BarCampMadison: 3 - 4 March 2007
The date has been set for BarCampMadison -- it will be held on 3 - 4 March 2007!
Mark your calendars. Put BarCampMadison in your schedule. It's going to be a great time in Mad City...
The next step in getting ready for BarCampMadison is to let all your friends and tech acquaintances know about the event. Consider connecting with and inviting a few tech people you've heard about or whose blogs you've read.
If you aren't real familiar with what barcamps and unconferences are, do a little reading online. The BarCampMadison website will have links to sites explaining more about those topics, or you can do some searching on the web and find a ton of info on the subject.
Think about what would make the event fun and worthwhile for you. Come up with one or more tech topics about which you are passionate and consider leading a session or two. You don't need to be an expert or a polished public speaker to lead a session. Leading a session isn't about presenting a class lecture. It's about sharing something that's really interesting to you with other people interested in technology, about getting the participants in your session excited about the subject, about learning from them, and about discussing their questions and suggestions. BarCamps are for making connections with other people who are interested in the topics about which you're passionate.
Finalizing the date for BarCampMadison is "a good thing", but it evokes both warm fuzzies and luke-warm smoothies (no cold pricklies). The warm fuzzies are that this tech unconference will be fun, lots of interesting aspects of technology will be discussed and demonstrated, and new tech connections will be made from Madison and other parts of the midwest. If we're lucky, we'll even get a few people from outside the midwest. The less-than-totally-good aspects of BarCampMadison are that I'll end up spending more time than I should on BarCampMadison activities and that there are bound to be a few details of the event which are not what I'd consider ideal. Some of the non-ideal details will happen because life isn't perfect or fair, and some will happen because other people involved in the event will have opinions and preferences different than mine. Diversity and variety are nice, but it would also be fun to have things exactly the way I think would work best...
The key to the luke-warm smoothies, or even cold pricklies, is to turn lemons into lemonade and sell it for a good profit and to understand the benefits of doing things differently from the way I might prefer them.
At this moment, there's only one less-than-ideal issue from my viewpoint -- we had to book the event at a hotel. The unconference, unconventional aspect, open source feel of barcamps is unlikely to be facilitated or enhanced by the hotel, IMO. Most of the barcamps I've read about have not been in hotels or typical conference centers. However, the 2007 Madison tech unconference will be in a hotel, and it's more important to have the unconference than to put it off until all conditions are ideal. With a bit of luck and planning, BarCampMadison 2008 will be held in a non-hotel location that promotes and is conducive to an innovative open source collaborative atmosphere. In the meantime, we'll turn the hotel's features to our advantage as much as possible, such as holding some discussion sessions in the hot tub area.
Bottom line: Sign up today for BarCampMadison if you haven't already done so. If you need any help signing up, contact me or someone else on the Participant list. And if you have the time and interest, jump right in and help out with organizing the event -- all are welcome and lots of help is needed to make the event as enjoyable and worthwhile as possible.