Having witnessed the over hyped Barcamp4@Bangalore, there is definitely something to learn especially if you plan to demo your product next BarCamp. Learning is in terms of what to expect from the event, what essentially to keep in mind while preparing your PPT.
1. The ratio of newcomers : old Comers is increasing every Barcamp – This potentially means two things; One – Barcamp is getting famous, thus attracting the new crowd, two – Certain amount of unspoken disappointment is not motivating quite a few many good guys to turn down those not-so-important commitments for the Barcamp (I’m talking about local guys, forget non-local).
Reality check – My conversation with Arun PC (One the high energy guy (also my classmate), who can give you real treat with his insightful questions/ confusions!)
Discussion before Barcamp
me: Are you joining Barcamp this weekend
Arun: Barcamp is this weekend?
Arun: yeah, i am going i’ll better register
Discussion after Barcamp
me: Hey, did you come to Barcamp?
Arun: i did not. i had other commitments
Definitely I don’t mean that the new comers wouldn’t constitute such people but that it may not be the kind of event you are expecting after reading a lot on blogs. The audience primarily is only good enough for brand building or Beta testing your product.
Somehow we believed to see some investors (rich guys) and therefore, oriented our presentation keeping such audience also in mind. What we received in return was just few developers’s community & some naive audience, it wasn’t like this @ Barcamp2.
2. Increasing non-techie factor
Again, “I’m not against it but it is just to set the right expectations” for the folks who must have heard from lot many pre Barcampers that it is the conglomeration of cool geeks & technical intellect. The definition of Barcamp is getting redefined now.
A surprise – In spite of that fact that ‘Startups collective‘ attracted the maximum crowd in the mornings, they were allocated a small room away from the central auditorium, however, while in L22 room, I heard that the the Un-Band (Music group) – which is not the reason why people come to Barcamp – enjoyed the Big auditorium. Quite interesting!
Thus, either the guys who are already very keen in your product (though very few in numbers) will come early to grab the seat or will be patient enough to stand in case of overflow. Rest of the attendees who remain hopping, may not be your real target. Thus, set the right expectations before planning.
AJAX, JAVA, RoR collectives weren’t at all present the initial day, all it reflects is that the priority the technology factor isn’t enjoying the esteem, it used to enjoy earlier. Again this is just to convey that BarCamps are evolving rapidly, relating with the older experience for the new one, might give you a shock every next time.
3. Increasing unstructurism in Barcamps
Talk to people offline, almost everyone I talked to was cribbing about the inefficient Barcamp this July. Problem however is not that the Barcamp wasn’t good but that a common attendee’s word had no value to improve it. Talk to the Mic. holders (most visible faces) , either your words are thrown away in between a joke or in the name of “audience-defined” event, no serious ear is given.
Mic holders on stage though made a call to bring many people on stage with 30 seconds to speak – A real experience might not be easy to articulate and express on stage. It apparently lacked any good views to be shared. May be over-time they’ll figure out what to improve.
But yes it still is definitely a place where you can hit the chord with the right people who match your instincts. You’ll find all the famous bloggers, entrepreneurial guys around at least the first day (no guarantee for the second day however).
No doubt its an un-conference – which should remain unplanned however little more effort to make it structured wouldn’t dilute the spirit I’m sure (as against the belief).
Lots to improve before Barcamp 5!