I spent the weekend at Barcamp in Leeds. Barcamps are getting quite common now, but it is really nice to see communities all around the UK joining in.
With almost 100 attendees, the technology community in the North of England is really buzzing. I was impressed by the range of people that came--everyone from UNIX hackers, web developers, startup founders, and designers.
Some of the strangest parts of this particular event: the very adorable ferret and the YMCA singalong. Still, there was plenty of geekery as well. One of the most interesting sessions for me, and something that would be useful all over the world, was a discussion on how to create and support local tech communities.
There were a few really good ideas on ways to encourage community. Events are an obvious thing, but starting them can be really hard. Two valuable resources: a list of geek-friendly venues and contacts among university professors (with access to lecture halls). Communities also need resources to get going; several people highlighted how visiting larger cities with more mature, established tech communities has been helpful in finding sponsors and identifying investors interested with an interest in engaging more locally.
YDN loves community. If you have a community that you are trying to bootstrap, maybe we can help. Drop me a mail to Tom Hughes-Croucher at yahoo hyphen inc dot com I'd love to hear from you.
Yahoo! Developer Network