In a cool Saturday morning during school holidays, Sunway iLabs, located within Menara Sunway in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, held a very interesting event. Barcamp KL is an unconference, meaning the participants get to vote on the topics that they want to hear the most, instead of being subjected to a set speaker programme. It's entirely possible for a speaker to not get a chance to deliver in Barcamp, so the pace throughout the day is pretty dynamic.
What is Barcamp?
In a nutshell, Barcamp is where people share interesting topics and ideas with everyone and pitch for being heard. Topics can be conducted by the presenter in a myriad of ways, from a standard talk to a roundtable discussion.
The entire dynamic of the event is very fluid and energetic. Big discussions can suddenly become smaller cluster debates, and nobody wasted time in talking about issues and ideas that do not interest them.
Tiny little sparks ignited
While the participants are largely tech-oriented, the talk topics are quite diverse even though a lion's share of it is still highly technical. All these sessions have one thing in common: they invited questions and discussions that followed. Different people are interested in different things but you can see and hear the whole venue buzzing with people talking about these ideas in microclusters.
Inevitably, blockchain seems to be the most talked about issue, though not particularly related to cryptocurrency alone. One of the roundtable discussions I participated in talked about storing personal data on the blockchain, and cool possibilities and dangers were talked about in equal light.
I'm pretty sure the other discussion groups approached similarly interesting ideas as well. Dr. Michio Kaku mentioned in his GEC keynote that Malaysia has everything it needs to launch itself into high gear just how Silicon Valley did it. It was missing a spark to ignite the fuse to carry us there, which he claimed would come from entrepreneurs. I think I saw those sparks here. In my opinion, with more of these events, collaborations can happen and something significant can come out of them.
So what did I talk about?
I talked about running a fully remote working environment throughout an entire organization and how Xoxzo made it work. A lot of people prior to the event asked me on how Xoxzo did it, as they faced problems in running fully remote workplaces and keeping the team together. I shared how Xoxzo did it and how we managed to keep on doing it for over 10 years.
I do hope there's another one. I'm definitely on board if there is. There is a wealth of information that we collectively hold and it can be beneficial in sharing them to propel our future forwards.
Until then, I'll hold dear the experience, ideas and new friends that I got out of Barcamp KL 2017. I'm pretty sure we'll have better ideas to share and wrestle with for the next one.