Friday, June 02, 2006

Excitement of unconferences - see you at Barcamp

I have spoken about various Internet topics in conferences since Internet World in 95 in Boston including several brand name conferences and recently speak at select conferences in select topics after checking out the quality of audiences.

So, when I heard about unconferences , I was not surprised that smart people want to create something distruptive to challenge the quality of conferences which mostly start with some speakers slotted by sponsoring companies followed by some good and bad speakers, many pitching their products, out of which some are arresting speakers and many pushing powerpoints insensitive to the intelligence of the audience.

I am writing about it here as I am excited that unconferences are possible because of the current state of digital space coupled with (call it web 2.0 or not) the maturing of online communities.

I was part of Boston Computer Society, a 30 yr old body in 95 and started their Web Group. This was my blessing to get me to experience the fervor of geeky grassroot communities in America and the power of what they can achieve. We spun-off as Web-Net Group after BCS closed with monthly meetings at MIT Sloan and so many volunteer driven group activities and online sites.

Apart from the concept that all participants are speakers and the community rates and allows presentation purely on merit, what excites me about unconferences is that they are spontaneeous with an entrepreneurial spirit which helped the web take off in the 90s.

The falling costs of hosting, open source softwares, wikis as registration tools all make it all the more easy for unconferences to flourish and produce quality interactions, learnings and seed new ideas for more innovation.

I'll write more after attending this weekends' barcamp Boston. Whats cool about barcamp is that its evolved into another participatory self-regulated community with its own offsprings organized worldwide.


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