Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Even if you don't own a yacht, you can host a ProductCamp (or a P-CAMP)

Before I formally established my Empoprise-BI business blog, I'd put business-related items in my main "Ontario Emperor" blog, mrontemp. So therefore you may have missed my January 12 post regarding the Silicon Valley P-CAMP 2009. The camp was scheduled for March, and I was actually considering using some frequent flyer miles to go up north and attend it. Because of various issues (including the fact that I didn't know what company I would be working for on March 12), I passed on P-CAMP in 2009 and haven't really thought about it since.

Until this morning.

Ryma held another of its webinars (see notes on previous webinar), and this one was hosted by Paul Young of ProductCamp Austin.

Excuse me for a moment or three while I make a quick, or not-so-quick, digression.

While the webinar was going on, I was going through a mental comparison of the unconference with which I WAS familiar (namely, the unconference at Oracle OpenWorld 2008) with the unconference that was being discussed. Obviously the Oracle unconference has some organizational advantages, as you can see by reviewing Paul Young's suggested list of things that need to be coordinated at a ProductCamp (or any unconference, for that matter):

  • 1 strong leader - If someone truly owned the Oracle OpenWorld 2008 unconference, I can't recall who that person was. Obviously, however, the unconference preparation piggybacked on Oracle Technology Network and other efforts for OpenWorld itself.

  • Venue - Space was allocated in Moscone West to host the unconference sessions, and someone presumably had to make sure that the spaces had projectors and other materials, but the effort was obviously much less than would be required for a stand-alone unconference.

  • Sponsors/budget - I can't speak to this, because I am obviously unfamiliar with Oracle's internal accounting practices. I don't know whether there was a separate budget category for unconference, or whether the unconference costs were absorbed into other OpenWorld costs. Presumably sponsorship of the unconference itself would not be allowed, since it would create confusion with the general Oracle OpenWorld sponsorships that were offered.

  • Marketing - Again, this piggybacked on the marketing for Oracle OpenWorld itself. The unconference was mentioned in the printed Oracle OpenWorld programs, space on the wiki was allocated for an unconference page, and Oracle's existing social media capabilities could be harnessed to promote the unconference.

  • Sessions - Based upon the discussion of ProductCamp Austin, it appears that the Oracle OpenWorld 2008 unconference was smaller than the forthcoming ProductCamp Austin 2009. Based upon this size, session pre-registration on the wiki could essentially be managed by the participants themselves - for example, I moved my session from Thursday at 2:00 to Thursday at 1:00, which allowed Ignacio Ruiz to schedule his session fro 2:00.

  • Volunteers - Again, the unconference piggybacked on OpenWorld itself, so many of the things that volunteers would do at a stand-alone unconference, such as serve the food, simply didn't need to be done here.
Now obviously this doesn't mean that an unconference that piggybacks on a larger event doesn't need ANY preparation - clearly work had to be done to get the unconference mechanics going, buy the index cards, and whatnot. I can attest from personal experience that an unconference will not happen if there is no interest in it.

But perhaps I should get back to the point.

Paul Young shared some general information about ProductCamps, based upon his experience at ProductCamp Austin. And this discussion reminded me of the ProductCamp that I DIDN'T attend a few months back.

The entire P-CAMP was documented online. For example, Matthias Zeller provided links that were relevant to his talk "Managing a 1.0 product."

But I haven't been able to find information on any plans for a P-CAMP in 2010. Apparently the best thing to do is to monitor the 2009 sites for a relevant announcement:

I figure that if I attend, I probably won't be presenting, just attending.

Of course, I said the same thing about Oracle OpenWorld 2008, and have been saying it about Oracle OpenWorld 2009...

Speaking of which, if you're interested in the Oracle OpenWorld 2010 unconference, its wiki page is here. As I write this, unconference information is minimal:

Event details

When: Oct. 11-14, 2009 (Mon - Thurs.), Hours TBD
Where: TBD

About The Oracle OpenWorld 2009 Unconference

For the third year in a row at Oracle OpenWorld, attendees will have the opportunity to directly participate by presenting their own session or workshop on a topic they're passionate about, in an informal, interactive setting.

The Oracle OpenWorld Unconference is more than a great opportunity for would-be presenters to share their knowledge and experience with other attendees in an informal setting. It also offers attendees the ability to learn what's on the minds of the community, directly from the grass roots.
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