Notes: Tantek Çelik Presentation: Creating Building Blocks for Independents

The following are my panel notes from SXSW. As I am not the fastest typer I have paraphrased what was said. Should you notice any mistakes please do point them out in the comments for corrections.

Tantek Çelik Chief Technologist, Technorati
Creative Commons Attributions license.

Independent: someone that dares to think or do something on their own. Often outside or against established conventions

Building Blocks:

  1. Tools resources or techniques
  2. Built by experts
  3. Useable by no-experts
  4. Combine with other blocks
  5. Build large from smaller blocks


Blogger: Blogger allowed you to publish content on your own site

Creative commons: Very inspirational: If anyone wanted to use content needed to ask for permission (US) The other was open source MIT license GPL etc. Creative commons solved the problem by giving us a legal building block.

Wikis: Allows collaboration

IRC: Back channel (no wifi :-( )Doesn�t require registration. So no email address required. IRC is very efficient and uses very little network resources. It still works even with restricted bandwidth as its history is from the days of dial-up modems.

Tag: allows you to easily categorize info, which broadens its reach for many people. Without trying you end up collaborating.

Microformats: All the new technologies where created by programmers. Instead microformats makes it possible for content producers to do things with the tools that people already know (HTML and CSS).

SuperHappyDevHouse: Based in San Francisco. Parties were shut down. So they decided to hold a geek hackfest to get people together to program on a project. Sociological building block. Inspiration drawn form SHDH.

foo camp: 150 people that were Friends Of O'reilly. they had tents and wi-fi and rooms and let people figure out what to do across 3 days. Larry and Sergei from Google were there. Inspiring and jealous of the exclusive gathering. The following year I was invited. Tantek begged for a spot there.

how a foo camp works:
you all get there on a Friday night and Tim O'Reilly opens it up and everyone gets 3 words to introduce themselves. Program grid of sessions with the names of rooms and the equipment and timeslots it was a free for all to set up the sessions.

2005 came around and Tantek wanted to go back to foo camp. It got closer and he didn't get invited back. (It's ok to admit negative emotions.) If you take them and challenge them you can do something with it so Tantek started bar camp.

For a while the idea was forgotten. Then the next day Tantek got an invite to foo camp. Chris Messina, Matt Mullenweg got together to sort out barcamp. Installed quiki a wiki script and they cloned the foo camp wiki. Organized within a week.

Video showing the barcamp geekout!

The original bar camp had 6 days to be put together which meant everyone was focused on the job at hand. 300 people came to barcamp. Could this be something that could be replicated. the question was "Is this a one-off?" People got in touch saying they wanted to create their own barcamp. So they documented everything they did on the wiki so that you ended up with a guide how to create your own barcamp. bar camps happened in Dallas, Amsterdam and India.

action: create
Think about creating building blocks of code design and process and legal stuff that can further inspire other people both like you and people not like you.

action: empower. We are all here because we all wanted to be here. That's not everyone. How can we create building blocks for ourselves and also for your friends and for your community, but what about the people without internet, that don't even know what a blog is.

Q: what came out of barcamp that was tangible
A: Talk to those who went to barcamp and would they do it again or not.

Barcamp mutated into new things. Mashup camp, mashpit,

People have tried to disrupt barcamp but those doing good have tended to outweigh the bad people.

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