Last saturday in Ljubljana (Slovenia) I attended my first barcamp. Or, better, I attended the first barcamp worthy of its name.
The success of this initiative has to be equally shared between organizers, speakers and the ones that filled the rooms.
The organizers set a simple, yet winning formula:
- 20 minutes for every speech including Q&A, without possibility of overrun
- final session with 5 minutes speeches without questions in order to attract hesitant and shy people
- explicit request to speak English (in Slovenia, differently than in Italy, they speak a very good English)
- breakfast and lunch for free and t-shirt for 10 euro to fund the event
- evening party
Everyone has to be rewarded for being an active part of the conversation with hundreds of questions, requests and speeches rarely commonplace.
A barcamp that gives many suggestions to Italian organizers of similar events:
- organizers followed most of the events in the first line, rather then limit their appearance for public relations;
- they give up the idea of streaming the event (an expensive and unnecessary option considering that a barcamp is made of many concurrent conversations) and decided to allocate resources to improve the attendees experience
- speakers developed their presentations to last for few minutes but, more importantly, to give a starting point for the discussion. It’s easy to state that a barcamp is not made by a passive audience, but it has to be possible for attendees to easily join the conversation
All this without astronomical sponsors or guest starts.