8 Ideas on the Future of BarCamp Toronto

Tom and I had lunch recently, and conversation quickly turned geeky. (surprised?) We discussed the future of BarCamp/TorCamp/DemoCamp, now known simply as “BarCamp Toronto”. While some of these ideas have been floating around for a while, Tom helpfully summarizes them all in one place for us. I will replicate the list and reconfigure it slightly here:

  1. BarCamp as Talent Well: “Sergey, meet Larry”; “Idea, meet Talent”
  2. Social Microfinance: sub-VC/Angel seed finance; projects identified and validated by the community
  3. DemoCamp Workshop: going deep with critique by self-organized expert panels
  4. X-Prize: awarded for solving a technical problem, or a social/business problem utilizing technology, in a way that creates a public good
  5. Design SlamCamp: a challenge to solve a real-world design problem utilizing a broad set of skills that will find real-world use
  6. Entrepreneurial Accountability: single-minded “garage” entrepreneurs can do amazing things; they can also waste a lot of time and resources on a bad idea
  7. Junior Campers: get ’em young, train ’em and then hire ’em (Bryce would be a great Junior Camp Director)
  8. Do Nothing: don’t mess with success, and let the rest of the world solve these problems

Demotoronto2006-1
Sign up to attend DemoCamp5 tomorrow (Tuesday, April 25th) to find out what this is all about. If you have a particular interest in the future of the community, come by early or stick around for drinks and join the conversation. Or just leave your comments.

What I find fascinating is how the norms and methods of open-source software development are migrating from the world of code into meatspace and the traditional technology business. Peer-review, open participation and value exchanges for work that go beyond fee/service or employer/employee are characteristics of open-source software projects, and also of BarCamp. Classical economists have difficulty explaining free/open software. They will have similar difficulty explaining free/open community. How do you solve the free rider problem? Why do people invest their social capital? How do individuals get a return on that investment?

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4 thoughts on “8 Ideas on the Future of BarCamp Toronto”

  1. Helloooooooooooooooo, helloooooooooooooooo.

    Is that an echo?

    Great suggestions. I love the idea of junior campers. There were a few junior campers at BarCampOttawa. Their excitement was infectious and it would be great to see if there was such a push in Toronto. I met Bryan Watson who works with Young Inventors International maybe there is a co-hosted event we could do.

    I love the X-Prize, something similar to the LaunchPad competition at Waterloo. And DemoCamp Survivor Island, and someone please vote me off ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I think I can see some light entering the cave over here….is there a whole other world outside? .

    I guess I should get started developing the LaunchPad/XPrize idea soon. I’ll be looking for volunteers to help.

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