BarCampMontréal 2

I stayed offline almost completely today so of course coming back there are already a few good overviews of BarCampMontréal 2. Good thing though, saves me some time writing a wrapup. (Si ça vous tente pas de lire toute la patente, allez au moins jetter un coup d’oeil aux derniers paragraphes)

Saturday

First go read Evan’s excellent overview. I agree with him, except for the following notes and a few things to add.

Hugh’s talk was indeed excellent but it’s also interesting to see his progression. He’s always been good at getting his point across but he’s even better now, and his set of slides show how much a presentation can be enhanced with simple well thought out slides.

Martine’s talk and following discussion was well received and Simon and Fred were thinking on their feet and seeing the importance of what was being said adjusted the time alloted. I might post something soon about my thoughts on what was said.

Participation

The two issues I have can probably be solved together. The first thing is something the happened at the first BarCamp too, people are encouraged to prepare 15 minutes and that this will be followed by questions / a discussion, time slots planned at 30-45 minutes (can’t find it, maybe I saw that on the main site but the rest of the argument remains). In the last few days before the conference people add their names and we end up with “too many” (nice problem) proposed presentations. The schedule then switches to “15 minutes including discussion”. Way too short. In some cases we didn’t get to ask any questions at all.

Not only does 15 minute take away the possibility of a good conversation afterwards in and of itself but it also precludes what I think is an important part of the “everyone participates” aspect. Which brings us to my second issue, I think too much emphasis is put on presenting. A number of people in attendance this time didn’t come to the first because it seemed like you had to present to get in.

My perception of BarCamp is that the aim is interaction in groups so someone presents and people respond, discuss, interact. “When you come, be prepared to share with barcampers.” Sharing doesn’t imply presenting, it implies participating. It might seem like too many people aren’t participating because one of the aspects of participation is taken away.

I find it interesting that there is both talk about wetter it should be more targeted subject wise and that too many people don’t participate. I’m not sure there are that many new techies we can get to speak, if we want more of the people in attendance to talk, we’ll have to accept the same diversity of talks that we have been.

Right now we have only one track which limits where we can go with numbers. We already had too many presenters to permit real conversations after their talks, if we push for more people and a higher percentage of speakers, the problem will be even worse. There were a couple of 5 minutes ideas, some to promote “dipping a toe” by doing a quick talk which is a great idea and Powerpoint Karaoke for… not sure. Fun but to my mind the time could have been better spent.

I think if we split the floor to two tracks we can accept more speakers and perhaps have a “tech and code” track and an “around tech and personal interest” track. I’d also make it 30 minutes for every talk, with a whiteboarded schedule. Start times are fixed, if some talks don’t generate a discussion, you don’t present the next, the time left is a chance to stretch and meet people, or someone can get up for a 5 minute subject or slide over to the other track. That way you can look at the schedule, choose a presentation and not have to worry you’re missing two because one went short.

With more talks the groups are smaller so perhaps more people pipe up with questions. If more people come knowing half the time slot is interaction, they might feel more like it’s a requirement to dive in with questions. I wouldn’t put more emphasis on actually speaking, keep the current tone or even lessen it. If we fine there are too many people just hanging around, we can adjust and maybe prod people who’ve attended once or twice without speaking, give them some pointers on presenting. I don’t think it’s a problem so far, maybe getting there but not a problem. More tracks, more time slots, more speakers, more discussions, more participating. Done.

I know it implies more work organization wise and I’ll put in time at the next event to help with what I’m suggesting. Although…

Oh Canada

Excellent news, Fred and Simon announced that our next BarCamp will actually be BarCampCanada, w00t! TorCamp, BarCampOttawa and BarCampMontréal will come together here. Should make for some good times and great content. Which means there should also be plenty of experienced organizers, maybe I won’t be needed to pitch in for the tracks ;). So far BarCampVancouver isn’t listed for it but we should invite them too of course (I know it’s far to come “only” for a BarCamp though) et évidemment c’est l’occasion parfaite pour les gens de Québec de venir parler et participer eux aussi. (Challenge à cfd, le Fried Québécois)

En français

C’est probablement un peu curieux venant de la par d’un gars qui écrit son blogue en anglais, pas pareil comme situation selon moi mais je sait que certains vont remarquer. En tout cas, j’aimerais fortement recommander aux francophones de faire leurs présentations en français. Présentement une large majorité des présentations sont en anglais malgré que la foule soit (j’estime) au moins 50% franco. Je doute qu’il y a ai beaucoup d’unilingues anglophones dans la salle de toute façon donc pourquoi switcher?

Hugh, anglophone, a fait un effort pour présenter 50 – 50% mais on a eu 3-4-5 francos qui ont présenté en anglais. Un peu curieux quand même. Au pire, utilisez la “méthode Tanguay”, faites vos slides en anglais et parlez français. (c’est Sylvain qui a nommé ça comme ça, pas moi :-D)

[Update] Un peu moin valide comme recommandation pour le prochain, puisque ce sera certainement plus anglos (ce qui n’empêche rien non plus).

Yulblog encourage le camping

Fred a remercié les commanditaires et demande qu’on en trouve d’autres. J’ai considéré (et ça pourrait toujours arriver) commanditer moi-même avec Taste of Blue mais quand même, les commandites sont $500, c’est peut-être un peu abusif pour une compagnie d’une personne.

En me promenant cet après-midi j’ai eu un flash, Yulblog devrait commanditer. Une communauté qui commandite un événement communautaire, m’semble que c’est le fun. Comme c’est une conférence nationale, ce serait en plus une bonne occasion de montrer cette belle tradition de bloggeurs locaux qui date de 8 ans maintenant.

D’ici à Mercredi je vais faire une petite tournée des sites ou faire des campagnes de financement et en ouvrir une pour ramasser notre argent. En attendant j’aimerais bien quand même avoir votre opinion, avoir une idée si ça va fonctionner. Personellement je vais mettre un p’tit rouge dans le pot.

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