On December 29th, I got an invitation from David Recordon daveman692, Scott Kveton, and Tim O'Reilly, to "Social Graph Foo Camp". I immediately said yes, of course.
MySQL Inc agreed cover my travel (a real deal for them, since they didnt have to pay a hotel), so long as I appropriately represented the company, e.g. use the company logo on slides, and so forth. So I wore my swag jacket with the logo on the back, and I ran a session, "MySQL for Social Networks: Graphs and Tags".
A couple of days before the event, I picked two names at random from the "looking for a ride" list, and ended up meeting Leslie Chicoine of Get Satisfaction, and Gavin Bell of Nature Magazine. I actually met up with Leslie at her office, and ended up having lunch with her and some of the other interesting GetSatisfaction people. We then drove to SFO to pick up Gavin, who was flying in from England. (A small and meaningless adventure ensued, where I missed a poorly marked turn at SFO international arrivals, and we ended up discovering where the municipal waste treatment plant is).
On the drive up to Sebastopol, the conversation ranged and rambled, and I didn't notice that I had completely missed the exit until I glanced at the NeverLost, to see that it was constantly recalculating the route, trying to turn me around. We had overshot by over 30
miles. Another small adventure, but we finally made it to the right place, checked in, and then the fun started.
At the introduction meeting, Tim introduced David and Scott, and then they told the story about wanting to put together a small gathering on the subject, and the "who should be there" expanded from a handful of people, to a couple of dozen people, to more than a couple of dozen people. The event kind of exploded on them, and they put it together
really fast. It helped that the O'Reilly people now have a lot of experience, both with geek conferences in general, and with FOO camps at their facility.
There was the standard "rushing the boards", tho the crush wasn't nearly so insane, with only about 100 people, instead of the 350 last summer.
There were groups and discussions about microformats, the new OpenSocial API, the graph mapping work being done by SixApart, by Google, and by Plaxo. There were people there from FaceBook, from MySpace, and from LinkedIn. There were people from Microsoft
Research, and some people from LiveSpaces. There were people from Yahoo, and from Flickr. And from Twitter and Jaiku.
Some of these systems are HUGE. Both LiveSpaces and Yahoo have active social users bases with many hundreds of MILLIONS of users, managing and moderating that many people is an interesting challenge. There are over a billion people online regularly now, and another billion will be online in a couple of years, and another billion a few years after that.
At the big introduction, I sat next to Rob Dolin, the Program Manager of Microsoft Windows Live Spaces, and showed him the unified friends status change feed that they could hook up to, and we talked about "why doesn't MSN Messanger just do XMPP".
In the geo location session, I remembered reading a couple of days ago about a service called TripIt and so signed up for it then and there. And then I discovered that Andy Denmark, their VP of Engineerings was sitting right next to me, he was
pointed out to me by the guy from Dopplr.
So Andy and I had lunch together, and he watched over my shoulder as I added my past couple of months worth of trips to their system, and I praised what it got right, and we noted what it got wrong.
I made two concrete suggestions to him. One that instead of just forwarding itenerary emails to them, they let me create a personal email address there, that I had have the airlines and travel agents directly send emails to. And that they work closely with Dopplr. What would be best is if Dopplr have a "do you have a TripIt account?" and TripIt have a "Do you have a Dopplr account?" buttons, and then sync up.
Other stuff. I geeked a fair amount with Stephen Paul Weber of DiSo, and hooked him up with Don MacAskill, tho I can't remember right now why. I got invited by Blaine Cook to a presentation on how to run huge XMPP services and about XMPP PubSub. I geek with and ate with someone from LinkedIn. I need to get all the bizcards and "rel me" links I was given into my address book, so I can remember more names...
It was cool, it was productive, and a lot of stuff happened.