Peter Childs, David Keys, Craig Fitzpatrick and myself met this morning at iotum for an hour to plan Barcamp Ottawa. We’ve settled on a date — April 22, 2006. Mark it on your calendars.
For those interested, BarCamp is an un-conference, following the OpenSpace methodology. The first was held in Sebastopol California, and since then it’s become a global movement, coordinated from the Barcamp.org wiki. You can find out more about the "rules" of BarCamp here, but the the basic premise is that unlike a conference, you come to share, to network, and to learn. There are no observers, only participants. I like to think of it as an event for geeks, by geeks.
The format is pretty simple. We’ll put up a grid — a paper based Wiki, basically — during the first session of the day. People who want to lead a discussion on a topic will volunteer to do so. We’ll develop a couple of "tracks" for the day, and then people will head over to the various sessions that interest them. At the end. We’ll have some lunch, and at the end of the day we’ll relax with some beers and discuss. Topics can range from deep geek — porting Ruby to COM, for instance was one of the sessions at TorCamp — to the philosophcal (should we support community WiFi) to the practical (what are the benefits to a startup of incorporation). It just depends on what people want to discuss.
Traditionally there’s no cost to participate. The conference is done totally on the cheap, with expenses being covered by sponsors who want to reach the geek community. So, we’re going to need sponsors for lunch, t-shirts, WiFi, and space. And we’re going to need volunteers to help organize and run the event.
Most importantly, though, we’re going to need discussion leaders to lead the various sessions. So, to that end, I’ll volunteer to run a session on "What makes a good demo". It’s something I have recent experience with.
If you’re interested, head on over to the Wiki at http://barcamp.org/BarCampOttawa. Put your name down. Suggest a session you might like to lead. Tell your friends.