On Saturday afternoon, I made a late arrival at SocialDevCamp East. I had originally been told of the event by IM from Rob Carlson, and Greg Cangialosi had mentioned it in a blog post last week. I had filed it in the back of my head, as Saturdays tend to be my lazy day–sleeping in, getting some stuff done around the house, and other such things. As I set to work on a minor technical issue, I twittered about what I was up to. Greg twittered back that I should swing by and make the after-party at Brewer’s Art. I am glad I went.
I was pretty amazed to see the turnout that the event had, and I have to agree with what some others have said. The tech community in this area has truly needed something along these lines. I also think, though, that the event needed to be away from the usual place where things like this happen: Washington, DC. There really is a lot more to the region’s tech community than just the District. I also think that its proximity to Penn Station and location in Baltimore helped draw folks that otherwise would not have gone to an event in the District.
I took in two sessions: Shashi Bellamkonda’s “Selling the Value of Social Web to Your Boss” and the combined “Who Needs VCs/Amtrak Tech.” The first one was an interesting discussion, as I do think the conversation about companies is important and having a place in the social media sphere is important. The second session did not apply to me as much given my subservience to my corporate masters. It was interesting, though, to see the dichotomy between the funding culture in the DC region versus the well-advertised and practically incestuous Silicon Valley culture. While I agree that the need for a local version of TechCrunch is high, I certainly hope it is not a duplicate. I, for one, enjoyed Uncov’s unsparing critique of the “journalism” practiced at TechCrunch.
The after-party at Brewer’s Art was very good as well. Of course, I am quite amenable when folks ply me with free tasty beer. The best part was socializing with folks, getting to know what they did, and putting some faces with names. I socialized, but there were a lot more people I could have socialized with. Still, though, it was most definitely a good time.
I look forward to the next one, as the area really needs more events like this. Thanks to Dave Troy and Ann and Keith for organizing it. My apologies to folks to whom I talked but did not mention in this post. There truly were a great number of people there. I am looking to add many of these folks to my twitter and blog feeds.