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Let's Bring BarCamp to the Cedar Valley

BarCamp is a world-wide network of unconferences. Participants in these events provide all of the content, with all sessions open and participatory. You can read more here about what happens at BarCamp.

The first BarCamps were focused on early-stage web applications and other technology issues. Now, they cover everything from entrepreneurship to health care.

On December 3, I had the chance to attend the second annual BarCamp Des Moines at the Des Moines Public Library. I spent the day with 60-80 enthusiastic other attendees, sharing energy and ideas. I got a lot out of the experience, and now, a couple of weeks later, three ideas have really stuck with me:

Push the limits of your networking comfort zone. 
(From the presentation by Matthew Smith.) Matthew’s presentation was “Process for Coming Up with Ideas.” He said his source of creativity comes from the interesting people he surrounds himself with.He discussed how many people’s circles of friends have few intersections on a Venn Diagram. He pointed out how easy it is to stay within the 2-3 circles where we’re most comfortable; with people who grew up like/where we did, who do the kind of work we do, and who think most like we do. However, when we move beyond these comfort zones, networking with new groups, we open ourselves up to so many more sources of insight, inspiration, and expertise.

Investing in entrepreneurship makes more sense than most investments. (From a presentation by Sayer P. Martin.) As an entrepreneur myself, I see the value in this idea. What did surprise me were some statistics Sayer shared suggesting the return on stock market investments has only kept up with inflation over the past 100 years. Even before hearing Sayer, investing in Far Reach was no-brainer for me.  Do I want to invest in myself with people and a company I know and trust, or the alternative?

Horizontal organizations work better than vertical ones. 
(From a presentation by Dan Shipton.) Dan’s presentation was on the handling of ideas. Two concepts he mentioned were “committees of one” and “horizontal organization”. Basically, when it comes to product management, you need to have a single person responsible for the product—a “committee of one”—but your organization needs to be structured in such a way that everyone is free to share their ideas and feedback with that person (horizontal organization). These are ideas that hit home for me, and ones I plan to explore in terms of our work at Far Reach.

In November, several Startup Drinks attendees decided we wanted to bring a BarCamp to the Cedar Valley. After attending BarCamp Des Moines I am even more inspired and motivated to make it happen.

Want to participate? Leave us a comment or drop us a line and we’ll make sure you get pulled into the conversation. And, make sure you also get out there and increase the number of circles in your Venn Diagrams. 

Here are some links to networking opportunities in the Cedar Valley:
Other Networking Opportunities in the Cedar Valley
Startup Drinks Cedar Valley
Cedar Valley Creatives
New Gen Rotary