Finally http://barcamp.org/BarCampBoston is here. I had high hopes going to Maynard and I was not disappointed. The crowd was mainly 25+ and had a slant to the professional, rather than the geek with college credentials. However, the first day was a lot of fun.
The folks from Monster Inc. welcomed us and we started the day with a breakfast, studying the big scheduling wall and watch it change every ten minutes as new events were posted and others were moved around. A good start was the introduction round, where a microphone was passed around and everybody who wanted introduced him- or herself shortly. The elevator speeches were definitely professionally presented.
- My first session around 11 am was called “From idea to realization”, held be Sudha Jamthe. She told the story of her remarkable experience raising 1 Mio in 40 days in the heydays of the bubble and what she learned how the VC and Angel investor world works. She said she sees many hopeful entrepreneurs who are hopeful because the some VC told them “If you improve this function on your software we can fund you”. She said in her experience this stage can last up to three years (with changing VCs in the process) and no successful funding. She said, you need to get at least one customer that buys the product to overcome this cycle. Her best advice was to not avoid the VCs but use their advice and do not pin your hope on the money. Sudha also said, the best advisers for a start-up are those former entrepreneurs that are back into some kind of corporate executive job. They are not focused on investing and money and they are not high paid professional advisers. But the miss the entrepreneurial spirit and if you can bring some of your enthusiasm to them it rewards them for helping you and sharing their wisdom with you. Off course your idea must catch fire in their mind. All around an excellent session.
- Shimon Rura, gave a thought provoking session about better UI’s. He applied some psychological insight to the topic. One that stuck in my head was give the user immediate reward. Every step must present some useful information. In other words avoid long navigations paths and query only forms. Instead list the most useful information right away and allow for further filtering or deeper navigation.
- Another excellent brainstorming session was held by Andy Singleton from Assembla. He wanted to explore the vision of a Software reactor. His basic assumption was that all resources, like people, talent, QA, code, etc. are abundant and if qualified in the right way and given the right incentives one could build an awesome virtual software organization (a software reactor). The crowd wasn’t really convinced that all resources are abundant and we tested this assumption quite a bit. I certainly had the feeling that Andy went home a step forward in his thought process of this issue (or should we call it a business model?).
All in all, the first day was shock full of great sessions and a multitude of one on one’s.
Read more about the second day at BarCamp Boston.