BarcampHyderabad5 – The Good, the bad and the ugly.

Finally, we managed to pull of the BarcampHyderabad5 today. Quite a lot of effort put and no small terms thanks to the effort by the Google guys – Sashidhar and Syed. This one holds a special mention especially because the participants to listeners ratio was higher (marginally I guess) and a host of other reasons which I mention below

The Good

  • The numbers and the ratios: 311 registered by the time we decided to close off the registrations. In spite of that by the end of day of 15th we had 350 people registering! Now compare that to the number of sessions [about 20] which boiled down to a participants[200-225] ratio of about 1:10! Not bad for Hyderabad.
  • Google: Amazing (free) food. Amazing place. Free snacks. Free cafeteria. Free Wifi. Great ambiance. Great employees. Great work culture. Loved the T-Shirt. FoosBall table. And the bean bags. And some of the myths about Google are absolutely true. The whole experience… wow! I can roll off many more but I think I will stop singing my paeans for now.
  • Parallel tracks: During our barcamp planning sessions, we had decided upon four tracks in our Wiki – OpenSource, Demos, Startups, Technology. By the morning of barcamp, we decided to just do a sequential set of sessions[considering the thin list of participants, ergo presenters] and add to the list as and when the speakers keep coming. One and a half hour into the Camp and it was clear that we had to have a parallel track. And we decided to go parallel – Startups + Demos, OpenSource + Technology. The big hall was allocated to the former and the small conference room for the latter. It was very clear that many people were here for demos and to listen about/to startups, bloggers than about technology. And in hindsight what a great decision it was do it that way.
  • OpenSource track: Comparing the notes, found out that the opensource track was much more barcampish than the other. Lots of discussions, some really good talks and a pretty small room and a great set of listeners. And a great talk by Saifi.
  • Whiteboard: The whiteboard really sweated it out. The number of sessions that got created, arranging, scheduling… all and on the fly; not much action was seen in Hyderabad BarCamp circuit as had been today.
  • HydBlogs.in: Finally the first solid step towards blogroll creation for the Hyderabad Bloggers has been taken – one of our long unaccomplished motives since Barcamp1. Announcing for the first time here, the creation of the HydBlogs.in – the Hyderabad Blogger Blogroll. To keep track of whats happening in Hyderabad Blog Circuit just jump to www.hydblogs.in. Full credits to Suryakant[base code] and yours truly [design and donation of the domain ;D] and most importantly to SMR for the generous donation of hosting space. If you a blogger from Hyderabad, please jump over to the site and add your blog to the list. This is just version 0.1; hopefully we will be able to donate sometime on the site and make it more usable. Oh and any volunteers?! Design – Code – Maintenance? drop a comment or shoot a mail over to me.
  • ProductBarCamp: March 8th with IIIT & HYSEA bring to you the Product Barcamp which showcases 32 product companies of Hyderabad and each showcasing their product in a 5 min demo and a 2 min Q & A.
  • Organizing Team: Lots of new members that weren’t part of the team of 1,2,3,4 were here in BCH5. Its gratifying to see the interest in the folks to create a thriving tech ecosystem in Hyderabad. Once again, thanks and many cheers to all ye’ folks!

The Bad

  • Bad presentations: Some of the presentations in open source track were downright boring (my opinion) and definitely not barcamp material. Sessions on Rails architecture, 10 best reasons to use Rails, unrelated case studies, deceptively titled presentations are not what a barcamp audience expects to see. Rails would have been great in BarcampHyderabad1 – two years ago – but definitely not now. Its like saying Bush is an idiot now when everyone [almost] admits it is a mistake!
  • Parallel tracks: Because of having to sit in the Open Source sessions running parallel to the Demo & Startup tracks, I missed three particular presentations I was looking forward to – Demos by Brainwave & R-KnowSys and the talk by Kavita Vemuri and which I heard turned out to be really goood. Guys if any of you guys are reading this post, can you forward me your ppts/pdfs/videos?
  • Clueless/Disinterested Audience: The whole point of the barcamp is to have the audience listen-participate-discuss-contribute to the proceeding than just be a pair of idle ears. From what I heard from the Demo track, the audience started loitering around the rooms and having their jolly share of snacks, etc instead of even participating in the event – which kills any enthusiasm of the presenter. Come on guys, behave yourself!

The Ugly

  • Unruly registrants/Cannibals: From the city of nawabs comes the most disgraceful habit of not having the basic courtesy to listen-follow-comprehend simple instructions. When we said ‘Do not add any more names to the list‘ it was meant to be understood and be followed as is – no where does it mean that it is ok to add the names to the list and keep pushing this instruction down. Or the practice of cannibalizing the early registrants by replacing their names with your own. Sad though, which essentially means that people need more policing – exactly what barcamp was not supposed to be needing.
  • Discourteous Takers: The T-Shirt from Google is great. The water bottle from Progress downright droolworthy. But in no way does that justify folks take two-three-four Tees & bottles per person. Sadly, many participants, presenters and even members of the organizing team had no goodies to take home. And that too, when the goodies were in surplus[25%] of the participants!

Best sessions of the camp

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12 thoughts on “BarcampHyderabad5 – The Good, the bad and the ugly.

  1. My posts made some presentors feel bad and they have started sending me emails now =))
    Anyway you can read them hereand know more what iam talking about.
    http://www.amitbhawani.com/blog/writing-a-personal-blog-by-amit-agarwal-labnol/
    http://www.amitbhawani.com/blog/barcamp5-google-hyderabad-first-session-updates/
    http://www.amitbhawani.com/blog/barcamp5-google-hyderabad-final-session-updates/
    To be frank i still dont know whom iam sending a comment too, did i see you in the camp, because there was no one who would try to introduce themselves nor let the guests give a 1 min intro though that would make the session more interactive because this way it was like a promotional fair where some guys came and spoke about their products and kids were enjoying some snacks :p I know it looks like a Bad way to comment but well i like to speak what i felt and what my group of 7 guys felt :(
    Though there were some +ve points too which i posted :)
    Amit Bhawani
    http://www.amitbhawani.com

  2. @Amit
    “it was like a promotional fair where some guys came and spoke about their products and kids were enjoying some snacks” – Yes, that was what I felt too about the main session.

    I wasnt attending the demo/startups track, I was more interested in the opensource/tech track and that was where I was having much fun. Maybe you did see me at the camp, I was the one who ‘waved’ his hands and took the folks to the other parallel track.

    Im reading your posts too.

  3. @Amit
    After reading through your posts, three things stand out

    1. Your expectations – The barcamp was never about SEO. Amit Agarwal was there as part of the startup-freelancing-making money yourself track. If from any of the numerous angles, you expected this to be about SEO… I dunno – it never appeared it was about SEO.

    2. The whiteboard was there for a purpose. The organizers talking to people about parallel tracks was also for a purpose. Lot of people did leave after collecting their goodies but then many lot stayed back and discussed-participated in the opensource/tech track.

    3. Being a tech community, we aren’t that worried about small errors which can be small minor overlooks or a minor glitch which can be fixed easily. How come none of there was not even one good thing about the camp.

  4. @Arul
    DevCamp might be yes. But then that needs enough interest and participation from folks. Glad to see your coverage of the barcamp5. Btw can you please add your event coverage link to the barcamp wiki? That would be very helpful.

  5. Yeah not bad actually – to throw away a day of product dev time for the camp. Only thing about the next camp is to probably have a vote session to see what sessions enter the camp, some prescreening might be necessary.

    He he Bush is always a great party joke :D

  6. Hi,

    I am Abhishek, a member of the Brainwave team. Thanks for your interest in our session and mention on your blog. We would love to share the presentation slides with you, we can also do an online demo (webinar) at any point of time if there are a few interested people.
    Do let me know your email ids and we will send you the slides. Also the Brainwave platform can be freely downloaded from our website http://www.brainwavelive.com
    In return, all we ask for is your comments and constructive criticisms, while you play with it.

    Best Regards,
    Abhishek Chamaria

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