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The first Barcamp Sarajevo

Three days ago Sarajevo saw its first ever Barcamp, organised in just five days. Hat's off to @sidonath, @johnjoseph, @nesuss and @neshill for pulling it off! Impressive feat that.

Barcamp Sarajevo Venue
Barcamp Sarajevo Venue

The event itself was fantastic, a Barcamp going back to what a Barcamp is supposed to be - a bunch of people getting together, making an impromptu schedule at the event itself, most talks being hastily slapped together at the last minute because speakers still don't know what they'll be talking about before their morning coffee.

Or maybe that was just me.

Either way, Barcamps I've been to lately have been straying away from this ideal of an almost impromptu sharing of minds. They're becoming too much like full on conferences ... although I'm told it's impossible to have a homely Barcamp environment when 200+ people show up.

With less than fifty people the Sarajevo Barcamp was just perfect. Plenty of new people to meet a completely new crowd, while still small enough to be manageable for even the most shy of speakers.

Surprisingly few people were nervous however, good job speakers! Your presentations were pretty damn awesome and I had fun sitting in on all of them. A benefit of the single-room format as there were not enough people for two tracks.

In a startup nothing is true
In a startup nothing is true

The event wasn't very tech centric, so I learned a lot about the startup scene in Bosnia - of which there is more than I expected to be honest. It's looking pretty vibrant actually!

We even got to see the launch of a new startup Forum387. They claim it wasn't a launch and their website still asks for a password, but they promised we can start playing with the tech next week. A working product demo _done live _at a public event is a launch in my book.

Their approach to reviving forum software is pretty intriguing too. Should give Discourse a run for their money. They even have clients lined up! More than many startups can say for themselves.

I also learned that the unlocking is illegal fiasco we've witnessed lately has been long in the works by telephone companies. Way back in the early 50's you were not allowed to install a hush-a-phone on your device, but were advised to use your hand instead. Somehow that's better.

The future of forums
The future of forums

The appearence of speaker phones and subsequent lawsuit also set precedent and enshrined in law that we are allowed to connect any device to the network. Making the internet possible! \0/

And apparently spending 50% of your time working on opensource projects for free means you will never have money problems again. It's also all sorts of rewarding!

Personally, I discovered that giving presentations without slides is quite fun. Much more flexible than keeping track of what slide you're on, it's easier to move around the "stage" and jump up and down. Or rather, it feels more necessary and it's something I should be doing anyway.

But nobody will remember anything you say, which is a shame. Simple visuals help people remember important facts you wanted to convey.

That said, one of the coolest things about this Barcamp was that no talk went without questions. Almost all of them had a discussion going half the length of the talk itself! That's amazing and I think something that only happens when audiences are kept small enough.

It was truly an awesome Barcamp, definitely one of my favourites and I've been to many. The fact there was tea available is just icing on the cake.

7 of us waiting for Salep with our hosts and a cat in the coziest tea place ever
7 of us waiting for Salep with our hosts and a cat in the coziest tea place ever

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Published on February 12th, 2013 in BarCamp, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Public Speaking, Sarajevo, Travel + Events

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