Foo Camp

My first Foo Camp is over. Feels like a bit of a graduation thing, a rite of passage almost. Or maybe I’m just tired. Anyway, what an amazing crowd and atmosphere. The O’Reilly team really manages to pull off this event with some of the smartest people around while somehow establishing and nurturing a culture where there’s no ego to get in the way. At all. It’s all humble, curious, fun. And so conversations go from geeking out to letterpresses to neurophysics to apps to whisky and back in the space of five minutes, and it feels all natural. (At one point, we discussed in detail the end of the world, or at least the nation state, as you do.) One thing that stood out for me was the constant feeling that everyone in the room was way smarter than I; The other, that everybody else behaves like they feel the exact same way.

And so in between sessions and all the hallway conversations, there were all kinds of games and activities, like helicopter jousting, soldering red robot buttons, 3D scanning faces and the like. No chance of getting bored, or much sleep for that matter. And that’s well as it should be.

Most important, for me personally, is the feeling that I went in knowing a handful, maybe a dozen of participants, and left knowing a whole new bunch of super smart people to do cool stuff with at some point down the road. Building connections & cross-pollinating, this is what successful conferences are all about as far as I’m concerned. And if that can be done in a relaxed, familiar atmosphere, it’s all the better. Kudos for creating that atmosphere, where despite the high-profile audience no ego got in the way of things, and the participants were just themselves. It’s not easy to pull that off, and the O’Reilly team managed.

Congratulations, and thank you, Tim & Sara & Brady and all the others.

I’ll try to write up some my thoughts on some of the sessions that stood out for me over the next few days.