Raising the level of discussion

DemoCampToronto13 rocked the house last night. We had a jam-packed evening of 1 presentation and 11 demonstrations. This was a big change in format.

What worked

  • 5 minute format is a much better length of time
  • Amplification is necessary, thanks Joey
  • Strong opinions and discussion (I loved slagging Kevin from Adobe)

What didn’t

  • Switch over time was difficult
  • We’ve outgrown No Regrets
  • No backchannel being displayed
  • Too many demos, it just went on and on and on
  • No name tags
  • I forgot to mention TOJam go check it out

I had a great time. But I was cantankerous and the bar was out of bourbon. Read Chris Messina’s post about the importance of view source. I think though these arguments eventually come down to a philosophical difference in the development of a platform. Many of us have been burned by the choice of a closed platform in the past. Anyone remember the VB to VB.Net platform decision. I think that both Apollo and Silverlight are interesting products. They potentially solve a number of problems for designers and developers. I will write up a much longer post about my viewpoint later.

What’s next

I was talking with Walkah while he was kindly driving me home after the event (BTW walkah’s OpenID presentation was one of my favourite DemoCamp talks ever). We were talking about the DemoCamp format. We talked about it in relation to the size of the crowd. Part of the challenge of past DemoCamps appears to be based in the format. Or the consistency of the existing format. People were creating new DemoCamp pages and signing up to present.

One option is to use DemoCamp as regular event. That has a demonstration component that showcases the work of those in the community. But having a part that engages the community. Presentations. Challenges. Different formats.

Other formats

I think for the next DemoCamp we’re going to switch up the format again. I think we’ll break the evening in 2 sections. This will allow us to have 2 separate parts to the evening.

  1. Ignite-style presentations
  2. 15 minute break
  3. Powerpoint karaoke

Ignite-style presentations

This section will be exclusively MS Powerpoint. Presenters will be required to submit their presentations before going on stage. We will run from 1 laptop. Presenters will not have control over the slides. Each presenter will have 20 slides. The slides will be on the screen for 15 seconds. This will mean that each presenter will have 5 minutes. Presentations can be about a product. A technology. An idea. An event. Check out previous presentations at Ignite Night on Blip.tv for examples. My two favourite presentations include: Scott Berkun on Attention and Sex and Sarah Davies on Share and Share Alike Copyright.

Powerpoint karaoke

This just sounds like so much fun. I’m going to sign up to be a presenter. (I hope I get to present Firestoker). I missed it at ETech but everyone was raving about it. It truly embraces the fun, playful, social nature of this community. And since this is second on the schedule, hopefully, some of the social lubricant will be flowing.

Smaller events

One of the thoughts is that we need to continue to embrace other smaller events. Events like Open Coffee and others. To continue to bring the geeks, nerds, marketers, etc. together. Big events are great, however, the best part of these events is finding someone in the community that is equally passionate about something you are.

Are you interested in Ruby? Check out TRUG. Are you interested in Rails? Check out Rails Pub Nite. Interested in Python? Check out PyGTA. Interested in eXtreme Programming? Check out XP/Toronto. Interested in user experience? Check out the UXIrregulars. Interested in PR and Social Media? Check out Third Tuesday Toronto. Interested in marketing and Web 2.0? Check out Casecamp

There are a lot of folks doing very interesting things. We happen to have between 125-175 people who come out to DemoCamp. This is fantastic. It doesn’t mean there aren’t other events. The goal is to see some cool stuff. To meet some cool new people. To socialize with others in the community.

  • /pd

    <p>Actually I liked this democamp. It kinda worked out well..</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I like your idea of the 'Powerpoint karaoke' too. maybe it a Pecha Kucha format based. I prefer the 20/20 format as it gives strict 6 minutes 40 second for getting your message across. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Whereas a Takahashi method is limited to txt, without time restrictions..</p>

  • /pd

    <p>Actually I liked this democamp. It kinda worked out well..</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I like your idea of the 'Powerpoint karaoke' too. maybe it a Pecha Kucha format based. I prefer the 20/20 format as it gives strict 6 minutes 40 second for getting your message across. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Whereas a Takahashi method is limited to txt, without time restrictions..</p>

  • http://peterdawson.typepa.com /pd

    Actually I liked this democamp. It kinda worked out well..

    I like your idea of the 'Powerpoint karaoke' too. maybe it a Pecha Kucha format based. I prefer the 20/20 format as it gives strict 6 minutes 40 second for getting your message across.

    Whereas a Takahashi method is limited to txt, without time restrictions..

  • Rohan Jayasekera

    <p>Yes, DemoCampToronto13 was long, but that was just fine with me! It was packed full of goodies, and I can handle a lot of quantity as long as the quality is there.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I think the 5 minute limit really helped to keep presentations focused on what's important. And I really like the questions you've added, such as 'what makes you qualified for us to listen to?'. They may make presenters think twice before signing up, and afterward help them focus on satisfying the audience instead of satisfying their own egos. In Grade 1 Show & Tell, every kid is supposed to present, but at DemoCamp I'd rather limit it to people the audience will appreciate hearing from.</p>

  • Rohan Jayasekera

    <p>Yes, DemoCampToronto13 was long, but that was just fine with me! It was packed full of goodies, and I can handle a lot of quantity as long as the quality is there.</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I think the 5 minute limit really helped to keep presentations focused on what's important. And I really like the questions you've added, such as 'what makes you qualified for us to listen to?'. They may make presenters think twice before signing up, and afterward help them focus on satisfying the audience instead of satisfying their own egos. In Grade 1 Show & Tell, every kid is supposed to present, but at DemoCamp I'd rather limit it to people the audience will appreciate hearing from.</p>

  • http://www.RohanJayasekera.com/blog Rohan Jayasekera

    Yes, DemoCampToronto13 was long, but that was just fine with me! It was packed full of goodies, and I can handle a lot of quantity as long as the quality is there.

    I think the 5 minute limit really helped to keep presentations focused on what's important. And I really like the questions you've added, such as 'what makes you qualified for us to listen to?'. They may make presenters think twice before signing up, and afterward help them focus on satisfying the audience instead of satisfying their own egos. In Grade 1 Show & Tell, every kid is supposed to present, but at DemoCamp I'd rather limit it to people the audience will appreciate hearing from.

  • Martin Dufort

    <p>Hi David:</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>After reading this blog entry, Powerpoint Karaoke link had been interested. So much so that I decided to host a session at BarCamp Montreal2 tomorrow. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I'll let you know of the results. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Thanks for providing the inspiration. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>L8er & Martin</p>

  • Martin Dufort

    <p>Hi David:</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>After reading this blog entry, Powerpoint Karaoke link had been interested. So much so that I decided to host a session at BarCamp Montreal2 tomorrow. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>I'll let you know of the results. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Thanks for providing the inspiration. </p><br />
    <br />
    <p>L8er & Martin</p>

  • Jonas

    <p>Will there be no demos at Democamp 14?!?</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Big ups for another great event! Did the sound system end up getting paid for?</p>

  • Jonas

    <p>Will there be no demos at Democamp 14?!?</p><br />
    <br />
    <p>Big ups for another great event! Did the sound system end up getting paid for?</p>

  • http://www.kakiloc.com Martin Dufort

    Hi David:

    After reading this blog entry, Powerpoint Karaoke link had been interested. So much so that I decided to host a session at BarCamp Montreal2 tomorrow.

    I'll let you know of the results.

    Thanks for providing the inspiration.

    L8er & Martin

  • http://www.JonasBrandon.com Jonas

    Will there be no demos at Democamp 14?!?

    Big ups for another great event! Did the sound system end up getting paid for?