Every BarCamp is different and I hope we can learn each time from what went well and what didn’t. I’m going to kick off with a few of my thoughts about last weekend but I’m much more interested in hearing all of your thoughts.

So in no particular order:

  • The venue - still amazing and just ideal for an event like this
  • Rooms - two is not enough. Even the addition of the small third room was insufficient. Three decent sized spaces with a few break-out areas appears to be ideal
  • The 20 minute experiment was interesting. It was perfect in some cases but it looks like 30 minutes is the sweet spot for most talks.
  • I have no opinion on the 40 minutes for tutorials as I missed them all. Thoughts?
  • BarCamps need self-appointed timekeepers. The overruns were not disasterous but still annoying for some. People were far too polite about stopping the overruns.
  • The no-schedule approach of BarCamp worked well. It’s something that seems to scare a lot of people but I’m 100% in favour of it. An empty grid where anyone could grab any slot. We just needed to make the system more clear in advance. I still had people asking if there “was a slot available” right up to the morning of the event. Earlybirds always do well at BarCamp!
  • The session streams were setup badly (by me). Instead of long talks outside and short talks inside, it should have been non-tech talks outside and tech talks inside. We had several instances where both rooms had tech talks on at the same time which was less than ideal for many attendees
  • The mix of talks was fantastic. Still quite tech-heavy but lots of other too. The biz ones seemed to be particularly popular. Time for a BizCamp?
  • The mix of people was a real pleasure to see. From secondary school students to grandparents, I think we had it all.
  • A constant supply of tea/coffee/water is necessary. Why can’t pay-for conferences get this right? We were very lucky that Webworks could facilitate this. Thanks again to Kay.
  • How did people feel about the mics? The reason we got them was that at BarCamp Cork 1, we couldn’t hear speakers in the open area properly due to the amount of chatter. Were all the sessions ok from an audio perspective?
  • To make BarCamp more accessible for more people, a talk like Emma Persky’s “A Geek’s Guide to BarCamping” should be the opening one at every BarCamp. It just tells newbies what it is all about and sets the tone for the day. 
  • Pre and Post events make it an even more social occasion
  • The webapp was a very worthwhile experiment and there’ll be a separate follow-up post about how that went
  • There were no complaints about wifi. A conference first?
  • The lack of a large amount of video and pics from the day is a reflection of how busy everyone was doing face2face social networking. 

But more importantly, what did YOU think?