4 Ways to Make the Most of BarCamp

Specificity Snap (by Phil Hawksworth)

We want to spend a little time reminiscing about last month’s Brighton BarCamp, one of our favourite events of the year and a time when we get to roll up our sleeves and muck in with the community.

BarCamp is a self-organised gathering of New Media enthusiasts and an important opportunity to share knowledge with peer businesses and enthusiasts. Naturally, we were keen to get involved, and we found no less than four different ways to do so:

1. Mingling

Evacuation (by Mark Wubben)

The best thing about BarCamp is the opportunity to hang out and discuss technology and business with a great bunch of like-minded people. As ever, there was an eclectic mix of developers, designers, thinkers and doers – mainly Brighton-based, but the event attracted people from all over. Andy Mitchell, from Leeds, had this to say:

Coming down from the North I find it a real different culture, so mild-mannered and alternative (sessions on “GeekYoga”? “Getting Things Done” and “Meditation”?!) I must admit I’m somewhat fascinated with it.

2. Organising

Schedule of talks (by Rain Rabbit)

In the run up to BarCamp Brighton3, we played a part in getting sponsors on board, as well as being mini-sponsors ourselves. BarCamp is entirely free and inclusive, and without the many sponsors and volunteers, it just wouldn’t have been possible.

BarCampBrighton3 swag bag (by J'Roo)

One minor feature that was unexpectedly well received was the hand-crafted, recycled newspaper goodie bag given to each attendee on arrival at the event. The bags were made by a local greengrocer in Suffolk, and they’re so special that they now have their own mini-cult following.

3. Speaking

Welcome to BarcampBrighton3 (by Rain Rabbit)

I gave two talks: one for BarCampers interested in business development and one for those curious about new methods for social media.

The First Talk: “Can Your Business be Franchised? (And Should It)?”

A little while back, we were considering what would happen if Dharmafly was a franchise – or, rather, not if it was a franchise, but if it was capable of being a franchise.

This is loosely inspired by the ideas of Michael Gerber in his book ‘The E-Myth‘. He suggests that if all the procedures of a business are clarified, systematised and documented as if the business was to be replicated to a different location, then the business will benefit, even if it isn’t actually replicated. (He also goes into a lot of other detail about other stuff that I didn’t connect with as much).

Think of something as efficient and repeatable as the McDonald’s experience, but with a focus on people, purpose and quality (and none of that meat, despondency or environmental destruction).

We discussed:

  • The development of business goals
  • Establishing consciously intended outcomes
  • Developing a system to achieve them

Jonathan Markwell from Inuda raised an interesting question:

How would it be possible to systematise and franchise Dharmafly, when your business values require those working for the company to feel it and mean it, and not just follow a list of procedures?

That got me thinking. An ethical approach to business must surely be genuinely felt and not just acted out by rote. On the other hand, it is said that if a person wants to cultivate a particular habit or value, then he or she could start acting as if they already possess it and, one day, they actually will possess it. For example, cultivate generosity by giving to those in need, and cultivate honesty by being truthful.

Would a person following an ethical system for business be transformed by it? I wonder what the people at Actics would say.

The Second Talk: “What Planet are You On?”

Our enthusiasm for Planets hasn’t waned since the launch of Planet Crunchy, a site we built to demonstrate the virtuous role of Planets in social media campaigns. (Planet sites are ones that aggregate content on a particular theme from around the Web).

Apart from taking a look at how Planet Crunchy works, we looked at some examples of beneficial Planets around the web, including personal Lifestreams (e.g. David Cramer’s) and communities like Planet BNM and Planet Microformats.

4. Experimenting

Sara / Spirulina (by bensauer)

The Planet Crunchy experiment was interesting. We had given everyone at the event a box of Dharmafly Crunchies and invited them to post their experiences online. Some people really liked it, while others really didn’t.

Twitter was the most popular social network that people used to report their stories, with Flickr close behind. Nobody ventured to post a video.

Thank you everyone who took part. We love you most greenly.

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2 CommentsRSS Feed

  1. Hi

    Wanted to add

    5. Recording
    Twitter/flicker… Hashtags

    6. Sharing
    Create apre barcamp groups…

  2. Sounds like a great event – a lot of brainstorming going on I imagine

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