_Captain’s Log, StarDate 2007.11.03-01.23_
I left the hotel in the freezing morning to attend BarCampMontreal3, which was held at the Society for Arts and Technology today. As expected, it was quite an experience. As opposed to BarCampBangalore where the primary focus is on hands-on technology, the content here was generally clustered around the conceptual level – business ideas, the impact of technology on society and culture, predictions and thoughts about the future, and so on. An almost-full list of the talks can be found here. Overall, it was an excellent example of a self-organizing event.
|←Self-organizing Timetable, made up of printouts and sticky tape. The first column contains time slots, spaced an hour apart|
|←The vending machines, labelled H20, DECAF and TURBO!|
Although I didn’t give a talk, I did have the useless distinction of asking the first question, in the first talk by Hugh McGuire of datalibre.ca, titled “How Data Will Save the World”. Besides his topic and ideas, his “slideshow” was also very interesting, with plain white slides each containing a word or a sentence in black print. HMG evoked some serious respect when he revealed that he’s been exchanging e-mails with RMS.
An interesting filler was Simon Law’s “PowerPoint karaoke”, where the volunteer presenter found him/herself delivering a presentation randomly downloaded from the Internet.
I must have spent the maximum time with Vinay Menon and Anthony Carbone of MadWhips.com, whose modified and exotic car spotting website had gone live the day before. Also with us for most part of the conversation was Kareem Sultan of RaceDV.com, who specialize in recording race videos as memoirs. We also talked with Pete of PetesView.net.
One of my colleagues from work gave a presentation but left early because he had to catch a flight back to Bangalore the same day. I was walking around in my free BCM3 T-shirt trying to talk to as many people as I could 🙂
During lunch, I caught up with HMG, hoping he might give me some insights into how he deals with information overload. No such thing. The only insight I got from him was a long sigh…
After lunch, I caught a part of Sylvian Carle’s presentation about his startup experience. Sylvain has an interesting blog titled Shared Technology Intelligence. Scott Anan, CEO of Mercury Grove, a virtual team collaboration software, had problems setting up his presentation and lost the better part of his slot. Which as it turned out, wasn’t so bad, because he ended up drawing a lot of attention in the back with more ‘personal” demos on his laptop. We talked quite a bit about the problems with distributed team collaboration, and later Kareem also joined in.
Another notable presentation was from Pierre Phaneuf, about the optimization of, believe it or not, HTTP usage. It was quite an eye opener. On the topic of offbeat presentations, Laurent Duperval had given another interesting one in the morning called “How to make sure people hate your presentation”. It was a funny presentation that he turned completely around in the end to highlight the importance of public speaking.
Over a beer in the evening, I ran into David Mirza, who was a long time BUGTRAQ moderator, and had started and sold SecurityFocus.com to Symantec. I ended up having “chai” and dinner with him and visiting some of his friends, one of whom turned out to be a drummer-in-learning like me, and David was actually surprised at how two people who had just met could act like they’ve known each other for years!
There were a lot of experiences packed into a single day, but there was still one left. On the way back, I missed the last bus and walked back to the hotel in the freezing night, listening to Pink Floyd on a freezing iPod. It was fantastic! At this rate, in a few years I won’t have much left to do in my life 🙂
Some more websites that I learnt about at BCM3 today:
- wikitravel.org – I didn’t know they had ties with lonelyplanet.com
- The kei.ki Project
- CrashAtMine.org and OpenID
Related to startups in Canada (partial list):
- NAO, the National Angel Organization
- Ottawa Band of Scoundrels
- The Montreal Angels
- StartupNorth.com – Canadian Startup Community
I also learnt about Communauto, a car-sharing organization.
(Phew! That took some time to write!)