4 things we learned at BarCamp Philly - Technical.ly Philly

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Nov. 15, 2010 3:30 pm

4 things we learned at BarCamp Philly

Signs of the tech community's growth.

BarCamp attendees fill out the day's schedule.

Last year we asked if Philly was ready to take the next step, and we’ve had our questions answered. We’ve seen several startup exits in the past month, more BarCamp sessions focused on building business and signs that the city is (finally) ready to proceed with its Open Data movement.

Not bad for a year.

Held at the University of the Arts by organizers J.P. Toto, Roz Duffy, Kelani Nicole and Sarah Feidt, everything about the third version of the unconference was a more advanced version of its predecessor: more sponsors, better shwag and even its own Twitter check-in application courtesy of Toto.

After the jump, we go over what we learned at this year’s BarCamp and what it means for the city in 2011. A disclaimer: Technically Philly was only able to attend the morning sessions. So please, fill in the blanks in the comments.

The city is serious about Open Data

“How many of you are not from Philly?”

City CTO Allan Frank has been harping about opening the city’s data for months, though it’s only now that we are beginning to see real movement. At BarCamp, representatives from the city and its contractors said that the city is planning to release three data sets in early 2011: GIS data, crime data and 311 data. The city is still wrangling with the formats but the panel alluded to CSV, RSS and JSON.

For now the city is holding bi-weekly closed meetings about the project that it will eventually open to the public. Oh, and there’s that whole Code for America thing.

“Don’t underestimate that the recognition by the city that Open Data is a good thing is a big deal,” said Mark Headd of Voxeo.

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Tech is fueling other industries

We’ve seen the  growth of the city’s video game industry as companies like Space Whale Studios and Burst are leading an effort for tax breaks to make the city more attractive to companies looking for a cheap place to lay down roots to do business. Are movies next? A few folks at BarCamp wanted to revitalize film in Philadelphia which, according to the Inky, is on the up.

Barcamp was strictly business

By our count, BarCamp Philly 2008 had only two sessions focused on business. This year, sessions like How to Make Money and HA HA Business dotted the schedule board.

Philly is a destination

Just like last year, BarCamp organizers asked attendees during the opening session: “How many of you are not from Philly?”

An impressive number of people raised their hands.

It’s impossible to cover everything at a BarCamp. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or by hitting up @TechnicallyPHL on Twitter.

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