Kind of a barcamp sundae with cloud flavored toppings. May 25, 2010. Free! More here.
Updated March 21: crossed out ‘conferences’ because I don’t do a good job of listing those.
Boulder, Colorado, has a great tech scene, that I’ve been a peripheral member of for a while now. I thought I’d share a few of the places I go to network. And by “network”, I mean learn about cool new technologies, get a feel for the state of the scene (are companies hiring? Firing? What technologies are in high demand?) and chat with interesting people. All of the events below focus on software, except where noted.
NB: I have not found work through any of these events. But if I needed work, these communities are the second place I’d look. (The first place would be my personal network.)
User groups: Boulder Java Users Group, Boulder Linux Users Group, Rocky Mountain Adobe Users Group, Denver/Boulder Drupal Users Group, Denver Java Users Group others updated 11/12 8:51: added Denver JUG
Meetups (of which BDNT, covered above, is one)
Except for Ignite, everything above is free or donation-based. The paid conferences around Colorado that I know about, I’ll cover in a future post.
What am I missing? I know the list is skewed towards Boulder–I haven’t really been to conferences more than an hours drive from Boulder.
Do you use these events as a chance to network? Catch up with friends? Learn about new technologies, processes and companies?
I helped Brian Timoney, of the Timoney Group present last night at the Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup. It was my second experience presenting at BDNT. (I presented in Jan of 2008 on GWT.) But it was my first time at BDNT Denver–down at the Tivoli.
Co-presenting is always different than presenting alone. I actually had a pretty small role in the presentation–I mostly just drove the demo (underwater navigation with Google Earth to visualize sonar coverage data–it’s very cool, but I don’t feel comfortable putting the demo login up–contact me if you want to see it). I worked with Brian on the presentation format. Brian has deep knowledge of GIS concepts (he recently ran a workshop at GIS In the Rockies), but he’s used to having more time to cover concepts, and 5 minutes just enforces a certain brevity.
We had a mentor–Josh Fraser of EventVue took some time to run through our presentation with us. It was really great to have a third party, especially one in tune with the BDNT, give us feedback. As I told Robert Reich last night, we went into the mentoring session with one presentation, and left with an entirely different one. If you’re thinking about presenting at BDNT, please get a mentor (and you might have to ping the organizers a few times to get one–we did).
If I ever present at BDNT again, I’ll follow the format we arrived at:
However, one of the difficulties in presenting for 5 minutes to a varied audience is that it is hard to know what knowledge to assume (about, say, GIS). I talked to some people after the presentation, and it seemed like we assumed our exposition of the problem was better than it actually was. I guess one way to address that would be to have a 30 sec intro spiel that you could deliver or not deliver based on a show of hands. Not sure if there are other ways to deal with this issue.
Finally, we were the only formal presentation last night. It sounds like BDNT Denver isn’t as supported by the community as BDNT Boulder, in terms of participation. I hope it doesn’t end–so, if you’re in Denver, consider attending this meetup–it’s a great place to network and get excited about tech. Here’s the calendar of meetups.
Instead of other presentations, we went unconference style, a la BarCamp. People broke into 5 groups and discussed a tech issue (personalization, structured data, real time web) in detail for 10-15 minutes. Then someone from each group presented 1-3 minutes. The twitter feedback seemed pretty favorable. I like BarCamp formats, and enjoyed the change. I found that everyone in my group had lots to say about personalization, including some pretty creepy personal storied about advertising on the net. I believe someone was going to write up the resulting presentations–will link to it when I find it.
[tags]bdnt is the new barcamp?, denver, the timoney group, underwater visualization[/tags]
One of my clients is helping out with this unconference. If you’re into GIS, it seems like it’d be worth going. I certainly had fun at the last unconference I went to. I am planning to attend; hope I see you there.
FRUGOS (Front Range Users of Geospatial Open Source) is holding its
first GeoSummit on Saturday, June 16th at Churchill Navigation–100
This will be a unique gathering of a variety of folks interested in
Place–geo-types, hackers, academics, artists, amateur enthusiasts,
etc. While there certainly will be representation from the GIS and open
source worlds, we encourage all who are fascinated about the
intersections of technology and engagement with the world around us to
Also, we’ll be structuring the day around the “un-conference” model (see
http://www.barcamp.org), so, for starters, you
No Passivity (unless you’re a little sleepy after lunch)
Bring your laptop (we’ll have wireless), and a project or enthusiasm
you’d like to talk about with the group, get feedback, and collaborate
on fresh solutions: the agenda of the day will be structured during
the morning registration/sign-up/socializing period.
1) RSVP by joining the Google Groups set up for this event–
2) Bring a laptop (and cellphone/GPS if your enthusiasms tilt that
way), your idea/project, and willingness to collaborate
3) Spread the word
9:30-10:30AM Registration, refreshment, socializing
12ish-2 Lunch (there’s a grill, beverages, and hiking trails)
This promises to be a great combination of creativity, intellectual
engagement, eating and drinking, and socializing.
I just went to BarCampBoulder, and had a blast. Basically, it’s a self organized conference. Free, no set schedule (there’s a white board with a tenative schedule) and anyone can give a talk about anything. Very cool. Here’s a random link fest covering topics I chose to make note of.
It was a fascinating day. There seemed to be a business track and a technical track, and there ended up being about 30ish folks there. Well worth it, if for no other reason than the intellectual ferment.