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

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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