When I was progressing through education, September was, naturally, a very busy time of year, with new starts and changes to the way my time was squandered: more homework, less homework, more socialising, less socialising, more free time, less free time. Generally, Septembers would set the tone for the rest of the year.
Since entering the real world, these flurries of activity seem to occur far more irregularly but this year is refreshingly different, with September being marked once more by a flurry of activity, much of which is an indicator (hopefully) of how the coming year will shape up.
school build-up starts with Reading, over the last weekend of August. Whilst I’ve been to a fair few gigs, I’ve never been to Reading Festival before and I’m getting pretty excited about it now. Granted, some of the acts I’d been hoping to see have pulled out or simply weren’t going this year, but it still looks like there’s a decent line-up.
Then we enter September, and the web-standards conference year kicks off with a quick one-two punch of BarCamp London and d.Construct 2006. d.Construct 2005 was my first web-standards conference and, if last year – along with the line-up for this year – is anything to go by, this year should be stellar.
What is BarCampLondon? Think of it as a way to get the tech/geek community together in London at the end of the summer. What will happen during the event? Only one thing is certain: It’s up to you to decide. The most important thing you should take away from the event? Relationships with other geeks!
This openness permeates every facet of the ‘conference’: rather than a formal gathering at a conference venue, with all the attendees staying in the local swanky hotel at great expense, BarCampers are expected to bring a sleeping bag and pillow, and all find somewhere to camp at the venue. This, to me, is incredible: I’ve often said (although obviously not on nascentguruism, what with not posting much) that the biggest reason for attending any conference is the social aspect.
Add to that the idea that first-timers are expected to contribute (usually by way of presenting something or leading a discussion), and things really start getting exciting. This entirely demolishes the established ‘get an industry figurehead to talk from a pedestal’ approach: everyone is equal, and everyone has something to contribute.
And so I’ve landed my first public speaking gig.