After taking some time to absorb the experience and decompress, here are a few scattered thoughts on Barcamp Nashville.
There’s been a healthy discussion going on (like here and here) about how it wasn’t a “real barcamp”. While I tend to agree that it wasn’t necessarily an “unconference”, it was a pretty good conference. I benefited from most speakers and most of the conversations. There were times I wished the speaker had been given more than 20 minutes. (There were also times I wished they had been given only 10)
The entire day had the trappings of a Nashville entertainment event right down to the venue. Each city’s barcamp needs to have its own flavor. And there was an unmistakable Nash-Vegas flavor at this one.
As several have said, it was a good first step for Nashville. Sure, it wasn’t the freeform open source event that some had expected. But are most people ready for that? While you can argue the point of the wisdom of crowds philosophy that all of us are smarter than one of us — you have to remember the mob mentality of all of us are dumber than one of us. People are comfortable with the “powerpont-a-rama” delivery from a high stage and a spotlight. Since I make a decent buck by doing just that, I (and many others) liked the day.
I was a bit leery about being the first speaker since I was used to the normal one-to-many delivery and I wasn’t sure if the crowd was expecting the freeform style or not. But I’m glad the organizers had me kick it off. There was a good crowd and everyone was receptive. There’s been some good talk in the b-sphere about my presentation. I appreciate all the comments.
I do wish that I had been able to roam a bit more while speaking. Normally when I speak, I like to walk around and get down with the audience. The stage setup with the screen, corded mic, and R2 made it impossible to do so. I felt a bit tied to the podium. It’s one of the few times I’ve delivered an entire talk standing behind a lectern.
Another suggestion for the future — since everyone was twittering, that would have been the best way for people to ask questions/discuss at the end of each presentation instead of the awkward floating mic setup. The presenters could just glance at the questions at the end and answer them.
And two quick final observations —
–Even though there were lots of people there who are on the cutting edge much more than I am, I think I introduced many people to a new web app (Slideshare)!
–Reading through other’s posts on barcamp, I notice this alot — “I really enjoyed meeting Blogger X andBlogger Y for real and in-person instead of just having an online relationship.” It just goes to show that for all the progress and connectivity of “web 2.0” — people still want a personal connection.