Did you attend Barcamp Nashville? Did we meet there? What did you think of it?
This was my second Barcamp, the first having been a wonderful (if sweaty) adventure at Exit/In which I extensively live-blogged for Music City Bloggers. (Doesn’t that make it seem like a long time ago?) This time around, the air was quite a bit cooler and the crowd a lot denser, but the spirit was much the same. Maybe it’s just me, though, but I think the Nashville tech community is growing up some. For all the complaints I hear about how there’s too much fracturing amongst the different networking groups (Nashville Technology Council, Digital Nashville, Nashville Geek Breakfast, and of course Barcamp Nashville, to name but a few) and not enough involvement from the people who need to be involved, I can’t say I haven’t seen improvements.
For one thing, J. Tod Fetherling, the new president of the Nashville Technology Council, was on hand to solicit feedback from the audience at his session on what NTC can do — and these may be my words — to be more relevant to the innovative types epitomized by Barcamp attendees, and the new media and interactive crowd, and how to help position Nashville as a tech center. Sure, it remains to be seen whether NTC puts into practice any of the ideas that came from today’s session, but no one can claim that the NTC wasn’t involved. And honestly, I thought it was a great discussion.
Nor can anyone claim that the Nashville Chamber of Commerce wasn’t involved — they sponsored a panel on getting funded as a startup business, and from the sound of it, were planning to use some of the audience feedback to improve planning for a web-based entrepreneurial resource guide that would be invaluable.
The panel I sat on, on women in technology, was a great and humbling experience, filled as it was with wisdom from some amazing women I have immense respect for.
And it’s just plain fun to attend these things: getting to see the dozens and dozens of familiar faces from all the other networking groups (not to mention Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on); meeting dozens of new people with interesting ideas and opportunities; thinking about ways to build out these relationships and come back next year with more stories to tell and lessons learned.
Which, not to get all Jerry Springer here, but is clearly what it’s about. The potential for bigger and better things, both for us each as individual participants and for Nashville’s tech community as a whole.
Well, that and beer.