This weekend I am attending BarCamp in Portland. This event is put on by the Stumptown Syndicate. They offer several amazing conferences that offer an alternative model to the high cost, over organized and pretentious conferences. Barcamp is an un-conference. It’s free, they take donations, of course, but they provide food and drinks and open the doors to all types of creative geeks and even non-geeks. Artists, open source developers from projects big and tiny, hardware hackers, web designers, community oriented organizers and the totally disorganized.
At the social gathering this evening their was a mini-makers fair. Here people demonstrated video games in alpha and unreleased state and community projects, like a website that helps neighborhoods develop a market of goods to sell or trade with each other, kind of a micro craigslist.com. There was a game where one of the player’s controllers was a piano, and a crowd-sourced font design project.
Tomorrow will be the un-conference. At this event the participants choose the topics and post their ideas on the grid of available rooms and times. Then the participants vote by attending those of interest and staying only as long as the topic is of interest. The pressure on the presenter is high, but the reward of a interaction with people that are genuinely interested in what you have to say, is amazing.
Tomorrow I will propose to run a round table discussion on what we, in the Health Information Technology business, call the e-patient. I am interested to see what this diverse population of mostly young people think about how they would like to interact technologically with the health care system , or not. Is technology considered part of the solution or part of the problem as it is currently used? I’ll let you know what I find out tomorrow.