BarCampMilwaukee Tracks: 2008

In addition to the fun of serendipity and just seeing what sessions other people decide to lead, here are eight topic tracks I'd like to see at BarCampMilwaukee, 3 - 5 October 2008.
  1. Fab Lab: Innovation and Imagination
  2. Mobile Web: Now and the Future
  3. Building and Optimizing Websites
  4. Civilian and Sport Aerospace and Aviation
  5. Networking and Social Media Marketing
  6. Sustainable Alternative Energy
  7. Video Games, GPUs and Entertainment
  8. Telecollaboration and Web Apps
Over the next couple weeks I'll do a blog post on each of the above tracks, including titles or descriptions of sessions that someone should lead in each track.

Making the above tracks a reality is possible, but achieving that will be sort of like making BarCampMilwaukee itself happen. One person, because of everything else they are already doing in their life, can't by themselves make all these tracks happen. What I need to do is find a core team of people who would like to help make this happen and are willing to take the lead on one or two of the tracks.

What does it take to have two days of sessions in one of the above tracks?

First, one has to develop a list of potential session titles or sub-topics. Next, do online research for the general track title, for related keywords and for all the track sub-topics you can think of. Especially valuable are blog searches related to those keywords and blog searches focused on Wisconsin and the Midwest. Another technique to use is searching with the keywords in Google News. Keep track of new relevant keywords you see that weren't on your initial list and also search for those keywords.

Search vectors which have become more important in the past couple years are networking and event websites. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Ning, Upcoming, MeetUp.com, Eventful and other networking and event sites to identify people interested in the track you're working on.

While doing the online research for a track, keep a list of people who appear to be passionate about the topic of the track. When searching and reading online articles and posts, do secondary research to find contact information for those people you identify as great potential session leaders.

Another angle of attack is to identify organizations or companies highly involved in the track topic. For example, the "Fab Lab" track listed above will lead you to Fox Valley Technical College, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), EIGERlab, SolidWorks, CATI (SolidWorks distributor), Blender, Google (SketchUp), Z Corporation, and many others. After identifying target organizations which may be interested in participating in BarCampMilwaukee, contact those companies and connect on a personal level with at least one person in the organization. Then talk with them about officially sending an organization representative to lead a session related to the track you're working on. If the organization declines to have official representation, ask them to tell their employees, especially the people known to be enthusiastic geeks, about the barcamp. Give the company your name as a barcamp contact point and provide your email and phone number.

Once you have a list of potential barcamp participants for the track you are working on, contact all those people. Develop a template for emails you'll send to the potential participants to maximize your effectiveness and keep the amount of time to a reasonable (sort of!) minimum. Explain what barcamp is and encourage them to lead or co-lead a session for the track in which you are interested. Personalize each email with something specific to each person -- you don't want to be perceived as a spammer or make the person feel they are getting an email from someone who doesn't know anything about them. Finally, ask the potential session leader to register for event on the BarCampMilwaukee website and request that they add their session title to the session page on the barcamp website.

Soooo.... if you are passionate about one or more of the above eight tracks and want to help me make those tracks a reality for BarCampMilwaukee, drop me an email at bwaldron gmail [dott] com.

Let's make this year's BarCampMilwaukee the best one yet!



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