Category Archives: unconference

More thoughts on Barcamp II

I personally am not tired of conferences. I am just tired of tired conferences. Particularly the ones with the same group of twenty talking heads saying the same twenty things. - Stowe Boyd

I know public speaking scares the heck out of most people, but maybe we can get more people into the conversation...

I remember facing two hundred people at one of the PLUG technical sessions, all quiet as a mouse. I remember feeling _really_ frustrated by the notion that they might just be there to listen to people talk (possibly over their heads, eh?), get their certificate and go on with their lives. Or maybe they were just thinking about lunch. Ah, well.

I want small groups, so no one can hide in the anonymity of crowds. ;) I'm tired of audiences. I want participants. I don't want to hear presentations. I want to be part of conversations.

On Technorati: ,

Random Japanese sentence: 猫はネズミを追いかけた。 The cat ran after the rat.

More thoughts on Barcamp, no answers

Dominique helpfully offered suggestions on adapting BarCamp to the Philippines. He said that it was doable, but challenging. He asked me the top five people I'd like to be there. He suggested having interdisciplinary talks by invited speakers on entrepreneurship, physics, biology, etc. Many of the Linux geeks who regularly speak at events would no doubt turn up, too.

I had such a strong reaction against his ideas that I had to stop myself from being frustrated. I recognized that I felt he didn't understand what unconferences were about. I also recognized that I couldn't yet articulate the differences between unconferences and conferences in a way that would make the changes and benefits clear. I was frustrated, yes, but I was frustrated with myself for being unable to figure out how to hack unconferences into Filipino culture without turning the event into yet another thing that divides speakers from audience instead of creating a community of participants.

I knew Dominique wanted to help me think things through, but the strength and irrationality of my reaction made me realize that I needed to first think things over with people who know the unconference culture and who may have insights into helping a new community adapt.

I need more insight from people like Chris Messina and David Crow. How does one hack unconferences into a society's culture? How can I help people go from a strongly hierarchical culture to a flatter one? Must ask Don Marti, too...

I don't have answers. I don't even know where to start. One good thing is that I can recognize when I'm hitting a wall, though. When I heard Dominique repeat his suggestion for inviting talks from outside disciplines and I knew I just couldn't listen well enough to do him credit, I thanked Dominique for sharing his thoughts and confessed my inability to discuss things further at this time. I need to talk to the others first. I need to figure things out.

You know, it's just _so_ tempting to not think about how to hack something like unconferences into Philippine society. It would be so easy to just enjoy the fruits of other people's labor in a tech culture that's starting to take off. But I want to bring these ideas home...

And you know what? Maybe I don't need to figure out how to get people out of their chairs and into the conversation. Maybe I can focus on just meeting the Web 2.0 entrepreneurs, the connectors who are reaching out to me and to each other. I'd like to meet them in person and get them to talk to each other. Maybe I don't have to think about doing that this August. Maybe I can do that this December, if I can afford to go home.

I don't feel bad about being asked tough questions. I feel bad about not knowing the answers and not even being able to explain why something doesn't feel right. I just need to talk to more people and try more things in order to figure out what to do.

And I seriously need hot chocolate and a hug, but that's just because I'm feeling all lost again... I'll try to postpone thinking about it until Friday, as I'm booked until then.

On Technorati: , , , ,

Random Japanese sentence: うちの猫って甘えん坊で、どこでも私のあと着いて来るのよね。 My cat is such a baby, she follows me around wherever I go.