the 2008 Leeds Barcamp
It was great to get over to Leeds and chat with all the bright folks at BarCamp Leeds.
Lots of good conversations, talks and food. (and beer, except I was driving – sigh)
Highlights for me were:
Katie Lips talking about “12 startup mistakes not to make” except that it was 13 by the time she spoke (no, she hadn’t made a new mistake on the day, she’d had – in true web 2.0 style – added an extra one ‘contributed’ by the community). I especially liked the advice to not hide your support forums, on the basis that on balance your users are on your side and it provides a way of showing the world that you are listening. On the other hand I’m guessing she doesn’t have young children as she advises working at home to save money on office space – wouldn’t work for me!
A long technical discussion with Robert Burrell Donkin about email, how broken it is, and how it might get fixed. We talked lots about protocols and how badly the existing 7bit 1980’s email protocols suit the modern multilingual world (“Back then all the mail admins knew each other”). We also touched on how self perpetuating a tech community can be. The complexity of the current email solutions tends to make it very difficult for new (competitive) entrants, combined with the fact that once you have made the personal investment in learning all the tricks, it is harder to see the benefits of radical simplification. We agreed that anger at the inadequacies of the current mess is probably the force that will tip email into the 21st century. That and the fact that the Russians want the internet to work for them too 🙂
A chat with Imran Ali about the ethics of online jounalism and how it can be done _better_. In retrospect I think we might have been talking about 1.0 (private sources, hoarding etc) vs 2.0 (communal, open, transparent).
I was shocked by a couple of things:
I found myself almost convinced that I wanted to try out Adobe Air during the talk on DoJo and Air, the feeling faded as I drove home, but still it was definitely there ….
I was also taken aback at the fact that several people said “My health has not been good for the last X years”, what is this? – have we all been hacking too hard, something in the Leeds coffee, or just a co-incidence?
I’m really glad I made it (close run thing, I didn’t know I could untill 9pm the night before). Thanks to everyone for organizing it! Also thanks to folks for putting up with me playing Devils Advocate on more than one occasion (you know who you are).
As an added bonus, the scenery on the M62 inspired me – I had a couple of great ideas, more when I’ve patented one and thought through the other 🙂