Posts Tagged ‘BarCampBank’

Origins of REBarCamps, PodCamps and Unconferences

June 9, 2011

Where in the heck did this crazy REBarCamp/PodCamp/BarCampBank unconference craze begin? And perhaps more importantly, why do so many people hold such fondess and get so excited for these events?

All this and more is revealed in my guest article on the REBarCamp Orlando site.

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PodCamp Boston 5 tomorrow!

September 24, 2010

PCWM_10SurveySays

PodCamp Boston 5 starts tomorrow, and I’m excited to be going there with my sweetheart, Lesley Lambert. Both she and I will be facilitating sessions on Sunday. Lesley’s topic is Advanced Twitter, and I’ll be facilitating a discussion on Geolocation. I’ve facilitated sessions on Geolocation at RE BarCamp Orlando and RE BarCamp Rye, and my slidedeck for it has been viewed 1,178 times on Slideshare.net. I’ll be modifying the presentation for the PodCamp environment versus the real estate camp.

This will be my third PodCamp Boston, and lucky 13th camp of any variety.

I love the things that happen at camps, the people, the sessions, the networking, the brainstorming, the learning, the teaching, the sharing, the connections that people make. Being somewhat of a Camp veteran, I especially enjoy helping newcomers have a good experience as much as I enjoy reconnecting with old friends. I also love “seeing” the camp through others’ eyes, especially Camp virgins, but I love veteran’s thoughts, photos, videos, blogs, tweets, and whatever other media is produced.

Here are some links looking back at my previous Camp experiences, including PodCamp Boston 2, where I knew no one going into it, but made some great friends:

Looking forward to what this weekend brings at PodCamp Boston 5!

Open letter to PodCamp organizers

August 23, 2010

Podcamp Western Mass 2010It can be intimidating to try to hold a PodCamp, BarCamp, REBarCamp, BarCampBank, or any type of event for that matter. Just in case anyone who is thinking about holding a Camp is feeling intimidated by the prospect, or disheartened that the process might not be as smooth, let me offer a few words of encouragement, from someone who has attended REBarCamps, FacebookDevCamp, and has attended and organized both a BarCampBank and two PodCamps.

First of all, this is an important truism of Camps:

The right people always show up.

There are so many people out there who NEED to have their first PodCamp experience. They will have their eyes opened to the fact that all this stuff happening on their laptop/smart phone represents REAL LIVING PEOPLE. They are not alone in the world. There are others who are going through the exact same experiences, who are ready, willing, and able to learn from others who are similar to them that live RIGHT in YOUR area.

Don’t get hung up about attendance numbers. There is no right number. I’ve been to camps of all shapes and sizes, from 15 to 750. And let me tell you, I LOVE camps that are 35-60 people. There is an intimacy shared that you lose when it gets as large as 100 or 150 or more. I love the big ones too, but there is NOTHING wrong with small and intimate. This is a non-profit endeavor, right? No one has a profit motive to try to put on a huge PodCamp. Throw away the idea of a traditional conference with thousands of attendees, a huge stage, and breakouts only as time-filler. To me, the ideal model of PodCamp is to have ONLY breakouts; 4, 8, 12 or however many of them simultaneously, some as small as a conversation between two people, others with 12 people, others with 20, others 40, in an urban brick building converted into classroom spaces all around a central gathering space.

Another thing to keep in mind: the people who want to, and need to, learn from the PodCamp experience…. you don’t know who they are yet. They will come from being friends of attendees who hear about what an amazing thing PodCamp is. They will come from friends of current local social events who are beyond stoked about the prospect of your Camp. You can’t get that until you have Camp #1. Let the thing grow organically. That’s what happened for the original BarCamp and the first PodCamp Boston. What you want is a small, highly charged, well connected core of people, who blog, podcast, tweet, fb, and videocast their experience with your first Camp… what it meant to them, what they got out of it.

Have a maximum attendance cap. It can be 100 people. Keeping it limited like that accomplishes many positive things at once.

Don’t care if only 50-60 people show up to the first one. About 35 people pre-registered for PodCamp WesternMass 1, but we had about 50-55 people total show up. Attendees brought friends with them; there will always be people who show up at the door with admission in hand. The following year, when we did PCWM for the 2nd time, word had spread about what a great event it was, and we nearly doubled attendance.

You have to create the first one. Since so many don’t know what a PodCamp or other Camp is (but awesome people DO know what it is), they aren’t going to get excited about it ahead of time. But adventurous people WILL check it out and attend.

Trust it. Do it. The right thing will happen.

PodCamp WesternMass 2 photo by vievetrick

Subway gets a dose of Social Media

July 22, 2010

Last night I had the great pleasure of a double-dose of Social Media goodness. My evening began by presenting a session on social media for credit unions for the Hartford Chapter of the Credit Union League of Connecticut. My host was Fred Brown, Marketing Director of Northeast Family Federal Credit Union in Manchester CT. Fred is also very good friends with Credit Union Man, and schedules all of Credit Union Man’s appearances.

I was very glad that Fred designed the chapter meeting to be out of the ordinary. The meeting was held at the Berlin Batting Cages in Berlin CT, and the evening’s agenda was dinner at Subway, followed by my presentation, wrapping with a scintillating round of mini-golf. Little did I know, nor the Subway employees, nor other patrons, that we were TAKING OVER THEIR SHOP for a presentation. Here are a few photos of this most memorable of engagements:

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HOW AWESOME IS THIS? Wow, just wow.

After the mini-golf wrapped up, I headed over to Eli Cannon’s Tap Room in Middletown CT (known as MiTown to the cool kids), just 10 minutes away from Berlin, for a meetup of the PodCamp CT organizers. I found out about this meetup because several of my friends posted the event on Facebook THAT MORNING. So, to my surprise, here was an event minutes away from where I would be, later that same evening, across the state line.

I take immense pleasure that the impetus for holding this initial PodCamp CT is that a few veteran PodCampers such as Aldon Hynes and Paul Monaco attended our PodCamp WesternMass 2, and asked themselves why there couldn’t be a PodCamp CT. I was thrilled to lend support and offer guidance, since I have hosted two PodCamps, a BarCampBank, and have attended numerous “camps” of various types on both coasts, both in the US and Canada. I’ve attended: FacebookCamp Toronto, PodCamp Boston 2 & 3, BarCampBank SF 1, BarCampBank NewEngland, BarCampMoney NY, PodCamp WesternMass, BarCampBank BC, REBarCamp PHL. I’m excited to have PodCamp Boston 5, REBarCamp ORL, and PodCamp CT on my calendar.

I’ve met so many INCREDIBLE people at these various events, and consider myself blessed to consider them all friends. (Well, Facebook friends at the least!)

Side note: I bet Larissa, nor Tim, ever dreamed that her “Difference Between Banks and Credit Unions” video would be shown on the wallpaper, below the air conditioner, of a Subway sandwich shop located at the Berlin Batting Cages in Connecticut for a CU Chapter meeting.

New CU Chat internet radio show

November 5, 2009

CU Chat UpI was delighted to be a guest yesterday on Carla Day’s new weekly internet radio show on Credit Unions. Carla is a fantastic host, and is wonderful credit union advocate. I first met Carla in person at EverythingCU’s Little-B Pokagon, held in Indiana earlier this year. Carla later came to TQ NYC to continue her social media immersion.

A huge thank you to Carla for having me as a guest on her show! I thoroughly enjoyed talking about BarCampBanks and PodCamps, as well as EverythingCU.com’s new social media product for credit unions, PlumWall. Here’s a recording of the show in case you missed it:

Tune in weekly, Wednesdays at 3:00 eastern/2:00 Central to listen to future CU Chat shows!

Seven Thoughts from PodCamp

April 3, 2009

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Seven: Everyone has a story. Every camper brings their own story to the table, and experiences the camp in their own unique way, with their own perspectives, goals and ambitions.

Six: Enable others to connect with each other. It turns out that AuctionWally enjoys Voodoo Steve’s indie podcast. How cool is that? And many folks were not familiar with Amherst native John Robison before the camp. But everyone in his session came away with newfound knowledge and respect.

PodCamp WesternMassFive: Help others build their networks. It’s not about the size of your own network, it’s about how many connections you can make for others. That’s why I put the ‘Follow Me on Twitter” poster sheets up on the wall; to enable campers to continue the conversations.

PCWM_04RebelThinkingFour: The spirit of PodCamp can be found in the little things. One of my favorite photos is this one of laptop bags lined up against the wall.

Three: The spirit of PodCamp can be found in the spaces. Yes, the sessions are usually excellent. But I learned from BarCampBank SF how great it is to allow ample time between sessions and leave a huge long lunch break. This is what really allows campers to connect with each other, and many times it’s these break conversations where new things are shared and learned.

Podcamp Western Mass 2009Two: The buzz spread more AFTERwards. For an inaugural event word spreads more AFTER the event. WesternMass has never had any sort of ‘camp’ event before as far as I know. So even though many invites went out, many did not see the value in re-arranging their schedules in order to attend. But now that we have 14 GLOWING blog reviews of the camp, interest is piqued in a wider audience. So we’ll hold version two in about six months. If you are considering trying to get any type of new event off the ground, make sure it is WELL RECORDED online the first time out.

One: Seeing the camp through others’ eyes. This is actually one of my greatest joys of PodCamp. Being a ‘camp veteran, I take the open discussion and flexible format for granted. But since so many bloggers, photographers, and videographers attended, I get to experience the joy and wonderment of their first camp experience through their lens.

Podcamp Western Mass 2009

PodCamp WesternMass: A smashing success

April 3, 2009

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Last Saturday, March 28, 2009, we held the first PodCamp in Western Massachusetts. I wasn’t familiar with any “camp” event before Robbie Wright invited me to the first BarCampBank in North America, BarCampBank Seattle in the summer of 2007. I didn’t attend, but after reading the glowing, superlative-laden blog reviews of it, I wished I had rearranged my schedule after all. And thus began my quest of ‘camp‘ discovery. I subsequently attended FacebookCamp Toronto 2, shortly followed by PodCampBoston 2. Even before attending this event, I thought that we were getting to the point where we could hold a PodCamp in the western half of Massachusetts, and convened an exploratory planning meeting with co-conspirators, nationally recognized social media maven Tish Grier, and well-connected writer, reporter, and traveler Jaclyn Stevenson on October 16, 2007. Life, and other ‘camps intervened over the following months, and it wouldn’t be for another year that we held another organizational meeting for PodCamp WesternMass. Finally, we just had to pick a date and make it happen. And boy, did it happen.

PCWM_08MorrisTish and Jaclyn were in their element, getting the word about the camp out to everyone in their networks. A terrific surprise to me was that Jaclyn put the press release out on Pitch Engine, a fully web 2.0, social-media-compatible press release site, and this garnered attention from many in the region.

The day arrived, and it was all wonderful, start to finish. I facilitated getting the sessions onto the grid, and finding the right attendees to lead some of the sessions requested. We basically had two tracks going throughout the day, a beginner’s track for newbies, and a more advanced track for those already involved in social media.

PodCampI was gratified that several video bloggers recorded the day, including Voodoo Stevie who even live-streamed some of it. And many pictures were taken by me, Jaclyn, Shawn Toohey, and Stephen Sherlock. At last count, we have 13 blog entries, 6 pages of video, including two montages set to music, 140 photos, and too many tweets to count.

A huge congratulations to Tish Grier and Jaclyn Stevenson for a smashing PodCamp success! May there be many more!

BarCampMoney NYC or BarCampBank NYC?

January 26, 2009

Last year, I was delighted when Frederic Baud, one of the organizers of the first BarCampBank (in Paris), tweeted that he just discovered that BarCampMoney NYC was to be held on April 14, 2008. By complete coincidence, the organizers, including Jonah Keegan, had gained momentum to put on the event without knowing that a similar event had been organized in the U.S. the previous year, in Seattle, and that two additional U.S. BarCampBanks were slated for San Francisco and New England in each of the preceding two weeks to the New York event.

I assumed the NYC event was named BarCampMoney instead of BarCampBank simply because Jonah was not aware of the existence of the other events, and had been inspired to create an event in much the same way that the original event was spawned from BarCamp Paris, but had simply decided on a different name.

If you are not already familiar with BarCamp and BarCampBank, these are unconferences where the audience/participants are the star of the show. Entry is free or low cost, and there are no featured speakers. It’s a model of democracy in action. The best Camps are conducted using Open Space principles with no predetermined agenda. Despite its funny name, BarCampBank is an unconference dedicated to innovation in regards to technology and finance. It’s definitely not about bankers, per se. In fact, bankers are a minority of attendees at a BarCampBank if there are any at all.

I gave Jonah access to the BarCampBank Facebook group already in existence, which included people who were at BarCampBank Paris and BarCampBank Seattle. At this time, I also invited Jonah to change the name of his event to fit the existing community of BarCampBanks that had already occurred, or were about to occur. He declined, citing that materials had already been created and published with the BarCampMoney name, which was understandable.

The event was well-attended, with approximately 50 out of the 75 registered attendees showing up. The group was quite diverse, from investment bankers to angel investors to entrepreneurs to programmers.

The organizers are about to hold the event again, on March 7, and knew there was an opportunity to either stick with the BarCampMoney name, or switch to the BarCampBank name.

My arguments for switching to the BarCampBank name are as follows:

1.) Few bankers usually show up to BarCampBank. The fact that’s it’s not just about bank or just for bankers is explained quickly and easily. But it makes sense in that discussion is about how we can revolutionize the ways in which banking is done.

2.) There are already groups set up and organized online with the BarCampBank name, i.e. wiki pages, Facebook group, Google Group. These groups represent a worldwide audience of people who are interested in BarCampBanks, and may have attended one.

3.) There have been many BarCampBanks held throughout the world, namely:
BarCampBank Paris (the first one, in Sept. 2006)
BarCampBank Seattle
BarCampBank SF
BarCampBank NewEngland
BarCampMoney NYC
BarCampBank Dallas
BarCampBank London
BarCampBank Charleston
BarCampBank BC

Already on the slate for this year are:
BarCampBank London 2
BarCampBank SF 2
BarCampBank Vegas

Being planned are:
BarCampBankCharlotte
BarCampBankMadison
BarCampBankBarcelona
BarCampBankEstonia
BarCampBankMadrid

During a conference call with the BarCampMoney organizers today, the New York group has decided to stick with the BarCampMoney name for the following reasons:

1.) Historical precedent; continuity with last year’s event.

This is understandable.

2.) New York is special, and includes Wall Street, investment bankers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and is the financial center of the world; therefore it deserves a special name, different than the rest, to set it apart.

To me, this argument is weak. Every city is special and every city lends its own character to an event, especially a financial-related event. Having attended four BarCampBanks in four different cities, and even organizing one of them, one of the things that I most enjoy about them is the distinctive character that each city lends to the event. BarCampBank SF was wonderfully tech and start-up oriented, BarCampBank NewEngland was credit union oriented by design, the first BarCampMoney NYC was venture-capital and investment oriented, and BarCampBank BC had a worthy-cause and social media flavor.

New York as a city has enough star-power on its own that it doesn’t need additional differentiation through the name.

3.) Another reason cited for keeping the BarCampMoney name was that this subset of the greater BarCamp movement could catch on and be held in numerous cities worldwide. This argument makes no sense since the BarCampBank movement has already caught on and is already being held in many cities, with many more in the works. BarCampLondon 2 is slated for February 14 and BarCampBank SF 2 is slated for April 25 & 26. This argument also directly contradicts the argument that the NYC event needs a special name due to the unique nature of the financial community there.

A BarCamp of any type is primarily about meeting people in-person, and therefore is primarily oriented to the physical geography in which it is held. But since technology is breaking down barriers of geography, acknowledging the world outside, being inclusive to the greater movement is worthy too. To say that New York is special is redundant; every locale is special. To try to show the rest of the world that New York is special through having a different name is to not be inclusive to folks in other areas who may have interest in attending, or in some way getting involved. After all, though the efforts of Brent Dixon, at BarCampBank BC, via live video stream over the web, we had questions and comments from all over the world, including colleagues in Boston, North Carolina, Dallas, Madison, Paris, and elsewhere (Hi Ron, Matt, Brad, Chris, and Frederic!).

Ultimately, the name won’t affect the event too much one way or another, except in the expectations of some attendees. The question boils down to if the organizers want this event to be a part of a broader movement or not. As long as the event is held in the spirit of BarCamps, then either name will work.

Your thoughts and opinions on the matter?

Notes from Social Banking session at BCBBC

September 25, 2008

BCBBC08Had an amazing time connecting with some great people at BarCampBank BC. Here are my notes from the first session on Day Two, Sunday, on the social nature of the banking relationship. For notes from other sessions, see William Azaroff’s live blog series, which starts here and the Camp’s wiki page, which includes links to some video recordings.

How do you allow front line people time to socialize and do internal networking?
Answer from Gene Blishen: Listen to them, ask what is mundane, routine, that they hate, and figure out how to automate that.

Employer has to create an environment to allow this to happen. Have to be brave, to create this. create systems that empower employees.

Indecison= decision — wastes time and effort.

Internal social network

Have to have people who are excited to be where they are and tell their friends about it
otherwise, same as traditional marketing, which is pushing things out.

How do we change the conversation to be about social media relationship building and not so much ROA, or else how do we measure ROI of social?

Bank willing to lend to an entrepreneur with more social connections

Facebook as collections tool

Head of the comma: REI model — even though most don’t go into wilderness, REI needs to appeal/work for that group because the rest aspire to that.

Tweets from BarCampMoney NYC

April 17, 2008


ViewTo make my travel to BarCampMoney NYC easier, which took place on the 40th floor of 1301 Avenue of the Americas on Saturday, April 12, 2008, I packed only my iPhone and did not haul my PowerBook into Manhattan. The following is a collection of what I tweeted during the event:

07:29 AM April 12, 2008 Just made the train at Stamford CT on my way into l:NYC: for BarCampMoneyNYC. Will take lotsa pix.

08:42 AM Did I mention BCMNYC is being held on top of the world? Pix going to my fb page.

Gathering09:29 AM FreshmanFund.com is going to help parents and friends put money into 529 plans for college.

10:14 AM In on session about FiLife a new community with info about personal finance. Joint venture between IAC and Dow jones. Launches soon.

David S. Rose10:29 AM David Rose, angel investor presenting on Angelsoft

10:32 AM David Rose explaining difference between VCs and Angel Investors

10:41 AM David Rose explains Angel Groups fit between individual Angels and large VCs.

10:49 AM AngelSoft rocks for both angels and entrepreneurs.

Ultralight startups11:45 AM Mike Solomon sharing his experience outsourcing programming overseas, esp. India.

11:47 AM discussion is Ultra Light biz startups ala Digg and Truemors.

Insights into the VC mind01:22 PM discussion is early stage investing in start ups. Moderated by Lili Balfour. Hank Williams and Jay Levy also featured.

01:25 PM Hank Williams has contributed a lot of good stuff to this camp. His blog is whydoeseverythingsuck.com

02:33 PM Early stage biz investor Jay Levy says now is a great time to start/build a company.

Discussing the economics of Free02:55 PM Hank Williams is leading a session on the problem with Chris Anderson’s the Free Economy. What do you replace the revenue with?

03:05 PM it’ll never get old when two helicopters fly by at eye level.

03:08 PM Hank Williams just said “freetards” and the whole room laughed.

03:10 PM @guykawasaki Truemors was cited as an example of an Ultralight startup at a session during BarCampMoneyNYC today.

03:23 PM room getting rowdy and fiesty debating the economics of Free. Awesomeness. Hank Williams is a good agitator.

Huge props to Jonah Keegan for spearheading a very, very successful inaugural BarCampMoneyNYC. Turnout was in the neighborhood of 50 people, which should be considered fantastic.