To start with, its amazing to see the energy level of attendees. They were all highly pumped up and it was showing up with almost everyone I have met. Compared with a hierarchial corporate setup, it was organized as a completely an informal, flat and free-flowing setup. Every session was packed with very interesting questions, debates, critisicms and smart answers in eight different tracks.
I was mainly interested in the ‘startups and demo’ track and spend almost the whole day (saturday) there. I was able to see pretty good web 2.0 applications (Example: http://www.lifeblob.com) demonstrated for roping in the technology enthusiasts. There was an interesting session (according to me) hosted by Prof.Suresh from NSRCEL at IIM-B on the topic ‘Startup pains’. He was asking the campers about the list of problems faced by aspiring Entrepreneurs and what bodies like NSRCEL can do about solving those issues more at the ecosystem level.
Thats it! People started throwing up statements like ‘Not enough angels available’, ‘Inadequate support services (legal, financial etc..)’, ‘Coming up with operational agreement between co-founders’ etc. I was silently sitting and listening to the discussions happening out there and wondering the maturity level of these entrepreneurs. In my opinion, these folks are still in the ‘self-employed’ mindset and not thinking about doing business in scale. All the points they put forward was from the same tone and nobody spoke about important aspects like: Difficulty in finding prospective customers (especially in the technology space), Developing cost effective marketing strategies, Limitations of domestic market, Hiring new employees in the overheated Indian job market, Lack of incubation centres. Also many of the folks were thinking from the bootstrapping perspective.Even though the number of entrepreneurs attended the camp was quite high, their understanding about the startup from the business perspective was very low.
Apart from that, there were many geeks roaming around with latest gadgets (like iPhone) wearing all viered t-shirts. Most any of them had Linux on their laptops and doing some or the other things during the sessions. I haven’t got any opportunity to interact with any of the organizers/volunteers during the camp. I would extend thanks for all the effort they have put to make this happen. I would love to connect with some of these enthusiasts in the near future.
If not for anything, barcamps are worth attending for boosting the personal energy level.