BarCamp comes to VendAsta, for a change.

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Saskatoon BarCamp 2011 at VendAsta.
(Note the many black VendAsta t-shirts in attendance.)

This past Saturday, the fourth floor of the Avenue Building was unusually crowded with smart people.

Why the mob? Because VendAsta stepped up to host BarCamp 2011, Saskatoon’s premier celebration of all things smart and geeky.

Last year, when BarCamp was at Louis’ Pub, we nonplussed attendees with our generous offer of free chicken strips. This year the only way we could outdo ourselves was by holding BarCamp right here in our office, where we could put up as many confusing posters as we wanted.

I should explain to our non-geek readers that BarCamp is the annual technology-themed social gathering that originated in Palo Alto in 2005 and has since spread around the world. BarCamp (the name references an obscure Silicon Valley in-joke) is an informal, semi-unstructured event combining the best aspects of computer day camp (jargon-filled presentations, whiteboard diagrams, geek-on-geek bonding) with the best aspects of a bar (proximity to alcohol). Participants are encouraged to speak on any aspect of technology and a schedule is put together on the fly.

Saskatoon BarCamp 2011 schedule.
The schedule (subject to revision).

Although VendAsta supplied a sizable contingent as usual, only two of us were brave enough to give a presentation this year. In his charming German-accented English, Andreas discussed Fighting Fragmentation With Fragmentation: Optimizing Android apps for Honeycomb and beyond. And in his Saskatchewan-accented English (no less charming in its way), Jeff Tomlin discussed the lessons learned from our company’s rapid growth over the last couple years. Besides Andreas and Jeff, many VendAsta associates, alumni, and long-lost friends spoke, like this guy, this guy, and this guy

I wasn’t there – I was at home frantically raking the yard in preparation for Sunday’s snowfall – but by all reports, events went swimmingly, due in no small part to Allan’s organizational efforts. There were fears of catastrophe early on when the keg resisted all attempts to coax beer out of it, but a solution was improvised, and the 150 or so thirsty attendees relaxed into a day of drinking, scarfing pizza, socializing, and learnin’ stuff.

So props to @allanwolinski, to @gingerk and her team of BarCamp volunteers, to @RhodesNathan who got the sound system running, to @blairkelsie who helped out behind the bar, and to our graphic design team of Liz and Marie-Louise, who in a week created all our signs and posters and this cool whiteboard illustration in the lounge.

VendAsta whiteboard drawing by Liz Syrnick.
VendAsta past, present, and future (illustration by Liz Syrnick).

Let’s do it again next year!

  • Looks like a pretty awesome event. Would love make it to next years! Keep me posted. I need to plan a trip,to come see & meet the team that is helping Comporium grow it’s media platform!

  • Also a big shout out to Nathan Rhodes for driving to Bridges and picking up kegs…… twice!