Barcamp Austin III

During the early part of March, the masses come down to Austin for SXSW. But it’s not the only ticket in town. Not by a long stretch. There are lots of other great things to do in Austin at the same time. For me that means BarCamp Austin III.

Will Hurley, or @whurley as he is more commonly known, has been the evil genius behind this fast growing annual event. With the help of Giovanni Gallucci (@giovanni) and a whole host of great volunteers, the previous barcamps have been a good combination of sharing and fun. Truth be told, I modeled PodCamp San Antonio after last years open, loose and laid back BarCamp Austin II. Well, minus the bar part.

I knew things were going to be different at this years barcamp when I first saw their smoking logo. It was confirmed when we walked into the GSD&M|Idea City building which was host to the event. From the high tech sign-in to improv to the iPhone Dev Camp it was the best BarCamp ever. Ladies and Gentlemen the bar has been set and it’s been set high. The swag wasn’t too shabby either.  I do have to give kudos for having shirts styles especially for the ladies. It was a very nice and often overlooked bonus.

Different from last year were sessions held in separate rooms vs. having all the sessions in one main area with room for breakouts.  This was good in that it allowed for more sessions to happen. The drawback for me was missing out on sessions I wanted to attend because they were all happening at the same time.  My favorite presentation was the Half-Baked session in which we created a company to pitch to VC in 15 minutes.  It was invigorating. You know how I much I love my coffee. So, when I tell you that session did more to wake me up than the coffee I drank earlier, I want you to know just how energizing the experience was.

Now with all these folks in and out of sessions there is a tendency to get hungry and thirsty. Well those needs were met thanks to great sponsors like Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Independence Brewery and Sweet Leaf iced tea. I know I certainly enjoyed the grub and tasty brew.

The big surprise was the BattleBot presentation of Steel Reign or as it’s now being referred as, “When Robots Attack”.  I’m still scratching my head wondering just what the AC unit said to Steel Reign to tick it off so much. Well, Steel Reign showed it who was boss.

The barcamp fun continued on with the evening portion of the festivities. A concert by   Soulhat was followed by karaoke fun with Karaoke Apocalypse. What’s more American than hot dogs, beer and a concert?

If BarCamp Austin was a youngster and BarCamp Austin II was a rowdy teenager, then I would have to say that BarCamp Austin III was a akin to debutante ball. Yes, BarCamp Austin is all grown up and with style to spare!