An LA event without EGO – VIVA BarcampLA!

Another BarcampLA is over. If you missed out this time, there’s always the Geek Dinners to look forward to until BarcampLA 4! I know a lot of people who came to the first 2 Barcamps weren’t able to make it, and it’s reassuring to know the community is here when you’re ready to return.

This time around, I wasn’t quite up to my usual “Mistress Chi Chi: GTD Dominatrix” persona.
[Last Barcamp, in November 2006, I was pregnant already but didn't know it until December. There's no way the Pod in my belly was going to be squashed into one of my industrial strength corsets this time around.] But Jillian was more than up to the task, and she presented an awesome Powerpoint presentation on GTD and how she uses Google Tools and Remember the Milk.

I attended Alex Kawas’ “The Art of Powernapping” – which was an awesome presentation – as well as Heather’s presentation on ooVoo, and saw all the free webcams in action. I was kind of bummed to have missed the sessions on Saturday, especially the Powerpoint Karaoke everyone was talking about. I’d also wanted to attend the Superviva presentation. Alas.

Mostly I lurked. Waddled around and lurked, and met up again with the Barcamp community whose faces are friendlier and more familiar each time I see them. ( I missed seeing Doug Welch and Dave/Penelope Bullock this time, though! ) I had a great conversation that had nothing at all to do with technology with Jason Cosper.

What I cherish most about Barcamp is the transparency and ego-less-ness of the organizing crew that puts it all together. The ad-hoc-ness that is the spirit of Barcamp allows for this community to come together and contribute to the knowledge sharing, the fun and the experience as an organic group, rather than a rigidly organized event.

I had joked to Miss Heathervescent, prior to this Barcamp, that I was going to call attention to her onstage, and force her to absorb some props and praise for the continuing work she does to foster a tech-based community here in Los Angeles. But in the true Heathervescent fashion, she prefers to do all the work behind the scenes, never really asking for credit, or validation or anything like that. That’s an amazing quality in an “ad-hoc” leader – someone who will do what it takes to make sure everything is organized, sorted, and that everyone has a good time, WITHOUT needing to loudly proclaim themselves the leader of the pack. How often does that happen – especially in LA????

Kareem Mayan was like that, too, I observed, during the first BarcampLA. Some people are just more interested in community building than personal notoriety. Some people are just willing to step up and take responsibility for all the details, the headaches and the politics involved in bringing a community together, without the need for being elected a Class President. When I saw Mack Reed going around, constantly taking out the recycling, cleaning up pizza boxes, I had to step back and appreciate that this Barcamp community is so fortunate to have people who are willing to volunteer their time and energy to facilitating such a great time for everyone else.

For creating a comfortable environment for geeks and non-geeks alike, for being great examples of graciousness, selflessness and general goodwill, for all the work that you did that no one ever sees, for handling the dirty details with diplomacy and in the best interest of everyone, as an attendee, I thank the organizers who make this experience of BarcampLA a unique and amazing event. You know who you are.

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  • heathervescent

    And thank you to the woman who brought that bag of Peet’s coffee with her to the reg table. I didn’t catch her name. She saw my twitter calling for coffee and took it upon herself to pick some up. I love that the tech community in LA is so opposite what people envision LA is all about.

  • chris holland

    Heather is like … “Jack”, in “Lost”. :) Everybody counts on her and she dodges credit :)

  • Carmen

    I know, Chris. That’s why I had to give her mad props. She makes Barcamp about the event and the people involved, and never about promoting herself or her accomplishments. I hope her ears are burning right now because we’re talking about her!

  • heathervescent

    Stop it already!