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Founders of PodCamp See a Bright Future

I don’t think when Chris Brogan and Christopher S. Penn  started PodCamp Boston in September 2006 that they knew they were starting a movement. But a mere two years later, PodCamp is a worldwide phenomenon for creators of new media and an inspiration to participants.

Last February, at PodCamp Toronto, approximately 60% of those in Chris Brogan’s opening session, Social Media & Networking Starter Guide, were attending their first PodCamp. “It’s really heartening to see the interest in podcasting and new media growing, to me that’s a big success story in itself,” said Jay Moonah, one of the PodCamp Toronto organizers.

With the first PodCamp Montreal kicking off this weekend, it’s a perfect time to talk to Chris and Chris about the growth of the event, and where they see it going.

I spoke with Chris Brogan about the success of PodCamp last February in Toronto:

(You can see the 6 rules of PodCamp here.)

Recently, I asked Christopher Penn three questions about the evolution of PodCamp and the vision for the future.

AM: Montreal is the 3rd Canadian city to host PodCamp (after Toronto
and Ottawa). What was the most surprising location request that you’ve
received, and how did it turn out?

CP: Cape Town, South Africa – not only did it turn out well, but it was the first carbon-neutral PodCamp!

AM: What did you learn about the process of moving from a free model to a paid model for PodCamp Boston 3?

CP: People are a lot more likely to show up and be committed,
participate, and be energized when they have some money in the till.
Money is a proxy for commitment in today’s world, a tangible indicator
of a promise, and both Boston and Philadelphia had attendance rates in
excess of 80%, far above the 40%-50% of previous free versions.

AM: How would you like to see PodCamp grow?

CP: Imagine for a moment that your industry, that your specialty, is a
single post, a single beam. It represents your vertical, everything
you’re good at, and also everything that’s wrong with your industry’s
growth. It’s fishbowl. It’s vertical. It’s a silo, an echo chamber in
which no new ideas flow in or out.

You keep struggling to find new ideas, new innovations. Event
conferences in your industry are the same old, same old, with vendors
marketing the same solutions to yesterday’s problems.

Now imagine you found a way to tie together your vertical with others.

Imagine you found a way to bridge the gap between your vertical, your
silo, your fishbowl, and not just with one other silo, but with a ton
of silos. Imagine a series of fishbowls connected, so many that you
effectively have an ocean to swim in. Imagine you found the
commonalities among verticals that were strengths, and that working
with others in completely unrelated fields helped mitigate your
individual weaknesses.

This is the mission of PodCamp. Bring together everyone from different
worlds who want to learn, share, and grow your new media skills. Bridge
the gap between pools of ideas so that the best ideas are accessible to
everyone, and the power of friends working together can overcome the
obstacles that by yourself stood in your way.

PodCamp Montreal is September 20 – 21, 2008. If you are interested in hosting a PodCamp in your community, you can find out how here.

One Degree is a proud sponsor of PodCamp Montreal.