Another BarCampMilwaukee has been successfully pulled off!
I repeatedly received positive comments such as "what a great event!" or "wow, people here are so helpful and friendly!" and "this was very well planned and managed" from attendees.
Those who have been involved in putting on a conference will know it's a different view from the inside. We certainly had our glitches, but I was always impressed with the team of organizers and random attendees stepping up to help.
It was very encouraging to see the group do it for themselves, giving of themselves and sharing what they had to make BarCampMilwaukee2 happen for everyone.
As an example, I was set to handle registration and t-shirt handout with several helpers. All was well until I found that the spreadsheet I was using was somehow un-searchable in NeoOffice, two co-organizers moved the file to another machine, while several others started taking names and shirt sizes on good 'ol paper and pencil. Several fresh registrants stepped up to help distribute shirts to other registrants.
Things like this happened repeatedly throughout the weekend, problems being identified and helpers stepping up to solve them. It was a great experience seeing that sort of ad-hoc willingness pop up again and again.
Sessions were varied and interesting, ranging from personal branding, portable apps, web and graphic design and analog tool capture, to hacking elevators, the Flickrverse, social networking history and more. In each of the sessions I attended, fascinating discussions got going, and kept right through to the end of each hour.
I went on the BarCamp Photowalk and had a great time shooting a few images and getting to know several campers better. Check out photos from the event on Flickr. We wandered Schlitz Park, and we then invited into the building of an attendee to snap images inside. We rode in a creaky freight elevator in a old warehouse building, to explore a room full of busted piano parts.
But I think I most enjoyed meeting new people. People like Marcus and Jen and Tracy. There were many more and everyone had a story, an interest, a passion. And those I met seemed to be having a great time, just like me.
Thank you to Pete and all of the organizers! I'm very proud to be counted as a small part of the BarCamp organization team, handling t-shirt design, production and printing as well as various other tasks. It was a true honor to be part of this group, watching it move from planning, to preparation to fruition.
Thanks go to our sponsors, who made this event possible. On a several occasions I had attendees ask who was paying for food or shirts — it was a great feeling to tell them that everything was covered by sponsors and individual donations. I'm very proud that the company I work for, MakaluMedia, was a sponsor of this event.
Attend or Organize a BarCamp!
If you learn of a BarCamp in your area — go! It's a blast and you won't regret it. If there isn't one in your area, start one! You'll find fellow BarCampers very helpful, and full if ideas and information.