My First BarCamp

I spent portions of this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday attending my very first BarCamp, held here in Portland at CubeSpace.

The origins of BarCamp are interesting; back in 2005, O’Reilly held a user-generated conference called Foo Camp that was invite only. Lots of people wanted an invite (kind of like Web 2.0 Summit, ahem), but were shunned. So, they organized BarCamp, which followed the same principles of user-generated content. The name is a spin-off of foobar, which is not to be confused with FUBAR. Got all that?

If you’re wondering, BarCamp is a type of unconference. Basically, there’s a big board of meeting spaces on one axis and times on the other axis. People with a topic to present, place the topic summary in their desired spot, and the big board serves as the conference guide for those attending.

BarCamp Portland SponsorsThis weekend’s topics varied wildly, mostly around tech, primarily open source, which is very strong here in Portland. There were several other, “only in Portland” sessions like “How to raise chickens sustainably” hosted by Legion of Tech board member, organizer and chicken maven Selena Deckelmann.

Incidentally, sustainable food sources are a big deal in Portland, which is one thing I love about this town.

Anyway, I enjoyed milling around CubeSpace checking on sessions, exchanging ideas with people, networking (always), and drinking bubble tea. Portland has a very vibrant and well-organized tech scene, thanks in large part to the efforts of people like Selena, Dawn Foster, Rick Turoczy and many others.

You may be surprised to hear that Oracle was a sponsor of this BarCamp. Justin and Marius were nice enough to help out when I asked. People were somewhat surprised to see Oracle listed as a sponsor, so I had fun explaining a) what I do and b) why Oracle was sponsoring.

I highly recommend checking out a BarCamp, if you have the can. It’s a great opportunity to meet people, present your topic of choice and learn some stuff, all for free.




  1. Why did Oracle sponsor Portland BarCamp, and not Minneapolis BarCamp? Minneapolis has more BarCamp attendees than any other one in the hemisphere:

    Almost 300 signed up already for next week… And speaking of off-topic sessions, I'll be presenting “Communication For Geeks”

  2. @bex: Did you (or Billy) ask Justin to sponsor? I asked Marius, expecting a no, but he said yes and here we are. Your BarCamp may be bigger than ours, but we had bubble tea.

  3. Hey Jake – it was nice to hang out and talk. I dug your business sense. Hopefully I'll be able to attend the next Lunch 2.0. And when we finally get our cafe built where I work, maybe I can host 🙂


  4. I just emailed Justin, asking if he'd be interested in sponsoring… thanks for the idea!

    Bubble tea, eh? No bubble tea at MinneBar, but last year we had three kegs of microbrew. I guess we'll just have to settle for that 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.