Barcamp Vancouver – what did we achieve?

(OK, a bit of sensationalism here, but…)

Last weekend’s Vancouver Barcamp was my second and I enjoyed it even more than the previous year’s event. I know I’m not alone – all the comments I’ve seen have been positive. But what has it achieved? I’m intrigued to find out about things that people learnt during Barcamp which are going to make measurable differences to, for example, their lives, their products or their working environments.

I ask this partly because I’m a little skeptical. Maybe I’m attending the wrong sessions so I’m wondering what it is that I missed. The experience that I personally get from Barcamp is totally positive but it’s about soft things:

  • meeting face-to-face with people I’ve only previously communicated with using 140 characters or less. Monica Hamburg pretty much fell into this category
  • reconnecting with people I haven’t seen for a while – Tyler Ingram for example
  • chance meetings with interesting people. For example two of the many fascinating strangers I bumped into over the weekend turned out to be Zak Greant and Steve Tannock
  • comparing war stories with other developers. The “freelance is not free” and “designers vs coders” sessions were great examples of this. It’s nice to know we’re all in the same boat, nobody has a perfect solution. Did we solve anything? Nope. Did we feel better about it afterwards? I think so
  • listening to how other people use technology. The “non-profits and technology” session was very interesting in that regard

So Barcamp was a great day and I can guarantee that I’ll be back again next year. But it’s hard to put a finger on any dramatic pieces of information that will change my life this week.

Do you disagree? Have you rushed into the office today armed with a new approach for something? Which session did you get the most out of? Who did you meet who changed your world? I’m eager to hear about it. Of course you might say “Barcamp is what you make it” and I agree. So what did YOU make it?

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