Sunday, March 16, 2008

BarCampMumbai3 on 29 March, 2008

There is something about Barcamps that most people who attend one instantly become a 'convert'. And they join the ever-burgeoning support group for more unconferences.

The first thing that hits them hard is the way order chases chaos at a typical Barcamp. The schedule is undecided, the speakers are unsure, people don't know most others and worse, the 'planners' take pride in the disorderly start of a camp. All these are anti-thesis to classroom-type conference talks that they are accustomed to. Still, within about 30 minutes of start, patterns start emerging, schedule looks set, you begin to realize that most other have no clue either and that there are no rules for interaction - written or unwritten - at this gathering. And your brain starts permuting various possibilities of such a camp. Your adrenaline comes gushing.

Having no rules for a gathering is a Go(o)d thing. It lets you think, and discuss, freely in whichever way you feel comfortable. The emphasis is on openness and sharing. On experience and creativity. And on the fact that each one of us has something to contribute to the others. And that everyone is an equal. As someone right wrote "audience is more intelligent than the speaker". Hell it is! And in most sessions at a Barcamps, the speaker either readily recognizes this fact and lets people talk, or faces no-confidence by "the law of two feet".

It is not that there are no rules. There are some boundary conditions for participation. The most prominent 'rule' of a Barcamp is that "everyone is a participant". This implies two things - one, the guy who is speaking (irrespective of his profile) gets no special privileges above anyone else. And that everyone has to contribute - either by speaking, or volunteering, or at least by asking pertinent questions.

The next edition of Barcamp in Mumbai (BarCampMumbai3) is just around the corner (29 March, 2008). The previous edition (BarCampMumbai2) saw over 200 participants. The number is expected to double this time - with the welcome inclusion of blogger, design and Microsoft communities in the camp. It might be a good idea for you to register your place before we close the registration.

See you there!