Dateline: Saturday, May 6
What an event! Over 130 people registered at the minnebar wiki and about 110 of them participated in a very full day of sessions and demos plus good food and drink. It surpassed all my expectations and demonstrated the power of the unconference format. Many of us tend to lurk in hallways at conferences, often finding the conversation outside of the presentation space to be more stimulating than the lecture within. Not at Minnebar. The best sessions were all audience and little of the presenter (in unconference-speak, that would be the Discussion Leader or DL).
I’m really bummed about what I missed, like the Ruby on Rails demo.
The unconference idea didn’t always play for the discussion leaders who opted to be presenters. Powerpoint slides and charts are not a good thing in this environment unless you are willing to leave them behind as the participants heat up the discussion. The best unconference session I participated in was Charles Gimon’s Disintermediation which became a chaotic din of participant voices at one point. Every session should get there, I think. That’s the ideal. Best to leave Powerpoint at home or else do some studying at Presentation Zen.
Best session (of the ones I attended): Disintermediation, DL Charles Gimon; followed closely by the The Internet and the Future of Art, DL Paul Cantrell; and Team Anti-patterns (DLs Nate Schutta and Dan Grigsby). All of these sparked conversation; and the DL let us talk, more or less.
I met so many people and made some connections for my U of MN work, especially OS content management. It was awesome watching people learn about open source and find tools to use that are FLOSS (free libre open source software, love that term).
People I talked to (sorry if I miss your name): Charles, Samir, Aaron, Matt, Sean, Paul, Jesse, Aaron, Ward (bc), Harold, Ben, Margaret, Jesse, Curtis, Luke, Steve, Allie
Bad Thing: Wi-FI was very uncooperative for most of the afternoon.
Another kind of bad thing: minnebar was only a few blocks from the LRT station but I don’t think we told people about that.
Good Thing: Newcastle beer. And pizza for lunch.
Thank you to Catalyst Studios for hosting the event, the sponsors (pajunas interactive, Ayamon, Ripshark, MindTouch, Clockwork Active Media Systems, Dan Grigsby, Dow Jones, Alt Text).