Friday, August 1, 2014

Some thoughts about Barcamps

Barcamp Bangkok is coming soon, on August 23rd from 10am-5pm at TK Park in Central World. We try to keep the tradition of the awesome Bangkok Barcamps, but I was actually asking myself, what makes a Barcamp a good Barcamp.

Having organised those events in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and now in Thailand, many people always look at numbers. Cambodia has Barcamps in nearly every city and more than 1000 participants in Phnom Penh. Laos as well looks at - although lower - numbers. Myanmar is the record holder with 4000 or so.

But it is not so much about numbers. A Barcamp is just a place in time where people come together to share knowledge and get connected. The more people, the more connections, yes. But even a 50 people Barcamp like the last one in Bangkok in 2012 is a good one. Sometimes it is just a restriction by venue. This year we can only accommodate 350 people. So it is far from the 1000 participants in 2009. But it doesn't make it less good.

Some organisers also want to make a Barcamp a professional event. Like any other conference. But it is the exact opposite. We don't pay speakers, we don't lick a sponsors ass. No champagne, no canap├ęs.  Local food, if any. Water, and some 3-in-1 coffee. We focus on the people and their way to collaborate. It is a pure experience. No distractions and kind of pure honesty. You don't have to pretend to be a successful entrepreneur, it is ok if you failed with your last business. It doesn't matter if you don't know everything about programming - there are people here to help you.

For me, a successful Barcamp is one that happened. That is my duty as an organiser: to make it happen. Everything else, and this is the core of the events, is in the hands of the participants.


A bit of background about Barcamps:
A Barcamp is a so called un-conference. We don't know who is speaking and we don't know what about. That is up to you. In the morning at between 10am and 11 am we will set up a time table and available rooms. You can pick a time slot (usually 30 minutes) and then write down the topic you want to talk about. Languages can be Thai  or English.

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If we have more speakers than times lots we will conduct a voting.

From 1pm to 1.30pm we will have a lunch break.

5.30 pm will be the closing ceremony.

Participation is free. But we expect participants to be part of the event, and sometimes to give us a hand if needed.