My experience at Barcamp Delhi

I spent all of Saturday this past weekend at BarCamp Delhi (a nice coincidence that it was scheduled while I am here in India for a wedding!)

My summary of Barcamp Delhi:

* I love Delhi (lived here for five years during middle school and high school) and while I’ve spent a lot of time here, I’ve never been around the kind of smart, motivated and talented technologists that I spent time with on Saturday. I expect great things from these people!

* Meeting the folks that I did really hit home what a small technology world we live in and how much smaller it is thanks to blogs. It was a bit surreal (Scoble has described the same sentiment before) to be sitting in Adobe’s office in NOIDA and hearing folks in the audience dissect and discuss technologies like Google News,, Windows Live and Gmail.

* Adobe’s office in Delhi is really nice — a big thanks to them for giving us their conference rooms, for feeding us lunch, and last, but certainly not least, for the fast and free wi-fi. And while I’m at it, big thanks also goes to the folks that catalyzed and planned the event: Gaurav, Jonathan Boutelle, Manik Juneja, and Amit Ranjan.

* Manish talked about microformats as a solution for knowledge management in organizations and in this context, he had a screenshot of a microformats plug-in for wordpress. I’ve read about microformats and understand what they are all about, but seeing it integrated into a blog publishing platform wasn’t something I had seen before and it was very cool. Manish’s is a great speaker, but I felt the content was a bit jargony and maybe too academic in places — I could tell from the Q&A that Manish gets this stuff so my only criticism here is that IMO he should have communicated it in clearer simpler language. Anyways, I’m still not sure about how structured user-generated content is going to come into existence, but microformats deployed through blog publishing platforms seem like one viable approach. There are other approaches like Edgeio and Google Base.

* Want to befriend an Indian engineer / technologist? Buy him a beer. In particular, buy him a Foster’s. ๐Ÿ™‚

* Gaurav (one of the barcamp organizers) had a great presentation on bootstrapping a company — it was succinct, to the point and engaging. There were a lot of things in his presentation that I’ve learned myself through personal experience or from others, but I particularly enjoyed how everything was contextualized to India.

* Abhishek Agrawal had a presentation entitled “Why startup?” that preceded Gaurav’s. I missed most of the presentation but caught the tail-end of it and I could tell it that it was a good session. Abhishek carpooled with me to and from barcamp and he struck me as a well-informed, analytical and motivated technologist. I look forward to following what he does with his new company.

* Some of the presenters were talented speakers — VeerChand Bothra and Anuj Khurana were two guys that I’ll single out.

* There were no female presenters, though there were several women in attendance.

* Sorry I couldn’t join everyone for drinks later, but I plan to organize a geek dinner in the next week or so before I head back to the States. If you were interested in joining, drop me a line at rakesh at agrawal dot org.

Barcamp Delhi was great and I hope to see this technology community in Delhi really grow and flourish over time!

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