words and pictures by Brian Solis

The second anniversary of Barcamp was nothing short of extraordinary. Dubbed BarCampBlock (aka Barcamp Block), the adhoc conference redefined unconferences, and with over 950 people registered and spanning several offices over a couple of blocks, it was the first true example of block party 2.0.

The event hub was located at the SocialText offices in Palo Alto and also expanded to the entire block to include the offices and boardrooms of neighboring tech startups including Edgeio, Ning and Intalio.

BarCampBlock is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. BarCampBlock was organized by two of the original BarCamp founders as well as two BarCamp leaders, Chris Messina, Ross Mayfield, Liz Henry, Tantek Çelik and Tara Hunt.

Yes, BarCampBlock summoned the allstars and the up-and-coming tech players alike, and, it was most certainly one for the books.

This, people, is why Silicon Valley culture is unique. While it’s format and thinking is replicated all over the world, this is truly the epicenter that is driving Web 2.0 and the global social economy – but don’t call it bubble 2.0. There are too many important and iconic factors contributing to the new tech landscape to belittle the movement with such a trite and meaningless label.

Back to the day’s events…

Between 9 and 10 a.m., the registration desk was flooded with developers, CEOs, founders, bloggers, press, entrepreneurs, photographers, and other geeks, all with the common purpose of sharing with and learning from each other.

Shortly thereafter, we were summoned to a courtyard outside of the SocialText HQ, where the hosts greeted us, explained the rules, and also walked us through the history behind the more than 200 Barcamps that have been held worldwide. And to our surprise, the sign up list from the first Barcamp was rolled out for all to *photograph*, acquiesce, and appreciate.

After the introductions, the crowd swarmed the conference board to add their name and discussion to the schedule as if post-it notes were going extinct. It was reminiscent of college on the day that either classes open for registration or test scores were posted. Within minutes, the day’s schedule was defined and the crowd planned for the remainder of the afternoon. But like any good conference that attracts smart people, some of the best conversations were held outside of the sessions, and that was definitely the case here. You couldn’t lose, no matter where you were.

Overall, BarcampBlock was a place to meet important people, which offer the potential to evolve into the kind of relationships that will in no doubt, inspire and influence your future and your role in the emerging social economy.

Ben Metcalfe and Scott Beale of Laughing Squid

Daya Bayan of Webguild and Huy Zing

Andrew Kippen

Leah Culver of Pownce

Dave McClure

Bala Musrif of EventBee

Daniela Barbosa of Dow Jones and Karim Tahawi of My-Currency

Chris Messina

Andrew Baron of RocketBoom

Chris Heuer

Jeremiah Owyang

Gabe Rivera of Techmeme and the guys from box

Tara Hunt

Vladimir (Vlad) Miloushev of 3tera

Jyri Engestrom of Jaiku

Pierre-R. Wolff of Loyalty Lab

Gabe Rivera and Jeffrey Walker of Atlassian

Ash Damle of MEDgle

Noah Kagan

For more pictures from BarcampBlock, visit my album on flickr.

Connect on Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce or Facebook.

About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Visit Brian's page at http://www.briansolis.com


    no imagePeter (Who am I?)18 August 2007 5:14 pm

    wonder what tonight will be like…

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    no imageRobert Scoble (Who am I?)18 August 2007 11:59 pm

    Brian, check out this video I shot tonight of Tantek and Ross, two of the people involved deeply in coming up with BarCamp movement. http://scobleizer.com/2007/08/19/barcamping/

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    no imagefrancine hardaway (Who am I?)19 August 2007 7:20 am

    These are awesome. just makes me understand what a great photographer you are (and, by extension, how bad I am myself). Same event, and look how great your photos are!!!!

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  1. [...] Brian Solis wrote an excellent post about BarCampBlock at bub.blicio.us [...]

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    no imageAndrew Kippen (Who am I?)20 August 2007 10:23 am

    Good write-up of a very interesting day. I think the more UnConferences that people attend the more powerful they become. I noticed in the one session I attended (I was busy interacting outside of the sessions for most of the time) people still didn’t quite have the gumption to step up and make the talk what they wanted.

    The more comfortable people become with knowing what they want and vocalizing it, I think the more powerful these types of events become. With that said our session immediately passed around a sign-up sheet for people to put down their name/email so that we could connect afterwards as well. So far 8 of the 20-25 people who were invited to the Crowdvine group have signed up so I’m guessing that most were really spectators, which is one reason why the discussion was scattered. I’m still wandering the Crowdvine site, but it’s not very clear how I can communicate with everyone.

    In any case it was good seeing you, and about that thing we discussed – I’m on board. Let’s lead this thing.

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    no imageSteven Kempton (Who am I?)20 August 2007 2:39 pm

    Looks like it was a great day, your photos do make the difference though :-)

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    no imageJustine (Who am I?)21 August 2007 8:09 am

    These are great photos, as always :)

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