BarCamp Montréal, Ze First One

Busy busy, haven’t had time to write since saturday but there you are, we had the first Montréal BarCamp and, incredibly enough, it pretty much lived up to the hype. Well, it wasn’t hyped all that much but the whole concept of the “unconference” is something I’ve been reading about for a while and it was a lot of fun. Quite a number of good talks, interesting people I didn’t know and a bit of an energy boost for the “stuff creating” vibe. Keep an eye on the wiki, I’m sure people will be posting stuff like slides and notes. Here are a few short ones from me.

  • Freakjob is an interesting little app where you can post links to cool job and then others will “freak it”. It’s Digg clone but about good places to work. I thought the most interesting part of the presentation though was the creativity of Jonathan Karpfen in pursuing his current job and how that brought him to this project.
  • GAMMA is an innovative project for game creators (and creator wannabes) and they are holding a promising event at the SAT in a few days. They showed a game they are working on where the characters are influenced by the beats of the music playing at the event.
  • I was impressed by Pascal Charest’s talk explaining ISF’s HAL Project, pretty smooth and funny.
  • This is not a competition, it’s about sharing knowledge and discovering new stuff but Craig Silverman’s talk about open source reporting would be one of my top choices. It was very interesting (yeah, yeah, I use interesting too much, it’s late, though!), innovative and well presented. Too bad he didn’t have more than 15 minutes.
  • Bosko also had a lot of thinking to share, he’s working on some RESTy stuff, scrapbooks and tumblelogs, looking forward to live versions of those things. In the mean time some details can be had at Boris’ where Karl jumps in with his own vision
  • Peter McCurdy then detailed painless software schedules concepts, some good stuff in there, I’ll be keeping their “load factor” in mind.
  • Evan presented the history of travel guide books, leading to Wikitravel, funny/informative for a great project.
  • Hugh who was a bit nervous before hand was also funny and informative reviewing how open source concepts can be used for non software projects, using the super successful Librivox. I’m very impressed how he was able to relinquish control but the results speak for themselves. One of the good stories around here.
  • Sylvain has a lot of experience presenting and it showed, smooth delivery of a nice looking presentation and I have to agree with every one of his points about consulting for geeks.
  • Simon Law said web 2.0 is killing free software and his ideas about opening up applications led to a lively, if short, discussion. He was also the official photographer for the day and even managed a good one of me while I was presenting.
  • I was last but it should have been Austin who did an awesome job of fluidly (nice projecting of the voice too ;) ) delivering his Financing Advice for your Startup. Though act to follow.

    All in all, a very good day. A couple of things I’d like to see next time;

  • More women, plus de français and generally more diversity. The whole “too geeky” argument doesn’t hold up people when you don’t come. MJ could have presented, MC, Vero, the Martines, etc. (yes, I’m calling you out ;) )We’re not talking hundreds of people here, 4-5 more people would change the face of the thing.
  • I know some don’t like the concept of “tracs” but to my knowledge most Camps are held in many rooms with a first step in the morning, people proposing presentations / discussions and everyone indicating what they’re interested in attending. I’d like to see something closer to that next time. At the very least, one trac but with other rooms so discussions can spin off and go on longer. I know splitting people means you can’t see everything but I also think smaller groups would have talked more and come up with good ideas.

    Finally, a huge thanks to Fred ‘Silicon Island’ Ngo who not only got the ball rolling but took the lion’s share of the load in organising and even offered up his gorgeous dance class space, Cat’s Corner for the even. Props also to Sylvain for the all day job of MCing and to Austin who got us most of the sponsoring.

    [Update] In case anyone is interested, here’s my presentation on co-working spaces. As I mentioned in the comments, it’s only a couple of words per slide and I spoke “around” that so not all that much content but there are a bunch of links. Fyi, the slides are in english but I spoke in french, I thought it might help anglos to follow along but Evan said it made his head explode ;).


aj October 24, 2006

and? and? what did you present??? i’m all curious now.

cfd October 24, 2006

He’s always talking about everybody else… But yes! We want your presentation here! Now! :)

Martine October 24, 2006

I visited the wiki a few days before the event and saw that two spots were free. I seriously considered adding my name but then I reviewed the content of the presentations. A good amount seemed very technical, web developer style, which is great and appropriate, but I felt like it would be way over my head and I feared I’d be out of place. Also, the Barcamp principle seems to be about participation and I couldn’t figure out how I could contribute, aside from adding a woman to the female headcount. ;-)

Now that I read your account though, I kind of wish I had been there. And the subject of your presentation was of interest to me! À suivre!

Bosko October 24, 2006

Very nice summary, and it’s good to see that you’ve even included “spillover” post-barcamp discussions from blogs.

Minor correction: the discussion regarding the RESTy tumble stuff happened on Boris’ blog and the correct link is here


Patrick October 24, 2006

Thx for the correction Bosko.

Martine, that’s the thing about Barcamp, you can present pretty much anything. You could have spoken about tools for screenwriters, networking in the movie industry in the age of blogs, etc. Vero could have talked about videoblogging or even shown something, MJ about scheduling theories or women in gaming, etc. (or whatever, just my quick ideas)

It’s free and a place for experimentation too so if you bring your own experience in there it doesn’t not fit, it modifies the direction of the unconference.

Aj and cfd, I’ll upload my presentation later today but it’s only a few words per slide and me talking “around” it so not that much to read, especially since it’s a short version of what I would have liked to cover.

I think it went pretty well although it was so short that I winged it more than I probably should have and skipped over some details. I also missed my ending and finished a bit abrubtly. Not as much discussion as I would have liked either.

Fred Ngo October 24, 2006

Your idea of speaking in French with English slides was absolutely brilliant. One of the best ideas I saw that day. :)

Vero.b October 24, 2006

Je trouve tes slides très classes. Noir et blanc. À la fois simple et tellement «bold».

Merci pour les suggestions de présentation. Pour l’instant, j’ai encore tout à apprendre moi-même mais peut-être que je me joindrai à vous pour la prochaine rencontre.

Je suis curieuse, comme tu le sais. Et ton billet était très convaincant.

julien October 25, 2006

wow, you really make me want to have been there! argggg, next time!!!

Karl October 25, 2006

Si au moins j’avais une vision :O) Juste rappeler des trucs qui existent depuis le déluge.

En tout cas super résumé Patrick, merci. J’avais envie de venir mais trop proche de ParisWeb dans mon schedule. Trop d’avions tue l’envie du voyage ;)

Allez-vous le faire régulièrement, comme une fois tous les 3 mois ou 6 mois

Note de “l’éditeur”: J’ai ré-entré ce commentaire de Karl ce matin après l’avoir perdu au milieu d’une “attaque” de 100 quelques commentaires de spam.

Patrick October 25, 2006

Vero: Cool

Julien: Hope your T.O. thing was fun :-p

Karl: J’ai entendu des mentions d’un prochain dans 6 mois et la page pour BarCampMontreal2 est déjà créé.

Alexandre October 25, 2006

C’est vrai que tes slides sont cool. Très Keynotesque.
Tiens-nous au courant pour la deuxième édition. Certains d’entre nous risquent d’être assez intéressés pour participer mais trop occupés pour suivre le Wiki…

Hugh October 25, 2006

hey your presentation looked great – wish i had been there. one thing funny about working at the ponderosa with you and boris and the gang is that there seems to be less interaction for me, than when i used to work more at home and then meet people at laika for a coffee…interesting. it’s not just physical proximity that’s important, but fostering exchange.

Patrick October 25, 2006

Yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing. I think it stems from two things;

1. When we’re there it’s to work and there’s only 5 of us at most so we aren’t often 2-3 both there and available so it’s pretty calm.
2. It’s not that big a place so even if/when there’s someone there to talk, it’s hard not to bother the others.

(I know that you guys wouldn’t hassle others about noise, just an automatic reflex of not bugging others.)

Hugh October 26, 2006

that’s exactly it… it’s easy to send someone an im or email and say “coffee?” … they can say: yes, no or later. but when you’re all working it feels like its an interruption…

then again, we all im each other while at the ponderosa anyway, so maybe i’ll just modify my habits.

Ella October 30, 2006

I think I could have managed to follow the french/english thing, but trying to read that slideshow all by itself made my head explode. Wish I’d seen the presentation, it’s a great topic

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