There is foo camp and there is bar camp. Feels like the adults are at foo camp, making deals, and the kids are at bar camp, making cool technology. Foo camp is by invite, for those who don't know, put on by O'Reilly as a business event for what appears to be deal making. Bar camp spontaneously ignited about a week ago making a place of anyone to show up and talk geek.
Bar camp has been really fun, energetic and free (donations by Dave Sifry and Stewart Butterfield for food and drinks, among other folks giving to the event, though Dave and Stewart are at foo camp). It's full of great ideas, great technology, enthusiasm, collaboration, the door is open and anyone can come in. It's spontaneous and youthful, exuberant, cutting edge, inclusive and very friendly.
I don't really care about this whole issue of who gets to go to foo camp, except to the extent that some bar campers have been upset by it. A few guys lashed out over the last few days on blogs and in conversations (those who feel strongly are all boys, whereas bar camp girls have barely noticed foo camp... it doesn't appear to exist for them... however, there are awesome girl geeks here, about 10 of whom are in the other room hacking together a new mobile app that totally rocks! And a bunch more in the back deconstructing drupal.) I don't think it's productive for the guys to complain, nor is it the point.
The issue was that Tim O'Reilly exposed his algorithm for selecting foo campers. The last part, called the bozo filter excludes people without telling them because they are annoying or possibly because another person complained about them in the past. It seems to have hit a nerve with a group of younger hackers, because they feel a sense of unfairness about it, as though it might get directed at them at some point. The other issue was the perceived threat to exclude anyone from future foo's for talking about the lack of invites. It just made a number of people feel badly.
The whole foo / bar rivalry is unfortunate and should fade away. Hopefully, next year's bar and foo will focus just on the opportunity to get together and have fun, hanging out with smart people and learning stuff, and for bar campers, hacking up some really great stuff.Posted by Mary Hodder at August 20, 2005 06:58 PM | TrackBack