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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 2 months ago

BarCamp Origins


(quoted from an anecdote by Tantek left at BuildingBlocks.)


2005 late summer, Tim is putting on FOO Camp again. I wasn't sure if I was going to be invited back. Heard of other folks getting invited, and the dates were coming up quick. One night, I shared my feelings and thoughts with friend and co-worker Ryan King and I said to him, I remember everything about the events and process of FOO Camp, and I know that a small group of folks could rebuild it. I told them the format for the participant driven "Camp" that Tim ran last year that I had the good fortune to experience. The 3 word intros. The empty grid beckoning signups. The plentiful space to camp/crash. The regular meals to syncup, take a break from the keyboard and projector and talk while in line for food, while sitting around round tables. The morning sessions with Tim O'Reilly himself setting the tone for the day. I told him: we could do this, and call it BarCamp, the complement to Foocamp. What we needed: a venue with at least a couple of rooms with power, wifi, seating, projectors, whiteboards. Easy access to food, preferably brought in to avoid having to leave the venue. Space for tents. Ideally: a place to shower. We bounced the idea off of a few more friends, Chris Messina, Andy Smith, and Matt Mullenweg and they sounded interested as well. Yet all were way too busy with their "day jobs", Chris and Andy crunching to get a release of Flock done for OSCon, and Matt wrapping up things at CNET and assembling his new startup. Still the idea was planted, and with such emotional force that rather than be forgotten, it's attractiveness only grew. The weekend before, Chris Messina pinged me on IRC and asked if I thought we could still do it. So we (Ryan, Chris, Andy, Matt, and I) went to Ritual Roasters to go figure it out. I invited SF newcomer Eris Stassi to join us as well. I repeated the outline of requirements and the group said why not? Andy Smith registered the domain name and installed kwiki within minutes. We cloned the details from the FooCamp wiki (thanks to Tim for putting all the stuff on a wiki, another inspiration). Over the course of the next few days, each person found their natural roles in helping make things happen. With an IRC channel for rapid discussions, and the wiki to capture roles/decisions, progress was made incredibly quickly. Friday afternoon, just six days from when the domain was registered, the first BarCamp was kicked off. within days, interest from other cities poured in to do their own BarCamps. We took the model of FOOCamp of pick a room and do your session and expanded it to: pick a city and do a barcamp. We documented what we learned so others could copy without any permission or direct communication. In the weeks and months following, self-organized BarCamps were held in other cities around the country and world as far away as New Delhi and Shanghai. Not only have over a dozen BarCamps been held, but it has spawned numerous mutations (as any rapidly growing species does) - MashupCamp, MashPit, Virginia Woolf Camp etc. Many more BarCamps are being planned by and for people in their local communities. In fact, BarCampAustin was happening at the Thistle Cafe during SXSW 2006 at the same time as the original Building Blocks for Independents presentation. For more info go to BarCamp.org.


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