Scenes from BarCamp New Orleans (a.k.a. BarCamp NOLA), Part 3


Here's another report covering our weekend at BarCamp NOLA. If you missed the previous two articles, they're here:

The Morning Sessions

I spent most of the first time slot at the session in the LaunchPad office. LaunchPad is a coworking space, and from the looks of the blackboard in their main room, there's a lot going on both there as well as in the New Orleans tech scene. Take a look at the developer-focused events taking place throughout the month: Net2NO, NOLA PHP, GNOCode and Ruby Bayou:


The first session was a great example of BarCamp cooperation in action. Three presenters didn't each have a full 45 minutes' worth of stuff to talk about, but their topics were related. They took advantage of this overlap and made the session a three-parter, each one taking about 15 minutes each. This is the sort of "everyone has something to bring, let's make it work together" ethos that BarCamp is supposed to encourage, and the BarCamp NOLA organizers Matt Tritico and Nicky Mast as well as the good techies, creatives and entrepreneurs of New Orleans are to be commended for keeping it alive.

The first part of the session was presented by Bear Peterson of Yoga Sherpa, who talked about financing your startup. He walked through the list of "the usual suspects", from a bank loan to bootstrapping to the dreaded "Three F's": friends, family and fools, and explains the pros and cons of each. As always, you've got to pick the financing path that works best for your situation, from the amount of money you need to when you expect to be profitable (always later than you think, even when you take the "it's always later than you think" rule into account) and your tolerance for risk.

Next up: our very own Developer Advocate, Edward Ocampo-Gooding, talking about technical recruiting.

Edward talked about his approach to technical recruiting, which is not to take the tired headhunter path of running keyword searches for programming languages, technologies and resumes, but to try a "pull" approach in which you hold events and gatherings to bring techies together or find and attend such events (such as BarCamps). It's a better way to get the word out that you're looking for talent and you'll also end up with a higher-caliber pool of candidates .

This was followed by Yelp NOLA's Jessica Rohloff doing some quick announcements for job openings at NOLA tech and creative companies:

...after which she went into her part of the session, which talked about how businesses could attract more customers and be found more easily by taking advantage of services like Yelp. 

Given that more and more people check reviews online before making purchases or deciding where to go out, having a solid presence on Yelp is very important. Jessica went through some of the first steps that business should take in her session.

At the same time as the session in LaucnhPad's offices, there were other sessions in the other rooms, like Tech Integration in a High School English Class, which took place in the room situated just off the I-P Building's lobby:

...and Kanban Cards in the Idea Room. Kanban is a scheduling process from the world of just-in-time manufacturing that a number of agile programming gurus have adapted to the production of software (my friend Joel Semeniuk will gladly drop mad Kanban science on you if you ask). 

And finally, in LaunchPad's conference room, another one of those cooperative multi-part sessions:

  • Social Media + Urban Planning = Making Real Change?
  • Crowdfunding

I spent most of the second session playing "The Ex-Microsoft Guy" at Chris Boudy's session on operating system convergence. He talked about how each of the major OS vendors -- Apple, Microsoft and Google -- are moving their respective operating systems for various platforms closer together, what with Apple making all their desktop and mobile OSs more like iOS, Microsoft making their operating system UIs more like Windows Phone's Metro and Google's Androidificatio of everything.

BatchBlue's Christelle Lachapelle, BatchBlue's representative on the BarCamp Tour for this trip, says that one of her passions is lunch. I had to concur, especially since I didn't have that much breakfast that day. Luckily for us, New Orleans is a city that takes its food -- even its conference food -- seriously. I'm going to have to hand the Best BarCamp Lunch of 2011 prize to BarCamp NOLA right now -- it was good. In fact, it was better than some of the lunches I've had at fancy-pants developer conferences that charge upwards of $2000. Well done, BarCamp NOLA.

Across from the lunch table was this sign thanking all the BarCamp NOLA sponsors. I felt they should be recognized, which is why I'm ending this post with this photo:

Next: The afternoon sessions.