Sunday, November 06, 2005

Seattle Mindcamp 1.0

After a nice shower and lunch, I wanted to sit down and reflect on the past 48 hours and the first ever Seattle Mind Camp. From 10 a.m. Saturday through noon today, Sunday, around 140 smart people convened in an empty office building to think, share and play together. Many geeks, some proto geeks, inventors, creators, thinkers, risk takers. With an Open Space format, we created our experience, well augmented with food (thanks to our sponsors!), "cool stuff" that people brought to share (tiny lizards, a Segway, a Tango electric car, a wind zapper, etc. etc.), and a warm self-organizing spirit, we had a great time.

Ted Leung has been saying for some time that there are a lot of cool people doing cool things in Seattle, but we don't know each other. Andru Edwards took that thought and rallied a group of us to do something about it with the creation of Mind Camp. The idea emerged right around the time of Foo and Bar camps and we learned from them as we moved our ideas forward.  
We started Saturday with the now-traditional "three word introductions." (Little did I know that a technique some of us have been using to break the ice with online groups for the last 10 years would show up as geek cool again!) I captured all the words on a wall chart, then Ponzi and I copied them on to card stock and created a "Mind Camp Poetry Remix Wall." (Photos on Flickr). I was is neither a particularly cerebral state, nor in a place to live blog, which is my normal habit. I'm glad I steped into this more physical and artistic realm yesterday. It was the right move for me.

We then had a great lunch, lots of getting to know, and filling out our schedule grid. Anyone who wanted to present or convene a session could and did. We'll have the grid up on the Seattle Mind wiki later to give a sense of what we talked about. And from then on the train had left the station. From the looks of it, some folks powered through barely sleeping. I hear there was a wild Werewolf game that started around midnight and ran till 5am.

I deeply enjoyed the sessions on women in technology, coffee hacks (boy, that was great coffee), DeathWalk 1 (personal growth), technology and disaster relief (which kept going till 1:15 am!) and this morning's session on libraries and internet access.

More than the sessions, I was impressed by the warm and open atmosphere. Often when I go to tech related events where I am one of few women (and yes, we need to get more women to these things. Where were some of you who said you were coming??), it takes some work to slide into the group groove. At MindCamp I felt it from the get go. The only cold shoulder I got was some looking-down-the-nose at the fact that I had a windows laptop! But heck, I never even used it. Amazing.

I'll try and write up more, but I wanted to post while the glow was on. At the end of today, we did a check in with "likes" and "changes" for next time. Great suggestions, great affirmation that a good time was had, and the best new idea: A Geek Swap Meet. Andru says we'll do it again in 6 months. Believe me, don't miss it!

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Blogger Roland Tanglao said...

Please come to Northern Voice 2005 and do one of your cool diagrams!

8:49 PM  

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