampMoney NYC or BarCampBank NYC?

January 26, 2009

Last year, I was delighted when Frederic Baud, one of the organizers of the first BarCampBank (in Paris), tweeted that he just discovered that BarCampMoney NYC was to be held on April 14, 2008. By complete coincidence, the organizers, including Jonah Keegan, had gained momentum to put on the event without knowing that a similar event had been organized in the U.S. the previous year, in Seattle, and that two additional U.S. BarCampBanks were slated for San Francisco and New England in each of the preceding two weeks to the New York event.

I assumed the NYC event was named BarCampMoney instead of BarCampBank simply because Jonah was not aware of the existence of the other events, and had been inspired to create an event in much the same way that the original event was spawned from BarCamp Paris, but had simply decided on a different name.

If you are not already familiar with BarCamp and BarCampBank, these are unconferences where the audience/participants are the star of the show. Entry is free or low cost, and there are no featured speakers. It’s a model of democracy in action. The best Camps are conducted using Open Space principles with no predetermined agenda. Despite its funny name, BarCampBank is an unconference dedicated to innovation in regards to technology and finance. It’s definitely not about bankers, per se. In fact, bankers are a minority of attendees at a BarCampBank if there are any at all.

I gave Jonah access to the BarCampBank Facebook group already in existence, which included people who were at BarCampBank Paris and BarCampBank Seattle. At this time, I also invited Jonah to change the name of his event to fit the existing community of BarCampBanks that had already occurred, or were about to occur. He declined, citing that materials had already been created and published with the BarCampMoney name, which was understandable.

The event was well-attended, with approximately 50 out of the 75 registered attendees showing up. The group was quite diverse, from investment bankers to angel investors to entrepreneurs to programmers.

The organizers are about to hold the event again, on March 7, and knew there was an opportunity to either stick with the BarCampMoney name, or switch to the BarCampBank name.

My arguments for switching to the BarCampBank name are as follows:

1.) Few bankers usually show up to BarCampBank. The fact that’s it’s not just about bank or just for bankers is explained quickly and easily. But it makes sense in that discussion is about how we can revolutionize the ways in which banking is done.

2.) There are already groups set up and organized online with the BarCampBank name, i.e. wiki pages, Facebook group, Google Group. These groups represent a worldwide audience of people who are interested in BarCampBanks, and may have attended one.

3.) There have been many BarCampBanks held throughout the world, namely:
BarCampBank Paris (the first one, in Sept. 2006)
BarCampBank Seattle
BarCampBank SF
BarCampBank NewEngland
BarCampMoney NYC
BarCampBank Dallas
BarCampBank London
BarCampBank Charleston
BarCampBank BC

Already on the slate for this year are:
BarCampBank London 2
BarCampBank SF 2
BarCampBank Vegas

Being planned are:
BarCampBankCharlotte
BarCampBankMadison
BarCampBankBarcelona
BarCampBankEstonia
BarCampBankMadrid

During a conference call with the BarCampMoney organizers today, the New York group has decided to stick with the BarCampMoney name for the following reasons:

1.) Historical precedent; continuity with last year’s event.

This is understandable.

2.) New York is special, and includes Wall Street, investment bankers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and is the financial center of the world; therefore it deserves a special name, different than the rest, to set it apart.

To me, this argument is weak. Every city is special and every city lends its own character to an event, especially a financial-related event. Having attended four BarCampBanks in four different cities, and even organizing one of them, one of the things that I most enjoy about them is the distinctive character that each city lends to the event. BarCampBank SF was wonderfully tech and start-up oriented, BarCampBank NewEngland was credit union oriented by design, the first BarCampMoney NYC was venture-capital and investment oriented, and BarCampBank BC had a worthy-cause and social media flavor.

New York as a city has enough star-power on its own that it doesn’t need additional differentiation through the name.

3.) Another reason cited for keeping the BarCampMoney name was that this subset of the greater BarCamp movement could catch on and be held in numerous cities worldwide. This argument makes no sense since the BarCampBank movement has already caught on and is already being held in many cities, with many more in the works. BarCampLondon 2 is slated for February 14 and BarCampBank SF 2 is slated for April 25 & 26. This argument also directly contradicts the argument that the NYC event needs a special name due to the unique nature of the financial community there.

A BarCamp of any type is primarily about meeting people in-person, and therefore is primarily oriented to the physical geography in which it is held. But since technology is breaking down barriers of geography, acknowledging the world outside, being inclusive to the greater movement is worthy too. To say that New York is special is redundant; every locale is special. To try to show the rest of the world that New York is special through having a different name is to not be inclusive to folks in other areas who may have interest in attending, or in some way getting involved. After all, though the efforts of Brent Dixon, at BarCampBank BC, via live video stream over the web, we had questions and comments from all over the world, including colleagues in Boston, North Carolina, Dallas, Madison, Paris, and elsewhere (Hi Ron, Matt, Brad, Chris, and Frederic!).

Ultimately, the name won’t affect the event too much one way or another, except in the expectations of some attendees. The question boils down to if the organizers want this event to be a part of a broader movement or not. As long as the event is held in the spirit of BarCamps, then either name will work.

Your thoughts and opinions on the matter?


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