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5 Questions for David Crow – Instigator, TorCamp


David Crow loves his Mac. He is a software designer, an agent provocateur, and a general trouble maker. When he’s not busy with client work, David can be found in downtown Toronto trying to build the next big cross-platform thing.

*One Degree: I’m not sure that many people in Canada are familiar with the major buzz happening around “camps” these days. Can you give us a little background on FooCamp and BarCamp?*
“FooCamp”: was started by Tim O’Reilly, the publisher of O’Reilly books – the technical ones with the woodcut drawings from the Dover copyright-free archive. FOOCamp, FOO stands for Friends of O’Reilly, is an invitation only event at the Sebastopol, California campus of O’Reilly publishers where 200 people spend the weekend sharing their works in progress, the latest tech toys, hardware hacks and tackling interesting problems together.
“BarCamp”: is a response from the community. Where FooCamp was invite only, BarCamp is open. “BarCamp”: is an non-exclusive, open alternative to FooCamp. BarCamp is an opportunity for people to share and learn in an open environment. There have been BarCamp events in Palo Alto and Amsterdam, and planning for New York City, Boston, London, and Vancouver.
FooCamp and BarCamp are based on the OpenSpace conference concept. “OpenSpace”: is an unstructured format, where you do not pre-plan activities and speakers. Instead, you provide a basic framework of time and space, allowing the attendees to figure out what happens. The conference self-organizes around the attendees and ideas.
*One Degree: Why did you instigate TorCamp?*

I am fed up with the professional networking and special interest groups in Toronto. These groups tend to attract similar individuals, interested in the same things. They felt very siloed according to practice area. I wanted something different. Something where the ideas are as important as the venue. Much of what we think of as innovation is the creative tension between differing viewpoints. FooCamp and BarCamp brought together diverse individuals all “doing” interesting things. TorCamp is about bring this same excitement to Toronto. TorCamp is a chance for geeks to collide with marketers to collide with VCs… and it’s based on ideas, not constricting roles or silos. TorCamp seemed like a great opportunity for me to reach out to the people in the Toronto community I wanted to meet, invited them to an event, have collisions and start to build new conversations.
*One Degree: What can people expect if they attend TorCamp – and will we have to bring sleeping bags and marshmallows?*
First off, there will be no camping.
TorCamp is happening Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26. Friday night we’ll get together, network, begin putting up ideas for sessions. We use a two-dimensional grid of times and rooms. We will start Saturday morning by getting everyone together in a room. We will invite the group to propose sessions, anyone can propose and lead a session, they do this by announcing to the group what the session is about and giving it a title which will go on a sticky on the grid later. Once we have a bunch of sessions, we then invite the presenter to schedule the session. It’s up to the presenters to put their session on the grid. Once the sessions are on the grid, we’ll just let things roll. People can move between sessions, participate in the discussions.
People should be prepared to participate. Not everyone will present a session, but “Martin Fowler”: describes the one law of Open Space – The Law of Two Feet: if anyone finds themselves in a place where they are neither learning nor contributing they should move to somewhere more productive. The goal is to provide an opportunity to demonstrate, discuss, and participate in making TorCamp successful.
*One Degree: Who should attend?*
Anyone. Geeks, developers, designers, technical writers, bloggers, foo fighters, industrialists, marketers, hardware hackers, open-source proponents, canucks, anyone. Be prepared to participate. Tired of toiling alone, looking for collisions, come show us the latest thing you’ve been working on.
*One Degree: How can people get involved?*
“Sign up for TorCamp.”: We’re looking for participants, sponsors, and ideas.