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Kevin Cheng  

Unconferences are Overrated

August 28th, 2006 by Kevin Cheng :: 14 Comments

I’ll just say this first, I’m not against the idea of unconferences like BarCamp. I just think they’re ridiculously overblown in their value as a whole - especially in Silicon Valley.

First, what is an unconference? From Wikipedia:

> An unconference is a conference where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by a single organizer, or small group of organizers, in advance.

So the idea is that you get a more dynamic, free flowing exchange of ideas not from a handful of selected speakers but from the audience instead. The topics are defined on the fly (with a small bit of suggestions beforehand) and perhaps conversations will shift as the content does. In addition, for the “Camp” variety, there’s often a stretch where the people remain in the same complex/building for an entire weekend - the isolation and concentration of people hopefully sparking even more creative energy.

Sounds great, right? I don’t think so. I think it’s the wrong way to achieve the desired effect.

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