So, we've cleaned up, shut down the wireless routers and projectors, stacked the plastic chairs, recycled the pizza boxes and beer bottles, paid the hotel bills, sent the cheque out and gone home to reflect on a fun and successful weekend.
BarCampSheffield really did exceed my expectations. How can an event with so little organisation and promotion succeed? I guess it's just all down to the people participating in it. Just look at the great pile of photos (over 400 now!) that were being uploading during the day, or the positiveblogresponses that have sprung up over the past couple of days. You lot made it work, not us. All we really did was provide you a with a great big room to fill with your enthusiasm.
What has disappointed me about it though, was the turn out of people from larger Sheffield companies. Don't get me wrong, we had the right number of people, (any more and we wouldn't have had enough pizza!) but where was Technophobia, Insight UK, Magic Number or even HSBC, whose European IT headquarters are over the road?! What about students from The Sheffield University or the Sheffield Hallam University? We had more students from Leeds Beckett University than locally! (Admittedly, Dean did go up and blackmail them into coming!). I don't get it.
PlusNet has spent a long time with it's doors closed, looking inwards, presuming we are the experts, and not embracing the real internet/web community that lies outside of our walls. This year we've gone to FOWA, FOWD, Internet World, Usability in Practice and even SXSW and would advise any developer out there to stand up and go hassle their boss to get them tickets to one of these things. It's amazing the amount of stuff you can learn by getting out of your environment and spending a few hours seeing how other people do it. Hell, I'm talking to Meecard and Thinkfold after their application demonstrations on Sunday about the possibilities of using their applications to help us internally!
Get it? You might even get customers!