london barcamp

Dean Wilson dwilson at
Wed May 10 09:26:20 BST 2006

On Wed, May 10, 2006 at 12:52:25AM +0100, Simon Cozens wrote:

> Bar Camp is a spectacular study in missing the point. The point of Foo Camp
> was that it was elitist.

I always thought the point of Foo camp[0] was to get people talking to
each other.

IMHO the limited attendee list made things easier to organise and
created an artificial scarcity to get the "alpha geeks" along (who
typically have more conferences to go to than they have holiday time) by
inflating their egos. Hell, it worked on me.

> The benefit of its elitism was that it functioned as a technical
> meritocracy; everyone who came to Foo Camp was interesting in some way

Interesting to O'Reilly at least. I'm not trying to diminish what they
did (I'm *fully* aware of how difficult it is to organise even small
events) but it was a Friends of O'Reilly event and it featured people
they either had or wanted a relationship with.

A lot of very cool European techs doing shiny stuff were missed because
O'Reilly simply didn't know about them. I suppose the counter argument
to this is they can't be that important if O'Reilly don't know about
them. But that's bollocks.

> Hoorah. Now we have a conference for people who are not interesting
> enough to be invited to Foo Camp

Think of it as being for people unknown to O'Reilly. This is not the
same thing as not being interesting.

> but none the less think they have some kind of divine right to have
> people more interesting than them entertain and instruct them.

If you don't like the event then don't speak at it. Hell, don't go. I'm
sure they won't get that upset. Honest.

> But at least anyone can attend, and that's the important thing, right?

I think the difference is that EuroFOO was a corporate event. Bar is a
community event.

Firstly, I don't put any entry requirements on anything I organise
(purely first come first served) because I got my start in the Linux and
Perl communities by going to free, open to everyone events. And I want
to give other people the same chance. Secondly, Open and Free play
pretty big parts in those communities and I like that.

Lastly this is where your intermediate and advanced speakers come from
in a year or two.

I'm so proud, I didn't use either inbreeding or circle jerk once...

[0] I was lucky enough to go to Euro Foo and I did enjoy meeting a lot
of cool new people so I am grateful I got an invite. The odd thing was
I'd already seen a lot of them at other conferences but never known who
they were. Foo camp served as a perfect introduction to a number of
"conference buddies".
Dean Wilson   
Profanity is the one language all programmers understand
  --- Anon

More information about the mailing list