New Idea for format of BrainJams3Dec2005

If it were not so difficult for the different types of people I hope to bring together, I would make the event more of a BarCamp weekend unconference in order to fit in everything I have in mind, but that is not what I want BrainJams to be about. We want to help support BarCamp by leading more people to join that event, but I think it is really a different audience we have in mind with some beneficial overlap. Since we only have less then 8 hours, here is what I would like to propose we do instead of what I suggested earlier.

900am – Arrive at SRI, Register, make name badges, drink some coffee and speak to your friends/associates.

930am – General Session / Introductions / Overview

945am – BrainJams Session 1

I had envisioned the “BrainJams” concept itself to be a knowledge networking equivalent of speed dating, but after speaking to Christopher Allen at Web2.1, decided to take his advice and style them more along the lines of a “Knowledge Cafe”. This time out, in thinking about the bigger picture and my original intention I want to organize everyone into groups of 12 and have everyone spend about 5 minutes sitting down, one on one and talking about their passions and projects (preferrably not with people you already know). As with speed dating, everyone will have a little book within which to take notes (more on this later). It is perhaps logistically challenging, but in contrast to most networking events where the people you meet is largely based on levels of fame and/or external appearances, this will be out of attendees control during the session with the hopes of expanding people’s horizons.

1100am – BrainJams Session 2

Same as above with a different group of people – this way you should get to know what 23 other people are doing and learn from them so they can help you with what you are doing!

1215pm – Lunch

We are trying hard to provide lunch for everyone, but really need many more Patrons to step forward in order to make this happen. At the moment, MindJet has stepped up with $250 towards lunch and we have $100 each from TechCrunch and Pandora which will go towards snacks and refreshments.

100pm – Teen Panel moderated by Noah Kagan

While the topic of the day is still a bit up in the air and will ultimately be decided by Noah and the teenagers he recruits, I would really like to see this as a discussion with them about how they use social networking services, how they blog and what communities they belong to. Though Tara will be at Les Blogs in Paris, I know her heart will still be in attendance for this one.

200pm / 230pm / 300pm / 330pm – Open, user lead sessions on how people use Web 2.0 tools

(OK, I cringe every time I type that dreaded word, but until a viable, widely understood replacement for referencing the meme, we are all stuck with it)

So the idea here is to have people choose from multiple sessions with projectors (3 will be available at the moment, but there is room for a 4th if someone can bring one for the day) where the topics will be along the lines of:

How to Blog – How to read blogs – How to manage subscriptions – How to do a job search – How to start a community – How to find people, places and things – How to plan and promote an event – How to take and share photos – How to tag things – How to build the brand called You – and similar themes I hope people will suggest.

Each session will have a Jam Leader and a Podcaster/Vlogger who will help facilitate the conversation and keep it on track, but this is not about company demos – this is about real people sharing knowledge about which tools they use to do things and how they use them. It is a chance for new comers and everyday people to learn from the “powerusers” and other real people just like them. It is a chance for people to suggest new ideas for making the tools more useful. It is a chance for us to begin gathering stories of how people actually use the tools many of us are building. This is really drive by conversations at IIW2005 with Mary Ruddy, numerous conversations at TagCamp and many other events I have attended.

410pm – Closing general session to wrap up the day and talk about what comes next

430pm – Day ends

445pm-700pm – BrainOff after party

The location is still being finalized and we are still looking for a Patron to sponsor the party – if no one steps forward we will have a cash-bar somewhere near the SRI campus, most likely the British Bankers Club


Please check in on the WIKI and let us know if you are planning on attending.

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