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FOO Camp

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 8 months ago

What is FOO Camp?


FOO Camp is to BarCamp as FOO is to Bar -- deeply intertwined. FOO Camp started as a joke by O'Reilly VP of Corporate Communications Sara Winge that she always wanted to have a party at one of our conferences for special "Friends Of O'Reilly" that would prominently feature a "FOO Bar." In 2003, in a brainstorming session, Sara and I decided to riff on this idea, and hold a special kind of "unconference" at O'Reilly. We'd invite all the people who didn't work for us but had done a lot for us over the years -- writing books, speaking at conferences, acting as our eyes and ears in various communities -- to the O'Reilly campus for a weekend campout and get together. We also invited a bunch of people we admired and had always wanted to meet. If people couldn't make it, they were allowed to nominate someone to come in their stead.


The format we came up someone christened "the wiki of conferences." On Friday night, we give everyone three words (plus their name and company) to introduce themselves, just so people can put a face with a name. Then people swarm the big boards marked out with time slots for about 15-20 rooms. People can talk about whatever interests them. The idea was to encourage the free flow of ideas, and to allow people to find others with similar interests.


We invited about 200 people, and the event was a great success. The problems started the second year. The energy was so great, and we learned so much that we wanted to do it again. But now we had another objective than just a great party: this was an opportunity to learn from our extended community of "friends of friends." So we wanted to reach out to a lot of new people. But because everyone wanted to come back, we had to be selective. We had 200+ people at the first FOO Camp, and that was not only all the space could support, it was a good natural limit for an effective networking event. Even after trimming the list, we set a policy that we'd invite more people than we could fit, and have a cutoff when we reached the optimal number.


Unfortunately, some people took umbrage, and decided that the event was exclusionary. (Yes, it was, but for a good reason that I hope you understand.) Some people just complained, but someone came up with the brilliant idea of holding their own party along similar lines. Thus (I understand) Bar Camp was born, and has since spread like wildfire.


This is a really cool thing, and we at O'Reilly love that it's happening. We can't invite everyone to FOO Camp, and are really glad that other folks are holding similar events. But when I was meeting the other day with David Weekly, who runs the BarCamp wiki, it occurred to me that we could also reach out to the Bar Camp community by asking you guys to nominate people that we ought to invite to FOO Camp.


Who is doing really interesting work, and ought to be on our radar?


Please supply names and contact info, and enough information for us to find out more about the person. (We had one slightly embarrassing but actually felicitous invitation to the second FOO Camp when Sara invited a complete stranger who just happened to have the same name as the person I had in mind but was doing very cool work :-)


You can list names here on this wiki, or can send email to me: tim AT oreilly dot com


Suggested invites


Enoch Choi bio blog


Invite suggestion