BarCampDallas – Microsoft really stepped up to the plate.

I feel like I can say this, especially since I don’t work for Microsoft anymore. They did a great job this weekend.


About the facilities:

Overall: The facilities were great – we could have easily had 300+ people with all of those rooms (there were around 40).


Low Lights: The wireless access was the most frustrating thing about the experience, it worked well for some, flaky for most, and not at all of others – but I understand that spotty wireless is a common problem at most BarCamps.


Mid Tones: Having to register at the front desk, and be escorted up (and sometimes down) the elevators. At first, we thought this was going to be a huge frustration point, but in the end – it actually wasn’t that bad. The security guys were pleasant, happy to have us there and very accommodating. The only thing that someone was told they couldn’t do was smoke in the non-smoking area – and they were quickly directed to the smoking areas. We could go out whenever we needed, and there was a phone at the front and back doors that we could contact the security guys with during the night to let us back in.


Highlights: The Microsoft guys that hosted BarCamp. Serious kudos to Dave Bost and Chris Bernard from Microsoft. They both flew all the way from Chicago just to help cover this event (since I no longer carry a Microsoft blue badge). They were at the front to greet most people when they arrives, and when it looked like we weren’t going to have food for lunch – they ordered *a ton* of food for us (read: a TON of food). We had sandwich platters for lunch barbeque for dinner and when no one was looking the refrigerator suddenly was stocked full of Monster drinks (blue and green), Rock Star Energy, and about ever type of beer that you can think of. I’m not sure how much they had to expense for BarCampDallas – but wow! They definitely came through and stepped up to the plate.


About the rest of the event:

Overall: Several people mentioned that this was one of the best BarCampDallas’s yet. Even though less people attended (weather? location? getting the word out? who knows). The people that WERE there definitely had a great time, and we got to have some of the best conversations ever. There were too many great people there for me to highlight all for me to highlight all of them.


Low Lights: More people would have been nice. This is actually a double edge sword. On one hand I would have loved see more people engaged in the weekend, and involved in the conversations… on the other hand – that would have also changed the dynamics… which I think worked well.


Mid Tones: As is true with most BarCamps (I’m told). We were a little unorganized. 😉 There were a couple of events that we had planned – and then didn’t do, and a couple more that we not even thought of until we did them… I guess that’s part of what makes BarCamp BarCamp.


Highlights: People, content and technologies. It was great to meet so many people and to catch of with several people that I already know. I know that I’d leave someone out… but I’d like to at least highlight a couple of people. Erica, Jay, and Christopher – for all of the planning, organization and effort that they put in to making BarCampDallas happen. Giovanni for doing a truly amazing job providing media coverage to the entire event. Kinan – for bringing some nice anti Microsoft angst to the event (I was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough there. 😉 – seriously Kinan does a great job standing up for services, linux and open source. Whurely for bringing the stickers and seriously – I have not laughed that hard in a long time – (I am going to go build the site if it hasn’t already been done). Jim – for providing a lot of balanced and honest input on the event, Cody and Jay for winning the “Web 2.0” Application Contest – they built a pretty cool idea over night. The robot guys for showing up and walking us through a pretty cool industry. Ingrid – for actually bringing a tent (cool!). Everyone that let me interview them for the next episode of CommunityCast.TV!


Content: Here is a quick overview of the sessions that I attended. Most of these were recorded by Giovanni, I’ll post to those once they are online.

  • Jay Fichialos – Started things off by going in to the “HackDays” that he is leading over at Sabre. They are 24 hour, free form sessions for corporations to throw for their developers. Sounds like fun!
  • Joseph Hill and Mark Terry did a great overview of their new project “Availitime”. I think that this was the first time that a start up had their launch party combined with BarCamp at Microsoft! It was a great product launch party with food, and some people stayed all night!
  • Aaron Baxtor (Top Site Marketing in Houston) – CSS Power. Aaron did a great job highlighting some of the tricks and approaches that he uses with CSS and non-obtrusive technologies.
  • Todd Manning  from BreakingPoint Systems – OS X Exploits and Patching – This was a great talk where Todd showed off some of his mad security skillz and highlighted some of the types of vulnerabilities that exist in applications today… he specifically pointed out a vulnerability in an open source application that he was able to patch and contribute to.
  • Joseph Hill & Mark Terry – Roll your own ISV, lessons learned. With their recent launch of Availitime, Joseph and Mark were on hand to discuss their experiences, insights and to learn form others.
  • Chris Bernard (Microsoft User Experience Evangelist) – What is UX? – This was so good we did it again! This truly was a great talk. So many people were buzzing about it the first night (which we didn’t record because nobody knew to push the red button 😉 that we asked if Chris would be able to give a similar talk on Sunday morning… he did, and we recorded it. Chris talks more about that here.


What others are saying…

·        The Real Adam; Adam again – BTW, he won the Xbox 360, sweet!

·        Kinan (Ximda) – Bar Camp Dallas III was a success.

·        Chris Bernard – Barcamp Dallas Recap

·        Erica O’Grady – BarCampDallas3 – The Aftermath

·        And then there’s this guy that says that he couldn’t get in. That’s so weird, because we were all in and out all night. I left him a comment, but he’s never called… I guess there is just no pleasing some people.

·        The “Official” BarCampDallas homepage.

·        Finally… go check out all of the photos from the BarCampDallas III.

·        Update: Giovanni shares his thoughts… and put’s the smack down on anti-Microsoft FUD..


We had a blast, and I am truly looking forward to more BarCamps!


About Caleb Jenkins

Caleb Jenkins is an international speaker, author and 6 time Microsoft MVP award recipient, he currently works for Solera as a Director of Software Development. An entertaining and informative speaker who approaches software from a fresh perspective that spans UX, agile practices and technologies for enterprise customers from across the globe. Leading UX product design teams, coaching multi-team agile transformations and architecting and mentoring at some of the largest companies in the world, As a long time community leader and former Microsoft Developer Evangelist, Caleb is well known for his engaging speaking style, depth of knowledge and creative energy. Founder and Principal Mentor of Proaction Mentors, former UX Manager and Agile Coach, Senior Architect for Six Flags Corporation, Product Architect on a Cloud Marketing Platform, Caleb has made a career out of empowering others while building products and teams that delight customers and solve business needs. You can follow him on twitter (@calebjenkins) or his blog, and if you're still reading this, then you could also subscribe to his blog RSS feed or sign up to receive updates by email