Making BarCamp Work for You

October 29, 2008

It’s usually not hard to walk into a conference unprepared and find something useful along the way that you can take back with you. However, since BarCamp Memphis is so much more than a conference, here are some ways you can go about getting the most out of your BarCamp experience.

Come Ready to Present
This is first on the list because it is simultaneously one of the most beneficial and least used BarCamp options. Speaking gets you noticed, helps you network, and lets other people know what your expertise is. Not to mention, sharing helpful info is great for the Karma. In keeping with promoting the sharing spirit of BarCamp, if you come prepared with a topic to present to your fellow Campers, BarCamp Memphis is free for you. Otherwise a small fee will go to help defray the cost of the conference.

What not to do

Don’t turn your presentation into a live infomercial for your company. BarCamp is about learning, networking, and sharing, and people will notice if you’re shamelessly plugging your brand.
Give your presentation a catchy title, but don’t get so focused on it that people can’t figure out what you’re speaking on. Topic clarity helps everyone.

Join the Conversation

BarCamp Memphis is about networking, making connections, and fostering a forward-thinking tech community in Memphis. The presentations will be a great learning experience for everyone, but your biggest benefit for the day will be from the people that you meet. BarCamp will be a focal point for movers and shakers in the tech community and will be a great place where people with ideas can meet people with talent. Don’t let that opportunity go! Bring your business card, shake hands, speak up, share your ideas, and brainstorm for new ones. Whatever you do, you’ll get more out of your BarCamp experience if you avoid being a wallflower.

Vote

BarCamp Memphis is happening right after election day, so the importance of voting should not be lost on anyone. Be sure you arrive early enough to vote on the topics for the day. Voting makes sure that topics of the day are relevant to you, which is, after all, what makes BarCamp different from everything else.

BarCamp Memphis is on November 8! In the meantime, here are some other great blogs about BarCamp to check out!

What is BarCamp?
LunaWeb

Launch Memphis Rocks Social Media in September
LunaWeb

BarCamp Tips
LaLunaBlanca

Attn Entrepreneurs and Would-Be Entrepreneurs: BarCamp Memphis is Coming
Paul Ryburn

BarCamp Memphis Planning Underway
LunaWeb

BarCamp Evolution
LaLunaBlanca

BarCamp Fee Discussion on Twitter
LaLunaBlanca

BarCamp Memphis – Calling All Thought Leaders
One Half Amazing

BarCamp Memphis: November 2008
Conmergence

BarCamp Memphis 2008 – Be There, Share, Learn
LaunchMemphis

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What is BarCamp?

October 23, 2008

With BarCamp Memphis less than 3 weeks away, it seems time to answer the question, once and for all, “What is BarCamp?

Let’s begin by deciding what BarCamp, most definitely, is not. BarCamp is not every other conference you’ve ever been to. The ones with cold coffee and colder speakers discussing topics that have been decided, possibly months in advance, with little or no audience input. It is not something you go to planning to sit still, look straight ahead, and try not to cough… or snore. It is the un-conference.

BarCamp is interactive and user-generated. There are pre-chosen topics interspersed throughout the day to help start things off. These topics are things that every BarCamper can use (programming languages, social media, social networks). After that, it’s all up to you. Anyone and everyone who comes to BarCamp can come with a topic in hand, prepared to share it with their fellow Campers. When it’s time to begin, you get to vote on exactly you want to hear that day. The result is the most relevant, informative, and interesting conference possible for you, today. Said simply, BarCamp becomes exactly what you want it to be.

BarCamp will have rooms set aside for open discussion on the topics that matter to you most (i.e. the ones you choose). There will be panel discussions throughout the day on those subjects where two (or more) heads are better than one. Even the traditional presentations are more exciting when you get to pick them yourself.

It’s time for bloggers, techies, entrepreneurs, and geeks to unite! Join the conversation at BarCamp Memphis 2008!

Last night’s TechFuel event with Sarah Lacy was one to remember!  The latest stop on Sarah’s User Generated Book Tour, which brought her back to her hometown, started at 5:00 at the EmergeMemphis building downtown and didn’t end until the last of the crowd dispersed at 10:00.

After some initial meet-and-greet time, the evening started off with some quality time with the internet celebrity.  Sarah spent about 20 minutes talking about her experience in Silicon Valley, sharing moments from her book, Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0, and answering questions from an eager assembly.  After that… the party started.

The group dispersed to the next room over to mingle over drinks and food, while Sarah signed books and gave advice to some very eager Memphis Entrepreneurs.  For 3 straight hours, with the support a single Heineken, Sarah spoke to every single person who approached her at the event.  Some of these conversations were simply humorous anecdotes of Silicon Valley personalities, while others were filled with unflinchingly delivered, hard, straight-shooting advice to entrepreneurs who willingly took the kind-hearted criticism she delivered.

The next LaunchMemphis event will be with PR guru Geoff Livingston at the Quetzal coffee shop on Monday the 22nd from 7-9 p.m.  Geoff is the author of Now is Gone and high-profile blog writer.  Join the Facebook event for more details!