BarCampCalgary organizing meeting report

We had a well attended (I think 14 made it) and fun first BarCampCalgary organizing meeting last week. I’ve promised myself to write a brief report and share what I learned. So here it is.


* Everyone had a great and relaxing time to get to know each other a bit.

* After dinner, we stayed and chated for probably over an hour to talk Camp stuff. And Austin Hill, my friend and our honoured guest from Montreal, was very generous in sharing his experience organizing and attending BarCampMontreal with us.

* The following are my personal takeaways. Feel free to add yours to the comments to this post or link your own blog comments to the comment section here.

  • Make it a community event and try to get the own community involved in organizing, volunteering, sponsoring, or spreading the words. There are no bystanders as everyone helps.
  • Aim to have Calgary’s first BarCamp in 90 days which will give us some time to organize and plan. (Actually, as a result of our first meeting, we now have dates set for our first DemoCamp and BarCamp, see here for more info.)
  • Some demo will suck! Some demo will be great as expectedly! Some demo will totally blow our minds away in their coolness and neat factors totally unexpectedly. (As a side note. Austin told a story where after a few not too good demos, Austin took it upon himself and create a session on “How to give a good demo”. To me, this is a great community helping each others in action. We may be great individually, but together we are awesome and can be insanely great!)
  • Try to find a few sponsors, each paying may be something like $500 for a six month period. This way, we can pay for food, drinks, t-shirts, and if necessary location and equipment rental, etc. I think it is good to keep the sponsorship amount low and spread it among a few sponsors.
  • For each demo, it will be good to have the CEO or the chief engineer to speak. The three basic questions to answer for each demo are: 1) What did you build? 2) Why is it interesting to us? 3) What do you need from us?
  • BarCamp Ottawa happens something like twice per year.
  • One of the BarCamp (Montreal??) started with one room in the first one. And then later grow to three parallel sessions in three different rooms. Nice. (smile)
  • The sequence of speakers in BarCamp or DemoCamp aren’t fixed until that day of the event to leave maximum flexibility.
  • Since BarCamp is usually a full day thing, good idea to make it on a Saturday instead of a weekday.
  • University of Calgary may be a good place to hold the events as we have contacts with some professors at the UC.
  • Lastly and may be most importantly, have authentic content from the local community. As long as we are authentic, we can learn and grow as a community.

For those that attended our organizing meeting, please feel free to add your insights. For those that have organized or been to a few BarCamp or DemoCamp, please share your insights here. Thanks in advance.


Update: Here is a report of the meeting from Tom West.


2 Responses to BarCampCalgary organizing meeting report

  1. […] has written up a great report on our discussion about the Barcamp & Democamp ideas that we […]

  2. Tom West says:

    Kempton, thanks for the nice writeup on BarCamp. I spoke to my friend Manish Bindal as he is a local businessman and he owns Chutney ( Chutney would make an excellent venue for the BarCamp with plenty of room and great food. Just a thought.

    Another thought is that we should schedule the next BarCamp for Austin’s next visit, he does come to Calgary fairly often.


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