Our goal was to provide a balance between a highly structured shrink-wrapped conference, and total chaos. Sign-ups were free, people were casually dressed, and everyone could talk. Still, we did try to keep the conference on schedule, to allow people to switch between parallel tracks (up to 4 at a time). The speakers didn't seem to mind me jumping in at the end of each time slot, telling them to finish up quickly.
The majority of people at BarCamp were native German speakers, but we had lots of attendees who did not speak German. As often in Switzerland, speakers resorted to English. As one of my professors at ETH Zurich likes to say: "We need to schpeak English in clässes because we don't want to be se best technical university in just Eastern Switzerland, but in se world."
The BarCampZurich concept seems to have worked quite well here. The one-day format was the right choice: Lots of people couldn't have showed up for the entire weekend. On the other hand, since we had such a huge number of speakers, many interesting sessions were scheduled in parallel.
Some interesting talks I attended: Sascha Corti talked about Ajax based on Microsoft technologies, the Coding Monkeys explained SubEthaEdit, and Douwe Osinga showed off his Artificial Life projects. I also joined discussion about how we could encourage entrepreurship in Switzerland, with some great insights from experienced founders. We need to have more of these discussion slots next time around!
In my presentation, dubbed "Organizing Email", I gave a short overview of existing research work and showed off a demo of a tool I wrote. From a quick initial discussion of problems people have with email, it seems like this will remain an interesting problem for years to come.
There are already plenty of photos on Flickr (tags: barcampzurich and barcampzurich2006). Almost all of the sessions were recorded and Corsin has already started harassing me with clips from my talk: I really needs to get rid of my "errms". You'll find these and other videos online soon. Go here to get the slides.
Thanks everyone for coming! We hope you liked it!