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BarCamp Austin 2009

From its first year, I was committed in principle to BarCamp Austin but couldn’t quite seem to get away from SXSW Interactive long enough to make the scene. This year I made 100% commitment to go. Steve Golab of FG Squared wanted me to join him in a talk about Austin’s potential as a hub of the social media world. We grabbed a slot, but Steve had an emergency and had to leave before we spoke, so my friend Tom Brown stepped in to help, and I changed the presentation to something more general: how do you make a scene that involves diverse cultures and communities – the Open Source geeks, the Chamber of Commerce suits, the Bootstrappers and all the people brewing businesses from ideation through valley of death to growth? We talked a lot about the potential of coworking to bring voices from all these communities together in synergistic conversations. We were getting close to thoughts about solutions (with contributions from Sherry Lowry, Julie Gomoll, and others) but a half hour’s not along time. I’d love to continue that conversation somewhere.

Comments

  1. I’d like to continue the conversation as well. I think there’s a lot to think about re: diverse cultures and how we encourage cross-pollination and convergence.

    As far as Austin becoming the social media capital of the world – I don’t really understand what that means. We use it the most? We have the most followers? It strikes me as more of the tendency to consider social media as an end in and of itself, which drives me nuts.

    Maybe it’s time for a SocialMediaCamp…

  2. Agree about social media as an end in itself… but I think he meant this should be the place most innovative with social media. That’s my take, anyhow.

    There actually was a social media camp a couple of months ago, as I recall… but another could be great.

  3. I looked into coworking spaces in Austin, and I only found one currently operating — and it cost nearly as much as renting an office would have. A place that was more work-friendly than a coffee shop but similarly full of people would be great for freelancers of all stripes — and there are tons of them in this city.

  4. Carly, have you checked out Jelly in Austin?
    http://wiki.workatjelly.com/JellyInAustin

    It’s a weekly gathering for coworking at Cafe Caffeine in South Austin.

    Anybody could set up this kind of informal coffee-shop gathering for coworking, and when you have quite a few co-workers show up, the space becomes, inherently, work-friendly (depending how you define that). To have a space that offers more, e.g. office equipment, teleconferencing equipment, conference rooms, etc., there’s an overhead that seems to require charging office rates. I’ve heard of coworking facilities in other cities where anyone can show up and work free, but I’m not sure what their business model is or what they provide. Worthy of more investigation…

  5. There’s Caroline Collective in Houston, which charges something like $75 monthly for membership at the low end. They also let people just show up for drop-in. I think they’re operating at a low/non-profit level, though. I’ll look into Jelly in Austin, though it’s a bit of a hike for me.

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