I spent nine hours yesterday at BarCamp Portland, the local spinoff of the national unconference founded in Silicon Valley as a response to Foo Camp (to the best of my knowledge). BarCamp is free, supported by sponsors and volunteers, and brings together mostly young emerging tech entrepreneurs who are breaking rules. Because Open Source is so big in Portland, many of the sessions dealt with that issue. I learned a lot.
I also met loads of interesting locals that I don’t normally run into as a matter of course. Ward Cunningham, inventor of the wiki; Marshall Kirkpatrick, former TechCrunch blogger and now a strategist at cool Splashcast; Raven Zachary, an Open Source analyst for the451.com; Justin Kistner who has a real web 2.0 job where he roams around evangelizing, inspiring, soaking up data to use in company strategy, and socializing. I got to sit down and touch the $100 Laptop of Nick Negroponte fame, think about changing currency models (creativity, reputation are new currencies) and drink free bubble tea.
A few things I learned:
My daughter’s generation will be seeking jobs that are only now starting to be defined. Many more have not yet been invented. So, throw out the old school curriculum.
Twitter is the not the waste of time I thought it was. There are various ways of putting it to good use, including getting news out faster than wires can manage.
The human brain is programmed to care for no more than 200 people (results vary). But will social media create an empathy curve that will expand people’s capacity to care?
Video is the be all and end all.
I was really proud that Portland could carry such a great event, attracting 250 engaged and engaging people, and sponsors such as Wieden+Kenndy and Portland State University. Attendees were rockin’ from 7pm Friday to Saturday at 11pm.