The Minnebar Cometh

Barcamp Minnesota (aka MinneBar) is organizing thanks to Ben Edwards. Mark your calendar for May 6.

What is a Barcamp?

  1. A camp where participants learn bartending.
  2. A camp where participants drink much alcohol.
  3. An unconference for anyone interested in learning about cool Web and Internet stuff. (Not just for geeks!)

If you guessed #3, you’re right! (Actually, if we’re lucky, there may be some alcolhol too. Ben registered here.)

But really, what the heck is a barcamp?

“bar” comes from “foobar” which signifies two common placeholder variables in computer programming, “foo” and “bar.” (Check the link for some other Foo- and Fubar derivatives.) In 2003, O’Reilly hosted the first Foo Camp, which was an invite-only event gathering smart people together to discuss technology issues. It’s now a once-a-year event.

Bar Camp was a reaction to the closed nature of Foo Camp. It’s a wide-open conference that anyone can attend and where anyone can present. In fact, the one thing you have to do is participate. The first Bar Camp was hosted by Ross Mayfield at Socialtext and is still held annually. Some people actually camp out.

Today Bar Camps (or barcamps) are being organized around the world. From the looks of the schedule, it wouldn’t be hard to be a ‘barhead’ and attend one or several camps every week. (Hmmm… maybe someone would pay you to blog the camps and if there were free food and beer or wine at the camps…)

Sign Up!

So head on over to the Minnebar site and signup. (It’s a wiki. You need to log-in. I think the public password is c4mp.) Check the list of sessions and add some more if what you’re interested in isn’t there. Ben says “All participants must either give a demo, host a discussion, actively participate in a session, or help with one.” That’s it. You just have to ask some questions in a session to be a true barcamper.

I will predict that this has the potential to be the Minneapolis tech event of the year. What’s cool is that it’s success depends on all of the participants and not on any one individual or company. (Sponsors, in fact, are only allowed to contribute $500.) The democracy and inclusiveness of this concept makes it even more likely to succeed.


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