Community is the framework
What’s the point of DemoCamp? There doesn’t seem to be anyone important attending TorCamp , why should I keep attending these events. There seems to be a lot of junior (read: unimportant) people attending these events, why would I want to participate? Is it the Toronto technology community where you can see and be seen? Is it the technology party circuit that should be tracked in our own version of ValleyWag?
I’ve been struggling with some of these questions over the past couple of days, but it’s pretty clear the Toronto community needs something like DemoCamp. Where do designers, technologists, founders, entrepreneurs, developers, hardware hackers, code monkeys, pixel pushers, information architects, change junkies, startup addicts go to talk about the latest, greatest technology? Where do we go to show off our projects?
DemoCamp (though I don’t like the Camp moniker because there is no camping involved) isn’t perfect, but it is about bringing together a community. Does DemoCamp replace AIMSCanada or Flash in the Can or DesignFest or DigiFest or Toronto Venture Group ? No!
Why do this?
Albert captures it brilliantly.
we don’t offer crap—except good company (in the form of demos from passionate developers and entrepreneurs)
I buy books because if I learn one new thing it’s worth the price of the book. So a little bit of effort, some cool demos, the opportunity to meet new people. All it takes is for me to see one interesting product, or meet one interesting person to make these events worth while. (And I am not defining interesting as being on the list, though probably on the Eh List ). This is about growing a communtiy. Making it easier to find new technologies, designers, and developers in Toronto.
How can we improve DemoCamp?
Bryce is branching the community out to include a DesignSlam aka SlamCamp on Saturday, February 25, 2006 at the Navantis offices. The goal is to walk through the design process in a fixed amount of time and present the solutions to the group. Will this event attract the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies? Probably not. Is it a great way to find inspiration, work collaboratively, and have fun? Yes!
Albert and Sutha offer up ideas about running a FounderCamp. Get a bunch of early stage founders together and talk about the day-to-day operational, tactical, strategic issues that are faced by running a startup.
Staying with the demos, mixed in with early stage product ideas we could invite larger industry heavy weights to show their products. We could invite Alec to show us his swanky DEMO God winning Relevance Engine. We could invite Adobe to demonstrate FLEX or the Flash Platform (or maybe Toronto’s own DesignAxiom ). Microsoft to demonstrate Avalon, Sparkle, Visual Studio Team, SharePoint 2007, Office 12.
What about taking inspiration from 20×2 ? Give 20 different artists, designers, developers, executives, impressarios the same question and 2 minutes to answer. Rannie participated in 2004, maybe he’d be willing to try do this again in Toronto.
What about a starting a brainstorming session? We used to run events like this at Reactivity where we’d invite 25 people for pizza and beer. Research the heck out of a topic (usually a emerging technology or social trend), invite 25 people for pizza and beer, spend 15 minutes reviewing the dossier, and then brainstorm using structured questions to explore opportunities for new venture creation. It was an open forum, so if you had the next greatest thing it was probably best to keep it to yourself, but it was a great way to bring together interesting people and talk constructively about a shared interest.
The geek community
Chris talks about finding “effective models for geek collaboration”. This is about an open community, the opportunity, the excitement and the passion that everyone who has attended TorCamp, DemoCamp 1, DemoCamp2, DemoCamp3 or any of the future events brings to these events.
Come out, participate!