The brainrush that comes from having 17 simultaneous cool thoughts bouncing around in your mind whilst trying to figure out what to work on first is exhilarating, yet slightly frustrating.
A couple online articles read today, plus an exchange of emails with Justin K and a few others this morning, have put my mind into BarCampMilwaukee
mode. There are so many awesome things that can (and will) happen at this tech event -- the question is, which ones to do the prep work for first.
Three barcamp items come to mind as priorities; participants, sponsors and event video.Participants
- like it says on the website, this event is for anyone who loves technology and doesn't mind acronyms. The participant
emphasis can not be over-stressed for BarCampMilwaukee. Everyone who comes should plan to do much more than sit and listen. You don't have to be the founder of or working at a tech startup to come to barcamp, but you should be doing more than going to work then coming home and just watching tv or dvds every night. If you're an avid WoW player or netizen in SL, lead a session about your virtual world. If you work at a robotics company, ask your boss if you can bring a robot to barcamp and demo it. If you develop video games, come and lead a session about the neat stuff you do in that area. Bring your tech passion to BarCampMilwaukee and lead a session on it. And if you know other passionate tech people, tell them about the event now and make sure they come to it.
Oh yeah. We want diversity in BarCampMilwaukee participants. If we don't work to get that, we won't get it. There should be lots of OSs present. Mac, Linux (all flavors), Windows, BeOS
, others (and no discriminating against Windows users...). Different genders, ethnic backgrounds, and ages -- not only young white males, although it's ok for them to come too. So bring your friends and acquaintances who are different from you. Corporate, startups, college students, university faculty, high school, no school. Software people and hardware people. Those who do tech and those who use tech. The best way to learn, grow and enjoy the Journey is with some people very much like you and some very much different from you.Sponsors
- Justin says Milwaukee is a great community for in-kind sponsors. He is confident we'll have more than enough sponsors for the basics we need to make BarCampMilwaukee an outstanding success. He's off to a great start -- Bucketworks
and James Carlson have proven Justin right for the hardest-to-pin-down resource, the venue. However, three non-traditional sponsor areas where barcamp could maybe use some help are sponsors of communications equipment for sessions, sponsors for components to make cool tech stuff, and sponsors to take care of travel expenses for out-of-town participants.
Some barcamp sessions will work best when there are specific communication tools available. It would be great to have sponsors who supply (loan or give) those communication tools. Examples of these tools are: LCD projectors to hook up to laptops (plus we need to figure out what we'll be projecting onto), large whiteboards & markers, lots of flipchart stands & paper & markers, tele-collaborating equipment (for any people we conference in from remote locations), LAN equipment if someone leads a session that requires the other session participants to hook into a separate LAN, etc.
One tech item mentioned at the 06 Aug planning meeting to make at barcamp was the LED sticky wall crawlers. It would be great if session leaders who want to have people in their session make a tech item could connect with sponsors that would supply lots of whatever components and equipment are needed. Maybe we could get a few CAD-prototypers, and someone could do a session with those. Maybe someone could lead a session on something cool with GPS units, and GPS manufacturers could supply 20 or 30 of those. Maybe we can build something from a 6502 or 8088 or 64 FX-62! Lots of possibilities in this area.
A final thought about sponsors concerns travel expenses for out of town participants. It would make BarCampMilwaukee even better than it will be anyway (is that recursive?) if we get some participants who are doing interesting tech stuff in other parts of the world. I'm thinking Seattle, San Francisco, Tucson, Flagstaff, Poughkeepsie, Bellingham, Cambridge, Scotland, Europe, Iceland, Australia, Japan, China, India, Switzerland, South Africa (Mark Shuttleworth, by way of England), Finland, etc. Sponsors could either bring their own employees to BarCampMilwaukee or take care of travel expenses for out-of-town interesting non-employee tech participants of their choosing. There are plenty of passionate tech people doing things in Milwaukee and Wisconsin, and all of them should be at BarCampMilwaukee, but the area could also get some wild and crazy ideas by an infusion of new tech blood.
BTW, sponsors for barcamp are kind of like the rest of the barcamp preparations. Read over how barcamps work, bounce your ideas off Justin K to let him know what you're planning, then run with it. If we have lots of great sponsors, it won't be because one or two people arranged for them. It will be because a number of people passionate about having an awesome barcamp brought in some unforgettable sponsors. Just make sure the sponsors know this isn't an opportunity to sell -- it's a chance to participate in a tech event with people excited about making something unique and making a difference in the world. (Justin -- please review this and let me know which parts should be erased or changed
BarCampMilwaukee Video - one of the things I really liked about Seattle Mind Camp 1.0 was the video a participant made of the event. Between now and September 30, a search will be on to find someone to make an event video for BarCampMilwaukee showing all the phases of the event. That in itself can be a tech project for someone or some group. If you're interested in working on this (shooting footage, editing, composing the music, sponsoring the cost of doing this), please contact me or Justin K (or James C?). We don't need anyone to star in the video, because the participants will be the stars.
(On a somewhat related note, James C mentioned some interesting thoughts about doing live blogging at the event, along with podcasting, vodcasting(?), online posting of pictures during the event, etc.)
Final tech news issues list for 08 Aug 2006 NEW NET meeting: