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From Nick Burch <n...@apache.org>
Subject BarCamp Apache Bangalore - mentor's report
Date Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:45:46 GMT
Hi All

TL;DR Great first event, very hopeful for future ones in Bangalore

I know we've got quite a few people considering running their first Apache 
BarCamp on the list, so I thought it might be worth me writing a longer 
than usual report on my experiences with the Bangalore BarCamp, to help 
highlight some of the great bits, and some things that you might want to 
learn from.

We've had discussions for a while about an event in India, but beyond 
local meetups we haven't had any larger events. I knew I was going to be 
in Bangalore, so on a little short notice I reached out to see if there 
was interest in a BarCamp if I provided mentoring. Radhika and Ram Ganesh, 
who help run the Banaglore CloudStack meetup stepped forward and kindly 
agreed to organise. However, the timeline was very tight, so I'd suggest 
future events allow more time from decision to date, to avoid stress and 
help get the word out more.

Because of the tight timeline, announcements didn't spread that widely, so 
most of the people who came were CloudStack meetup regulars or students. 
The more time you have between announcing date+venue and the event, the 
more you have time to reach out, so it's worth sorting that early. (ConCom 
can also help with venue costs if needed to unblock that.) There were some 
good suggestions for ways to get the message out wider, which'll hopefully 
help with #2. For others, on your first event, don't worry if you don't 
get a huge message out, but do take note of the suggestions from those who 
came for #2!

We only ended up with one room, as the second one turned out not to be 
available, which did somewhat limit things. (Two tracks was just about 
possible at times, but not ideal). Do double check on multiple rooms, as 
not everyone will be interested in the same things, so two tracks really 
helps with that. Another thing was the seating was set up for lecutres, 
luckily we quickly fixed that with volunteer help! Seating at the start 
sets the tone, so make sure it's laid out to encourage participation

One thing we hadn't realises was a lot of students were going to pop in 
for just 30-60 minutes between their Saturday classes. With only one room, 
the schedule board was at the front, and we didn't often have anyone at 
the back by the door, so people coming in late didn't know what was 
happening then+later. Having someone man registration is important, as is 
having a schedule near the entrance, but think about having rotas so 
one person doesn't miss out. The person on registration can do twitter / 
blogs etc, so they can have things to do when no-one new needs help. 
(Sylwia was great doing this in Oxford, but we don't always have someone 
like her at every event!)

Lunch was provided, which was good as it kept everyone there, let 
discussions continue, and allowed a prompt re-start. Don't forget the 
nightmare of the first 90 minutes after lunch in Atlanta - even a cheap 
lunch is better than nothing by a mile!

Drinks weren't available, but there was a tea stall just outside the room. 
I think it was about 10 cups of tea per USD 1, so didn't break the bank, 
and meant less mess than when it's been provided. Not an option in all 
venues though!

Feedback was collected at the end, and was very positive. As with DC, lots 
of people who didn't know what to expect, but enjoyed it. This time, we 
got people to also write down what they enjoyed/liked/etc, so we have a 
record to put up on the website in the run up to #2 to help people 
understand it better. Seemed to work well as an idea, though poor Radhika 
has lots of typing up to do...

We had a wide variety of experience/skill levels amongst audience members. 
I know I miss-pitched a few explanations, so it's worth checking 
especially early on. Plus, checking gets people involved! Labelling 
sessions as beginner/advanced might have helped (some topics had an intro 
session, and later more details), and a 2nd track to provide somewhere 
for people out of their depth on a topic to go instead can help!

Very few experienced barcampers attended (we found out later about the 
history of barcamps in the city that explained it). General info on 
barcamps / unconferences + what to expect + what to get out of it on the 
website seem very important for that sort of group, so worth doing if 
possible. Related, the intro was more of a monologue than I normally like, 
as there wasn't others to bounce bits to as normal. Really need to ensure 
there's two who can give the intro, to set the collaborative scene right 
from the start

Overall though, a great first event, hopefully everyone there learnt a 
lot, those of you planning events can learn, and looking forward to 
hearing a report on the 2nd BarCamp in Bangalore later in the year!

Nick

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