Justine and I attended BarCamp Houston at the Houston Technology Center yesterday and had a great time. A big thanks to all the organizers (Marc Nathan, Kelsey Ruger, Josh Tabin, Scott Stolz). You guys made the event a smashing success for everyone. And thanks to all the sponsors for helping to make BarCamp Houston possible.
For those who don’t know what BarCamp is, here is a brief explanation:
BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants — often focusing on early-stage web applications, and related open source technologies, social protocols, and open data formats. – Wikipedia
This can be simplified to “day camp for nerds.”
I watched some great presentations and participated in some interesting discussions throughout the day. BarCamps are only as great as their participants, and we had some great participants this year.
Ed Schipul’s presentation on PR and social media was sharp. His creative use of a green laser pointer kept the crowd in line (as much as possible) as he explained how to “put the relations back in public relations” using social media. It’s a pleasure to watch a pro on stage engage the audience as well as Ed does.
Josh Tabin spoke about how start-up funding works. I found his discussion about the ins and outs of financing to be pretty enlightening. I left the discussion knowing a lot more about how start-ups make that initial leap into businesses.
Tracy and Imelda whipped up an impromptu discussion on digital photography and social media. I’m pretty sure there should have been a cover charge for the room and IDs checked at the door. Tracy had the room in stitches for a solid 30 minutes, while feeding them great advice for managing their photos in Flickr.
Katherine Druckman also jumped into the mix with an impromptu presentation about Drupal, the open source content management system. The crowd had lots of questions and she fielded them like a pro.
Wynn Netherland and Jim Mulholland from Squeejee.com gave a great presentation on virtual collaboration tools. I’ve gotten used to keeping much of my work “in the cloud” and Wynn and Jim did a nice job of rounding up the most useful tools for working with teams spread across the globe (they even did their presentation live on Google Docs. Cool.)
Here’s a photo of the schedule board in the lobby. A little something for everyone.
My own presentation about mobile web design & SMS went pretty well (at least I think so…it’s hard to gauge while standing behind a podium). I used a live SMS poll to determine how the crowd used their phones the most (talking, email, text messaging or mobile internet). Email and WAP came out on top, which isn’t surprising given the technologically savvy crowd at BarCampHouston. (Screenshot of the BarCampHouston3 mobile poll results.) I also posted some photos on Flickr yesterday.
Have a great Sunday, everyone!
P.S. – Bill Shirley posted a nice BarCampHouston update, too. Check it out.