Monday, August 06, 2007

BarCamp Bangalore 4

BarCamp Bangalore 4 (BCB4) happened on 28th, 29th of July at IIMB. If you are hearing the name 'BarCamp' for the first time, this link has some basic info. The official BarCamp site has some in depth details. In simple terms, it is an unconference, an ad hoc gathering of like minded and passionate people.

This was my first BarCamp. I Had heared a lot about BarCamps and was more than keen to attend this BarCamp, especially when there were sessions on photography, cycling, startups, blogging ... and more!

This BarCamp introduced the concept of collectives. Collectives are groups of people who get together around a common interest/theme/ideology. There were around 30 collectives in BCB4. I was part of the photo, bicycling and startup collectives. Some of the other prominent collectives in BCB4 were the bloggers collective, the internet collective, FOSS, UnBand collective, BangPypers...

Bicycling Collective
This was the highlight for me in BCB4. About 15 of us, who regularly cycle/want to cycle met and discussed various interesting topics for about two hours. Some of us took our bikes to the venue. I'll be writing a separate post on this.

Startup Collective
This probably was the biggest of all collectives! It was useful to hear many successful entrepreneurs talk about their experiences. I particularly liked the session from Sujai of Sloka Telecom. He hilariously explained his hiring and compensation policies. He mentioned about an young employee who wanted to get married, but was finding it tough to get a girl as he was working for a startup! That's a strikingly true scenario in the Indian middle class society.

Photo Collective
A bunch of enthusiastic photographers met behind the Audi irrespective of a light drizzle to discuss some good topics related to photography. Vinayak gave an introdcution of Bangalore Weekend Shoots Flickr group.

This was my first BarCamp. It lived up to my expectations! Now I know of special interest groups in my areas of interest. But there was a striking difference in the quality of dicussions between the bicycling and the startup collectives. We had some foucssed and highly participative discussions, but the Startup collective was mostly of 'conference' style sessions. One difference between these two collectives is the number of participants. It's good to have many participants, but it's more improtant to have serious participants. I would suggest to have an entry fee of about 200 to 300 INR for BarCamps, so that only the serious particpants attend. This also means that the initiators need not scout for too many sponsors.

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