Talking Twitter at BarCampCalgary2

twitter I decided to fully embrace the idea of BarCamp on Saturday, and put my name down to do a presentation. I hadn’t planned to do one, and I certainly didn’t have anything prepared, so it was a “game-time decision” as I like to say. I figured I’d talk about Twitter, since I talked about it all the time anyway. I titled my talk:

Why Twitter Will Rule The World

Catchy right? Must have worked, because there were a lot of people in the room. I started with a brief overview and introduction, and then started showing some third party tools that make Twitter really useful, such as Summize and TwitterLocal. I also spent a little bit of time extolling the virtues of FriendFeed.

The best part of the presentation was the discussion. We talked about the signal-noise ratio of Twitter, and decided that there’s value in noise. We talked about spam, how Twitter breaks news, the scalability issues, and where we see Twitter going in the future. It was great, and the questions people asked definitely gave me something to think about.

Maybe I’ll lead a Twitter discussion at BarCampEdmonton in July. Definitely seems as though there’s interest.

Thanks to John Bristowe for letting me use his laptop (mine wouldn’t output to the projector for some reason). You can follow me on Twitter here.

BarCampCalgary2

Just arrived in Calgary. I’m here mainly for BarCampCalgary taking place tomorrow at Mount Royal College from 10:30am until 3:30pm. More details are here, and a list of attendees can be found here. I’m curious to see how things will go tomorrow – I’m sure we’ll learn how to make Edmonton’s first BarCamp in July a success.

barcampcalgary

Sharon decided to come down with me, so we’re making a weekend of it. That means food plans! Tomorrow we’re going to check out JAROblue for dinner and possibly Tubby Dog. On Sunday, we’re going to go for brunch at Nellie’s (one of the locations, not sure which yet). And on the way back, the plan is to stop in Red Deer to see Tom, for food at one of these places.

Should be fun!

Recap: DemoCampEdmonton2

Tonight was Edmonton’s second DemoCamp – an opportunity for local startups and entrepreneurs to show the community what they’ve been working on. The venue and overall vibe of the event tonight was a bit different than the first DemoCamp, but I think it’s safe to say that DemoCampEdmonton2 was a success.

Again, we had six demos:

  1. Boris Djordjevic from Frontier Solutions
  2. Jack Newton from Clio
  3. Bruce Johnson and Scott Montgomerie from Zigtag
  4. Scott Winder from Boreal Systems
  5. Toby Spendiff from nForm
  6. Patrick Lor showed us a.viary.com

Frontier makes a product called SiteGears that helps companies bring products to market by integrating with businesses at all levels of the product lifecycle. Clio is a practice management service targeted at small law firms. Zigtag is in the social bookmarking space, and see themselves as the “future of search” in the long-run. Boreal Systems make an operations management application for companies in the energy industry. nForm makes a SharePoint add-on called Midori that helps small teams manage projects. And last but not least, a.viary is bringing the power of Photoshop to the web.

DemoCampEdmonton2

My “demo of the night” goes to Clio, with honorable mentions to both Boreal Systems and nForm. Clio’s app is very slick looking, and you can tell they’ve done their homework. They’re focusing on lawyers right now (Jack said that roughly half of the 1.2 million law firms in North America need something like Clio) but it’s easy to see how the app could be applied to other types of practices (like accounting). What I liked about Boreal was that although their app didn’t feel very modern at all, they had good reasons for doing everything they did (such as keeping the concept of a whiteboard schedule). And finally, nForm actually changed data live. They showed Midori actually working…that rocked!

Here’s more on DemoCampEdmonton2 and the participating companies:

  • My initial headcount was 61, but I suspect the final number was closer to 75 as people continued to trickle in all evening long.
  • Two demos used Windows XP, two used Windows Vista, and two used Mac OS X.
  • Clio, Zigtag, and a.viary are all hosted/SaaS solutions. Boreal Systems and Midori are both traditional host-it-yourself solutions. SiteGears is a combination of both.
  • SiteGears is primarily Java, Clio is Ruby on Rails, Zigtag is primarily Java, Boreal is almost finished migrating from PHP to Ruby, Midori is ASP.NET, and a.viary is Flash and Flex.
  • Again, we had a very diverse crowd. John Bristowe and Patrick Lor made it up from Calgary. James Matsuba, who won the Student Business Plan competition at this year’s VenturePrize, was in the crowd. Investors included Spencer Ord and Ken Gordon. Was great to see lots of new and familiar faces alike!

As I mentioned, the vibe was a bit different than the first DemoCamp which was held at the U of A. Choosing a bar as the venue makes for a more comfortable evening (with food and drinks) but it was a little harder to hear the presenters and questions. Another downside was the lack of free wifi, which kept me from liveblogging the event on Twitter.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Patrick Lor got up to present. Cam shared with everyone that Patrick was the driving force behind DemoCamp in both Calgary and Edmonton, so it was good for him to receive a round of applause as thanks from the Edmonton crowd.

Speaking of Calgary, Patrick mentioned that BarCampCalgary is happening on June 14th, so mark your calendars!

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight – see you at DemoCampEdmonton3! You can see some more photos of the event here. This post also appears at Techvibes.

UPDATE: For a more descriptive recap of the demos, check out Eric’s post.