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Foo Camp is a Failed Model – Robert Scoble hosting a nofoo get together August 26, 2006

Posted by John in Technology.

Why I don’t like O’Reilly’s event is that it is closed. Prediction:  In a world of ‘shared media’ the Foo Camp model fails. 

I’ve never had a conversation with Tim O’Reilly but there seems to be a sentiment against him.  I like his conferences and events but his Foo Camp event comes across as a filtered who’s who event.  This worked in the old world but not now.  Last year Ross Mayfield hosted BarCamp which was open to all.  To me the open Bar Camp model works.  We’ll see how long the Foo event lasts.  The new model is open unconferences or at least syndicated.  At least produce some podcasts and videos to folks who can’t attend.  In a world of ‘shared media’ the Foo Camp model fails.

With that Robert Scoble is hosting a informal get together at the Ritz in Half Moon bay which is in his new neighborhood. 


1. Mike Rogers - August 26, 2006

I would agree the open model works. What they should do is open it up via live blogging and a video blog. There seems to be no productive community there at Foo.

2. Jay - August 26, 2006
3. Jay - August 26, 2006

Sorry – should have said – scroll to the end for an explanation of why Winer doesn’t get invited to these parties.


4. Brian McConnell - August 27, 2006

I went to the first FOO Camps, before it was an a-list event that people cared about being invited/not invited too. It was never intended to be an “important event”. It was, as the name implies, Friends of O’Reilly, which mostly meant authors, regular contributors and other interesting people. I was/am a regular O’Reilly author, so somehow I got on the list (not this year).

It’s easy for people to throw mud on Tim for being elitist, etc, but it’s worth remembering that he saw a market in publishing manuals for technologies that are now the basis for most of the internet economy, and was way ahead of the curve in this respect. Tim’s company has been publishing ‘missing manuals’ for a long time, long before any of this stuff was “news”. As a consequence of that work, he has a pretty extensive and eclectic rolodex. So his parties are stocked with some interesting and well known people.

I can’t speak for O’Reilly of course, but my recollection of the first two camps was that it was more of a reunion for people who’d been involved in the company in some way than an industry event like PC Forum. Had some people not paid so much attention to it, it probably would have stayed that way. But then it turned into an “event”, and people naturally started worrying about their place in the pecking order.

I mainly appreciated it as an opportunity to spend time and have a drink with the editors I’d worked with there over the years, not as a chance to corner _fill in name of celebrity du jour_ with my idea for the next big startup. It’s kind of a shame that it’s taken on the perceived importance that it has. At least from my view, it wasn’t started that way.

Criticize the concept if you want, but the man did build a highly regarded publishing business long before it was sexy or profitable to print books on topics like administering tcp/ip networks. It’s kind of ironic that the idea of an un-conference, which FOO was, is now being criticized because they made a decision to keep it at a manageable size rather than relocate to the LA Convention Center or the Black Rock Desert.

Just saying…

5. John Furrier - August 28, 2006

Thanks Brian,
I am starting to understand the FOO thing. It sounds like it was just an informal get together for Tim’s publishers and friends. I’m not critizing the concept…Hell I used to go to the Agenda and PcForums there you pay big bucks and it was exclusive and all… I never met Tim but respect his accomplishments. He should just downplay FooCamp and position it as a be all event.

6. FooCamp is not a Failed Model it’s not a Model « John Furrier - August 28, 2006

[…] I got comments and many private emails regarding my post calling FooCamp a Failed Model.  […]

7. Conferences and Elitism « John Furrier - September 4, 2006

[…] Tom Coates writes a post on the Foo experience regarding the elitism.  I wrote a post on this last weekend.  Then got some mail from folks and wrote a followup post. […]

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