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 ;).


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