MindCamp 2.0 and the Seattle Geek Village

Karen and I just returned home from MindCamp 2.0, where we both had a pretty darn good time. Completely as a surprise, Karen decided to she wanted to stay through the night last night (who woulda’ thought? At 11:30pm, she’s saying to ME “Yeah, go sack out – I want to stick around…:”. Heh – that’s unusual.

And while Karen was (I think) a bit nervous about “fitting in”, she didn’t have any trouble and I frequently swung back through common hallways or rooms to find her engrossed in a conversation with someone or nother.

Total attendance was something on the order to 190 folks, of which maybe 30 or 40 stayed the night, and I’m going to guess at 120 came back sunday morning. The talks were self-organized and an excellent mixture between raw chaos and “What’s interesting?”. The crew that sets up and runs mind camp does an incredibly good job at it.

Scanning through my moleskine, the big “notes” topics were on SEO and analytics; social networking and what people have done effectively (and sucked at) with mobile devices; attention as an economy that is more valuable than data; and some notes on location and how much wireless carriers suck for keeping their data secret/at a high enough cost that it’s useless for many small entrepenurial applications. Of course, that’s just my notebook – I’m sure there’s a ton of others. I saw a few of the familar faces, and met a good set of new ones as well.

I’ve got to say that this MindCamp was more diverse than the last one, to the positive end of the spectrum. A lot of different folks (although it seemed that half were microsoft employees at the introductions) outside of the “I code…” self-description. Toby Nixon came by on Saturday and talked for a bit, which was interesting. I don’t buy his viewpoints on several things, but I appreciated his candor with election reform (a sticky point with the last Gov’ners race here in Washington). Dave Winer was here too – but I hardly saw him. The local folks were far more interesting with thoughts and ideas.

The “common memes” were really media and mashups – mixing data and using it new ways (really – ideas about doing so). Seemed like there were a lot of “founder of x…” startup at the introductions, many of whom talked about media. It’s pretty clear that the Seattle tech community definitely has some roots in the audio/visual arts as well.

Lord knows I’ve a huge laundry list of urls to look up and mentally correlate. I’ll probably publish some of them after the fact, but I expect a huge number of them can be found by perusing the mindcamp wiki.