Hong Kong's first ever Barcamp on the 15th of December 2007 was a great success. Around 70 Barcampers spread out over four meeting rooms of the Yahoo! offices on the 27th floor in Sunning Plaza to share information and show solutions they've built.
In comparison to other barcamps I attended (Paris, London, Munich) I was especially amazed by the wide range of topics. Classics like Seven ways to write better HTML were covered as well as Planning a startup in Hong Kong and Eclipse as a application framework right up to discussion rounds covering social aspects of the web, privacy concerns and online community support. The quality of the presentations and the local recognition of the speakers was very high and it felt great to see a community you don't hear that much about shed the suits and go grassroots for a day. There was no overnight stay, just a day of networking and learning about each other. This was a conscious decision of the organizers as they weren't quite sure how the Hong Kong community would respond to the concept of an unconference.
The full list of presentations is available on the barcamp wiki and the slides will to a large degree be available on slideshare. As there was certainly no shortage of cameras in use there are already several dozen photos on flickr.
The barcamp was preceeded by a social mixing event at the prestigious Why nightclub. This is also where the mass exchange of business cards started. In the end, my yield counted around 30 which is something I didn't quite encounter on other barcamps.
While Yahoo! provided the location, other sponsors helped with printing the T-Shirts (with the whole back covered in coloured and great logos) and food (sandwiches and drinks nothing Asian I'm afraid). Others sponsored the venue and drinks for the pre-party.
All in all it was a very enjoyable experience and I am not unhappy to have spent a day of my vacation there. It was great that it worked out very easily to get the organizers and Hong Kong Yahoos to agree on using our office as the location of the first HK Barcamp and I hope there are many more to come.
Photo by ryanne lai