DemoCampGuelph and Intersections

November 30th, 2009
[ Guelph Tech ]

Item#3 on Bob Sutton’s “Leading Innovation: 21 Things that Great Bosses Believe and Do” list almost entirely sums up why I spend some of what little spare time I have helping to organize DemoCampGuelph events:

3. Look for and build “intersections” places where people with diverse ideas gather together. And when you go there, talk to the people you don’t know, who have ideas you know nothing about, and ideas you find weird, don’t like, or useless.

evan h'ween 2009It references Halloween at the Intersection by Frans Johansson.

This is only a variation on what’s been written many times but I like the idea of intersections. I’m often asked what DemoCampGuelph is or why it exists. The answer is simple, to create intersections. It’s a successful event if we’re a place where “people with diverse ideas gather together” resulting in an opportunity for intersections. The key being “opportunity”, it takes effort on your part.

On the other side, I often hear critiques about the event. They’re typically some variation of “ah, one of the demos was sort of interesting but overall not that great”. I don’t listen to those reviews and here’s why. I’ll let you in a little secret if you promise not to twitter about it, the actual demos aren’t the point of the event, they’re the gravy. If you’re attending for the demos then you’re missing a great event. To that end, here’s my simple how-to in order to get the best out of your next DemoCampGuelph event, or any related community event:

  • Sign up, take some time to browse the list of attendees and what they’re up to. Chances are slim that you won’t quickly have a list of people you want to meet.
  • Go out of your way to meet those people and others, ie create some intersections. Take a look around the room, pick the person in the crowd you’re least interested in meeting and go meet them. Do NOT just talk to the same people you talk to at every event.
  • If the above doesn’t work because you happen to know everyone on our planet then be a connector and create intersections between people you know. Ask people who you can introduce them to.
  • Arrive early, stay late, socialize.