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# A Postscript to "Growth at the grassroots"

The Ottawa "micro-company" scene that I'm a part of got some exposure in the Ottawa Citizen today: Growth at the grassroots.

This is fantastic exposure -- both for the current people in the scene but also to show people in the tech business that yes, it's possible for startups to thrive in Ottawa. Craig Fitzpatrick from devshop and Scott Lake from Shopify got some great press. Ottawa can have the reputation as an innovative "Silicon Valley North" again if we keep this up.

The article covers a lot of territory but that leaves a lot of gaps in the whole story, especially when it comes to DemoCamp and BarCamp. I'm certainly not faulting the author -- he has a limited amount of time and space. I'll just do what bloggers do and fill some of gaps with what I know.

The first Ottawa BarCamp held at bitHeads last year was a success but the organizers wanted to let another group take the reins. I joined this new organizing group last year through Mark Stephenson from Axionic.

Although the organizing group has had various members come and go to help out, there was a core group of people that met regularly. This core group before OttawaBarCamp3 was Sonny Juane and Melany Gallant from Ramius, Peter Childs, Ian Graham, Mark and myself. We also got some help from Eric Hagborg from Axionic and Geoff Waddington from RealDecoy and many other people along the way.

As a team we organized last fall's BarCamp, CaseCamp, two DemoCamps and another DemoCamp this year. Every one of the team members brought something different to the table and it made organizing and running the events that much easier. It was a pleasure to work with everybody and I think the team did a great job.

We learned a lot of lessons and met regularly to discuss how to make the events better. And as we held more events we became more efficient. It should be said that core group has laid the groundwork for a lot future *Camp events. I had a fairly minor role in it so I'm probably allowed to say these people deserve a lot of credit.

As far as I know the organizing group for OttawaBarCamp3 has changed. I didn't have time to help with this event so I'm not sure who is helping to organize BarCamp now -- but I believe there are some representatives from Carleton University. It's at Carleton University this Saturday all day and I'm sure it will be great, you should go!

posted at March 29, 2007 at 12:08 PM EST
last updated December 4-, 2007 at 02: 1 AM EST

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# An Abuse Trifecta

I was just about to write a post explaining how my less frequent blogging is a lack of something I need to talk about when this abuse happens to Kathy Sierra. Please, go read it. Kathy Sierra is a major figure in the Web 2.0 movement, so it's getting a lot of attention. I agree with Tim Bray: we need to shine a bright light on this kind of bad behaviour.

A lot of people are pointing to the general anonymity of the Internet as the problem. Others think it's the gender imbalance of the tech industry, calling the industry and some of the players in it sexist or misogynistic.

I don't disagree with those points, but here's where I add a few cents that I haven't seen out there yet...

I'd like to say I'm surprised and shocked by these ugly events -- but I'm not. Anyone who has been on the Internet for more than ten years (or around any networked technology like BBSs, newsgroups or IRC) and explored their deep dark corners knows that nothing -- not even with the threat of the law -- is taboo. This freedom, of course, is one of the Internet's strengths and weaknesses at the same time.

I'm not condoning the behaviour, absolutely not. I'm just saying it's not unexpected. I have mixed feelings about the 'shocked' reaction. Bloggers have been abused (anonymously or otherwise) for a long time and so have celebrities. Now we have a female celebrity blogger -- a target trifecta on the Internet, if you will -- taking abuse from other bloggers/commenters and we're surprised and shocked? Please. It happens every day to people online, they just aren't all celebrities or women (or both).

Even though I think the ugliness is status quo, the strong reaction helps bring this issue to the attention of the blogosphere, at least for a few weeks anyway. That's good, we need to keep talking about it.

posted at March 27, 2007 at 04:13 PM EST
last updated December 4-, 2007 at 02: 1 AM EST

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