You say you want a revolution

Is BarCamp changing the world? Interest in BarCamp, TorCamp, DemoCamp as a community in Toronto has been growing amongst policy makers, business makers, and thought leaders.

This morning Mark Kuznicki and I met with Allen Gelberg, Director of the Collaboration Centre at MaRS. Allen has offered to sponsor future DemoCamps. The MaRS sponsorship would be for space and facilities for 10 events throughout the year. Allen and MaRS donated the space for DemoCamp4 and they were impressed by the openness, the energy and the people that attended (see I told you it was about the attendees ;-). This sponsorship would include the facility rental for the MaRS Auditorium which is roughly $2,500/night, that’s a $25,000 donation of in-kind services (Kristin might argue my not working would count as an equivalent or larger donation). There are a few conditions of the donation of space, including:

  1. Guarrantee that the space is used by BarCamp/DemoCamp for the purpose outlined (an open space for people to share, learn and get excited about technology and what is going on online)
  2. We may be bumped by a paying customer
  3. We use preferred MaRS services including catering

BarCamp is inline with the MaRS mission of “accelerating the commercialization of new ideas and new technologies by fostering the coming together of capital, science and business.” Part of the discussion is that not all of the topics at BarCamp are commercialize-able and there is no reason that they should be, BarCamp is a place for people to share, learn and get excited about technology and what is going on online.

Finding space for these events is the biggest challenge. We have grown consistently since TorCamp

Event Date Number of Attendees Location
BarCampToronto November 2005 66 Attendees listed on the wiki – approximately 45 actual attendees Teehan+Lax
DemoCamp1 December 2005 26 Attendees full house Bubbleshare
DemoCamp2 January 2006 64 Attendees full house Radiant Core
DemoCamp3 February 2006 96 Attendees full house Tucows
DemoCamp4 March 2006 151 Attendees full house MaRS
DemoCamp5 April 2006 ?? Unknown UofT
BarCampTdot May 2006 ?? to be determined Liberty Village Building

Finding space for BarCampTdot has been one of the biggest challenges. The next DemoCamp, DemoCamp5, is being hosted by Greg Wilson at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. There will be space constraints at the Bahen Centre, we’ll be able to spill out into the hallway, but that means less folks will be able to see the demonstrations they’ve come out to see.

When this event was smaller, it was easier to find space. We’ve reached that joyous tipping point for events/conferences of 150 people. It’s difficult to do these events in someone’s conference room. There’s been suggestions of finding a bar or restaurant to host the event. This is great for socializing and mingling, it will make presenting and the demos much more difficult. I’ve put together a list of Toronto conference facilities that includes everything from The Drake to the Air Canada Centre. Joey has offered to host an event on rooftop patio at Tucows which would be fantastic.

I think this is a conversation that the community should have about a semi-permanent home for DemoCamp. What do you think of MaRS as a home for DemoCamp?

45 thoughts on “You say you want a revolution”

  1. <p>This is an exciting development that validates the 'unconference' structure as an important part of building a vibrant technology innovation pipeline. BarCamp/DemoCamp provide a framework for work as play. These events act as a marketplace/bazaar for talent and ideas, our community's town square. What do others think?</p>

  2. <p>My initial feel is that as long as it doesn't 'corporatize' the event, and doesn't constrain the real purposes behind Tor/Bar/DemoCamp it could be a great association.</p>

  3. <p>A great idea. However, is MaRS attaching any restrictive conditions regarding other types of sponsorship? Sure, BarCamp is self-organizing and noncorporate, etc. etc., but we should make sure not to rule out the possibility of receiving other types of sponsorship in the future, be it beer, technology, t-shirts, stuff.</p>

  4. <p>I have only been to the last two DemoCamps, so I don't have much to compare with, but I thought that the space at MaRS was simply perfect. It is located at a very convenient area to start with, it's easy to find, projection equipment and all those extras are there for us to use, and the space is big enough for at least 150 people (it would probably be possible to cram 250 in there, and a lot more if we can get rid of those tables)… What else could we ask for? I say go for it.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>By the way, I have been very busy these last couple of months (graduating, finding a job, etc.), so all I could do was to attend. But from now on if there is anything I can do to help, and I mean anything, do let me know, I would be happy to contribute.</p>

  5. <p>Congrats on the offer/opportunity.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>It would be neat to have a regular spot to do the conference. having now been to the MaRS site for iSummit (sorry i missed the last democamp. in fact, I'm at SFO right now [thankfully, on my way back]. =)</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>So anyways, one great idea that someone came up with was something along the lines of a setup where every presenter gets to present 4-6 times, and the groups rotate between the presentations. allowing for small groups to interact and rotate between the presenters, while accomdating for good group interactions. I know this is a bit more complex than your standarded single shared experience setup, but it IMO allows for a more valueable feedback for the presenter, and more value for the attendee as they have more of a chance to speak with the creator.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>The flip side of course is that you loose out on the single shared experience element. which of course has its advantages (included ease of setup).</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>but such a rotational setup requires a crap load more space as well, and then theres the issue of display. can we get more than a couple of projectors? </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>anyways.. back to the topic if MARS, I think its great that we'll get a regular spot, but I wonder what point #3 means-do we have to pay for any sort of AV equipment?</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>i like the idea of having a regular spot, esp. if we're talking about a conference area that's well setup and can scale to a larger audeince than 150 in the case of a much larger turn out.</p>

  6. <p>Congrats to David and each barcamp'r. MaRS is a great space, a nice interface, and for me only 10 minutes away at a quick pace. A quick ride to for most. I will miss our successive visits to innovative companies but the speed geek idea Albert mentions could bring back the smaller dynamics. The success of TorCamp &amp; DemoCamp has surprised everyone in its demand to be. This baby grew fast.</p>

  7. <p>I think MaRs as a home for DemoCamp would be great. With the open atmosphere, the large conference rooms, and the general, welcoming nature of the building, what's not to love?</p>

  8. <p>Sponsorship is necessary. Jay had a great idea of making all sponsorships and the sponsorship agreements available pubically on the we, this would include the MaRS sponsorship. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>One of the goals of the community is to not exclude anyone or group, and that includes exclusion through sponsorship.</p>

  9. <p>Congrats to all! Now we just have to outgrow the MaRS space and we'll have become a total pain in the planning ass :)</p>

  10. <p>I unfortunately missed the last DemoCamp, so haven't seen the MaRS facility. Congrats on the offer though, sounds like a good one to get. I second a few other folks though in saying that I hope we can keep some of that DIY feeling under the inevitable growth spurt. Albert, I like your round robin idea!</p>

  11. <p>Congrats David et al.!</p><br />
    <br />
    <p><strong><em>Hosting DemoCamp at MaRS is a natural fit.</em></strong> Malgosia and I have had the pleasure of attending a few meetings in the facility (which is stunning) and to talk to a few of the helpful people there. (Take any chance you have to meet Donna Shukaris or Peter Evans.)<br /><strong>MaRS has my vote.</strong></p>

  12. <p>I'm trying to figure out how this could even be a debate? What is the real downside?</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I think it sounds like a fantastic idea. MaRS is a fantastic space and an environment than seems appropriately suited to the 'camp' thing. It lends itself perfectly to the 'stage show' style but can easily imagine it working for the 'science fair' style as well. Although it will likely take some additional prep work on the presenters side (my projector is always available).</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I'm usually pretty good at playing devil's advocate, but I really don't see the bad side.</p>

  13. <p>Fantastic news, David. I think that TorCamp's example will help to springboard Toronto (and MaRS) as a premier tech and entrepreneur conference destination, which will in turn attract more of the grassroots to TorCamp. Great momentum for everyone involved.</p>

  14. This is an exciting development that validates the 'unconference' structure as an important part of building a vibrant technology innovation pipeline. BarCamp/DemoCamp provide a framework for work as play. These events act as a marketplace/bazaar for talent and ideas, our community's town square. What do others think?

  15. My initial feel is that as long as it doesn't 'corporatize' the event, and doesn't constrain the real purposes behind Tor/Bar/DemoCamp it could be a great association.

  16. I have only been to the last two DemoCamps, so I don't have much to compare with, but I thought that the space at MaRS was simply perfect. It is located at a very convenient area to start with, it's easy to find, projection equipment and all those extras are there for us to use, and the space is big enough for at least 150 people (it would probably be possible to cram 250 in there, and a lot more if we can get rid of those tables)… What else could we ask for? I say go for it.

    By the way, I have been very busy these last couple of months (graduating, finding a job, etc.), so all I could do was to attend. But from now on if there is anything I can do to help, and I mean anything, do let me know, I would be happy to contribute.

  17. A great idea. However, is MaRS attaching any restrictive conditions regarding other types of sponsorship? Sure, BarCamp is self-organizing and noncorporate, etc. etc., but we should make sure not to rule out the possibility of receiving other types of sponsorship in the future, be it beer, technology, t-shirts, stuff.

  18. Congrats on the offer/opportunity.

    It would be neat to have a regular spot to do the conference. having now been to the MaRS site for iSummit (sorry i missed the last democamp. in fact, I'm at SFO right now [thankfully, on my way back]. =)

    So anyways, one great idea that someone came up with was something along the lines of a setup where every presenter gets to present 4-6 times, and the groups rotate between the presentations. allowing for small groups to interact and rotate between the presenters, while accomdating for good group interactions. I know this is a bit more complex than your standarded single shared experience setup, but it IMO allows for a more valueable feedback for the presenter, and more value for the attendee as they have more of a chance to speak with the creator.

    The flip side of course is that you loose out on the single shared experience element. which of course has its advantages (included ease of setup).

    but such a rotational setup requires a crap load more space as well, and then theres the issue of display. can we get more than a couple of projectors?

    anyways.. back to the topic if MARS, I think its great that we'll get a regular spot, but I wonder what point #3 means-do we have to pay for any sort of AV equipment?

    i like the idea of having a regular spot, esp. if we're talking about a conference area that's well setup and can scale to a larger audeince than 150 in the case of a much larger turn out.

  19. Congrats to David and each barcamp'r. MaRS is a great space, a nice interface, and for me only 10 minutes away at a quick pace. A quick ride to for most. I will miss our successive visits to innovative companies but the speed geek idea Albert mentions could bring back the smaller dynamics. The success of TorCamp & DemoCamp has surprised everyone in its demand to be. This baby grew fast.

  20. I think MaRs as a home for DemoCamp would be great. With the open atmosphere, the large conference rooms, and the general, welcoming nature of the building, what's not to love?

  21. Sponsorship is necessary. Jay had a great idea of making all sponsorships and the sponsorship agreements available pubically on the we, this would include the MaRS sponsorship.

    One of the goals of the community is to not exclude anyone or group, and that includes exclusion through sponsorship.

  22. I unfortunately missed the last DemoCamp, so haven't seen the MaRS facility. Congrats on the offer though, sounds like a good one to get. I second a few other folks though in saying that I hope we can keep some of that DIY feeling under the inevitable growth spurt. Albert, I like your round robin idea!

  23. Congrats David et al.!

    Hosting DemoCamp at MaRS is a natural fit. Malgosia and I have had the pleasure of attending a few meetings in the facility (which is stunning) and to talk to a few of the helpful people there. (Take any chance you have to meet Donna Shukaris or Peter Evans.)
    MaRS has my vote.

  24. I'm trying to figure out how this could even be a debate? What is the real downside?

    I think it sounds like a fantastic idea. MaRS is a fantastic space and an environment than seems appropriately suited to the 'camp' thing. It lends itself perfectly to the 'stage show' style but can easily imagine it working for the 'science fair' style as well. Although it will likely take some additional prep work on the presenters side (my projector is always available).

    I'm usually pretty good at playing devil's advocate, but I really don't see the bad side.

  25. Fantastic news, David. I think that TorCamp's example will help to springboard Toronto (and MaRS) as a premier tech and entrepreneur conference destination, which will in turn attract more of the grassroots to TorCamp. Great momentum for everyone involved.

  26. <p>Great idea! I found the MaRS building to be very comfortable and inviting during the last democamp. The environment there really gets you in the mood to innovate.</p>

  27. Great idea! I found the MaRS building to be very comfortable and inviting during the last democamp. The environment there really gets you in the mood to innovate.

  28. <p>David, I know you have done a lot of work finding space for DemoCamp.if it makes your life easier for this show to have a home, I for one am all for it. And really, what's not to like about this offer? </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I'd like to compliment Ilse Treurnicht, Allen Gelberg , Veronica Litinski, and Peter Evans and everyone else at MarsDD for hitting the nail on the head. To my mind this is a great way to support innovation here in Toronto & building community is priceless. I'm really pleased they recognized the opportunity, and John, you are right. The folks at Mars are a wonderful resource for entrepreneurs and innovators. If you have a chance and you are trying to build something, get in and pay them a visit.</p>

  29. <p>I am all for finding a permanent home for DemoCamp because the event is growing and we should ensure that it does not self-destruct because of facility constraints. I feel DemoCamp is so important because it has become the 'watering hole' event where our entire community gathers, a diverse community that we have all built together. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>It is the diversity that I value so I would like to see us continue to come up with new events, ways to expand and challenge the notion of what a web development and software community is. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>A stable DemoCamp allows for the opportunity to try other things, which is very exciting.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I will still bring the buzzing timer out as long as we need it.</p>

  30. David, I know you have done a lot of work finding space for DemoCamp.if it makes your life easier for this show to have a home, I for one am all for it. And really, what's not to like about this offer?

    I’d like to compliment Ilse Treurnicht, Allen Gelberg , Veronica Litinski, and Peter Evans and everyone else at MarsDD for hitting the nail on the head. To my mind this is a great way to support innovation here in Toronto & building community is priceless. I'm really pleased they recognized the opportunity, and John, you are right. The folks at Mars are a wonderful resource for entrepreneurs and innovators. If you have a chance and you are trying to build something, get in and pay them a visit.

  31. I am all for finding a permanent home for DemoCamp because the event is growing and we should ensure that it does not self-destruct because of facility constraints. I feel DemoCamp is so important because it has become the 'watering hole' event where our entire community gathers, a diverse community that we have all built together.

    It is the diversity that I value so I would like to see us continue to come up with new events, ways to expand and challenge the notion of what a web development and software community is.

    A stable DemoCamp allows for the opportunity to try other things, which is very exciting.

    I will still bring the buzzing timer out as long as we need it.

  32. <p>It's huge enough, in an inspiring way. It's on the TTC. The screen is IMAX certifiable. And MaRS is about fostering innovation. I see MaRS as a godsend and that's not just because I live right around the corner.</p>

  33. <p>MaRS was indeed perfect for DemoCamp. Finding space for this type of event as it grows out is generally the thing that kills it & particularly as many venues want organizers to have liability insurance.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>This is a far bigger deal than I think most people think so you absolutely should take it.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Of course the problem with 'unorganizations' is that there is no 'you' to say yes to something. :)</p>

  34. It's huge enough, in an inspiring way. It's on the TTC. The screen is IMAX certifiable. And MaRS is about fostering innovation. I see MaRS as a godsend and that's not just because I live right around the corner.

  35. MaRS was indeed perfect for DemoCamp. Finding space for this type of event as it grows out is generally the thing that kills it & particularly as many venues want organizers to have liability insurance.

    This is a far bigger deal than I think most people think so you absolutely should take it.

    Of course the problem with 'unorganizations' is that there is no 'you' to say yes to something. 🙂

  36. <p>Mon dieu David, that's fantastic. MaRS = innovation hot bed! I say perfect. Let's now focus on next steps. Brilliant.</p>

  37. <p>David,</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>You rock.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Fantastic. Congrats.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Allen has been great with us at mesh. A consummate pro and a great host. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Well done.</p>

  38. <p>I love it.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>And I'm with Bryce: A stable DemoCamp allows for the opportunity to try other things. more energy to spend creating intimate, focused collaborative events like the ValueVsCost discussion.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Hurray!!</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>(Oh, and Carsten is right on about the beer :-)</p>

  39. I love it.

    And I'm with Bryce: A stable DemoCamp allows for the opportunity to try other things. more energy to spend creating intimate, focused collaborative events like the ValueVsCost discussion.

    Hurray!!

    (Oh, and Carsten is right on about the beer 🙂

Comments are closed.