Of Mice and Men: My first BarCamp

The first BarCamp I attended was in February 2008: BarCamp Hannover.

I wasn’t sure if I should go. I had doubts. It’s about a two hours drive by car from Hamburg. How would it be? Why should I spend “lots” of money to listen to some Internet stuff? The BarCamp itself is for free, but is it worth the money? Shouldn’t I better spend my time and money to get to somewhere else? Like going on vacation.

In the end it was one of the best decisions of my life. I learned many new things. Not only Internet stuff, but also something about me, uncertainty, prejudices, and comfort zones. Mine to be exact.

I can’t remember the content of the talks. Only the unconventional talks I can remember: Internet in China and head hunting. Although I haven’t been to both. An important part of attending a BarCamps is being open to new and interesting topics. And that doesn’t mean just internet technology or internet culture but completely different stuff.

I remember the participants very well. I still meet a lot of them five years later regularly at BarCamps and similar events. And I don’t want to miss this. And as one of those people Stefan called for writing about the first BarCamp people attended.

The experience that interested attendees don’t need an organizing middleman and that there’s no need for an “official” body to get permission from to create something awesome is one of the most important insights for me.

So: #barcamps #ftw

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Michael Nordmeyer

Freelance developer, project manager, consultant. Whatever role fits. Likes Ruby on Rails and JavaScript. Uses HTML/CSS to make the web a better place.