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.
Daya Bayan of Webguild and Huy Zing
Leah Culver of Pownce
Bala Musrif of EventBee
Daniela Barbosa of Dow Jones and Karim Tahawi of My-Currency
Andrew Baron of RocketBoom
Pierre-R. Wolff of Loyalty Lab
For more pictures from BarcampBlock, visit my album on flickr.