DemoCampVancouver02 – a recap

Thanks to Boris and everyone else involved with organizing DemoCampVancouver02 last night! Those were some good times happenining, and the energy was incredible! And boy, did the beer flow. And don’t get me started with the gong.

Unfortunately, I was really under the weather – my bones felt like they were melting as I was listening to those awesome presentations, and that made me more of a downer than I like to be at these things. The unexpected venue change from Workspace to the Irish Heather sent me and my bag of aching bones for a body out and heading for home and congee. For a concise overview of the evening’s highlights, take a gander at Richard’s summary.

That said, I think that there are some wrinkles to be ironed out, and I am looking forward to seeing the organizers tackle these for next time, and for the community to coalesce into something cool and valuable for all involved. The wife-swapping joke gave me a bit of a queasy feeling, having just read for the first time yesterday morning David Crow’s post apologizing for the sometimes less-than-female-friendly DemoCamp occurences in Toronto. I understand the need for a thick skin, but the atmosphere last night, complete with mean kids talking in the back corner, did not endear me further to the evening.

As a bit of a personal gripe, I also took exception to Boris’ description of my presentation as “cloning” a Toronto event, with regards to my intention to talk about a TransitCamp. I admit it cut me especially deep, since I’ve been pointing out, to myself and everyone I’ve talked to about TransitCamp, since I first mentioned it at Northern Voice, that Vancouver needs a wholly different approach.

My visit with my prof further cemented this, because in truth, it just can’t happen here just like it did in Toronto. Nor should it. But there are aspects of it – its outcomes, its approach, its vision – that has value beyond the singular Toronto situation. Now, the real question is, how get enough of this idea in the minds of those people here, who feel free enough to take it and run with it. Maybe it ends up looking less like a BarCamp. Transit is in a very different position in Vancouver right now than Toronto was this time last year. (For one thing, they’ve already gone ahead with their web information offering of questionable quality.) I haven’t talked at length with Boris about TransitCamp at all, nor do I expect him to be following my blog like a hawk, so I can forgive him for being caught up in the moment and the only word coming to mind being “clone.” I guess I’ll just have to get better at prostheletyzing it for what I think it is, rather than leaving it to people’s own (pre)conceptions. I’m coming more and more to this conclusion every day.

Finally, as a minor gripe, in the case of the iPhone, I’m glad that the event outlines meant that that was restricted to 6 minutes communal drooling, and that the fanboys could have their fun afterwards. As a non-techie, it was awkward for me – and I felt bad for having invited non-techies to the event, since I was under the impression that this particular DemoCamp was trying to branch out. Again, this is minor; and I do understand that the earlier-than-expected inebriation and atmosphere may have just given the event a tone that was different from what it was supposed to be.

Thanks also to Amy for being so gracious in taking up my invitation to the trans-action mailing list! I feel welcome with the transit geeks already.

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