Last summer, the first CloudCamp conference debuted, organized by Dave Nielsen and a group of other cloud aficianados. This June, they're doing it again. Dave is a Web services pro who's been guiding a number of high-profile developer programs for companies like PayPal. CloudCamp brings together early adopters of cloud computing technologies to exchange ideas in an open format. CloudCamp is about to hit my hometown of Austin, Texas, so I decided to sit down with David and discuss how CloudCamp started, what has happened in the last year, and where he and the team plan on taking it in the future.
whurley: Who originally came up with the idea for CloudCamp?
Nielsen: Five of us put on the first CloudCamp, so there are at least five versions of this story. Here's how I remember it: A couple of months after I registered CloudCamp.org I saw a post by Reuven Cohen asking if anyone wanted to put on a "CloudCamp" in San Francisco. Of course I was interested and offered the use of my domain name. That's when I found out that Reuven owned CloudCamp.com. So clearly we both had the idea, but it was Reuven who instigated the first CloudCamp and brought us all together. Sam Charrington, Jesse Silver and Sara Dornsife also responded and the five of us split up the tasks and organized the first CloudCamp in San Francisco on June 24th, 2008.
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whurley: CloudCamp is billed as an "unconference." What's that?
Nielsen: For the first CloudCamp, we considered a more traditional conference format with predetermined topics, but several of us had experience with the Open Space unconference format and it seemed like a good fit. I had personal experience with it from leading discussions at FooCamp2004 and MashupCamp1. At an unconference, none of the sessions are chosen in advance and we worried whether attendees would rise to the challenge and propose topics for discussion. But in the end we agreed that the attendees would come up with better topics than we would and so the event would be better as an unconference. It turned out we were right and we haven't looked back since.