Two separate hard-core tech campouts took place this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area and--from the amount of praise coming from those who attended--seem to have been enormously successful. Foo Camp, organized by the O'Reilly Network, gathered a few hundred people doing groundbreaking work in everything from Web services to hardware hacking in order to discuss their current projects and generate ideas for future work.
Not surprisingly, many people felt snubbed by O'Reilly's invite-only camp and were disappointed with the exclusivity surrounding an event designed for openly sharing ideas. So the uninvited did what any enterprising soul would do; they made their own camp. Organized in less than two weeks, Bar Camp drew scores of attendees and gave them the opportunity to present and discuss their projects with others working to push the envelope in the way the Web works.
While the possibility of a rivalry between the two camps was ripe, most accounts from the blogging community show a great respect for both events and, primarily, for the people who attended. Several bloggers are already calling for similar events in locations around the world. It goes to show that, no matter the chaos in planning or lack of showers, any gathering of brilliant minds will inspire new ideas and move discussion forward--especially when there's beer.
Blog community response:
"Aside from being one of the best professional/academic gatherings I've been to, it reminded me exactly how little I know. Ever sit in a room full of 20 people laughing at a joke you don't even begin to understand? Multiple times? ItÂ’s humbling."
--Mike Davidson (On Foo Camp)
"I am very stoked that there was a second camp - BAR camp. And i definitely think there's an interesting model in there. What would it mean for people to simultaneously organize lots of hyper diverse events? The trick would be to really mix people up - create a good balance of network cohesion and diversity."
"Barcamp provided a great space where intensively cooperative and supportively critical geeks connected, learned, discussed and hashed out questions regarding software development and innovations for what is often now called web 2.0."
--Community Knowledge Works