I survived BarCampMilwaukee6… just barely. (Maybe that’s what the t-shirt should say.)
Somehow I did what I never did before, and that was: stay awake from the beginning to the end. And yes, as the old saying goes, I’m getting too old for this shit. Next year, someone point me to this post and tell me I should sleep a few hours.
OK, on to the recap… How did things go? They went great. In fact, I still can’t figure out if all that time I spent freaking out about things not getting done was necessary or not. I mean, there were a few hiccups, but much of BarCamp really is self-organizing, but only after the event starts. There is still a lot of prep work to be done in the weeks (months?) before BarCamp. Wrangling sponsors is one of the big ones, and I’d really, really, really like someone else to jump in next year. I have some ideas, and I would love to advise on it, but I need some help. That said, I’m really proud of the fact that we tend to have mostly smaller, community-owned organizations as sponsors. We don’t have large, faceless corporations throwing tons of money at us (should we?) but we’ve got people who come every year, and see the value, and have their company (often one-person shops) toss some money our way. It’s pretty damn grassroots if you ask me. And if you feel like sending more money our way, please, please just send it to Bucketworks. They’ve hosted us for 6 years, and really don’t get much out of it from a monetary standpoint. Help support what AccordionGuy called “the best venue ever for a BarCamp.”
As for the “self-organizing” part, once people are at BarCamp, and see what it is, and see what is needed, they step up and do what needs to be done. It’s that whole “doing things ahead of time” thing that is tough. How do we get more people involved in the planning? I don’t know… was Atrium really what prevented people from voicing their opinion? Do we need to return to a Google Group to get people to volunteer for things? (Of course, some folks hate that tool too… you can’t please everyone, right?)
Well this post has turned into a jumble. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to post about, but for me the highlights were the “3D Printing Village” in the Workshop. That’s where we stayed up all night printing crazy stuff. (Yes, there will be video.) Besides that, the Lightning Talks were fun, and I learned a lot about silicone mold making, met some new folks, got to see old friends, and generally had a good time.
Another great thing was all the makers who showed up, not just from Milwaukee Makerspace, but also from Pumping Station: One, and Twin Cities Maker. It was awesome to hear someone say it was well worth a 6 hour drive to attend, and that they’ll be back next year.
We also had a ton of new people. First time Campers! I thought this was great to see… not just because I want more people to come to BarCamp and get excited about it, but because I remember what it was like before I found a tech community in Milwaukee, and how great it is to find a place/group/event where you fit in, and feel like you’ve found your tribe. Welcome new people! We hope to see you next year. :)