Barcamp Sydney #1
March 4, 2007, 8:06 am
Filed under: barcamp, barcampsydney

Some notes I took at BarcampSydney, March 2007

Digital storytelling: branding yourself or your product

  • Gavin Heaton update6/2/07: He has posted his notes here
  • good stories are ones people can relate to
  • a brand sits there and draws the ‘attention consumer’
  • It’s about building a connection – +++ / —-
  • What’s your promise, what are you delivering?
  • Showed above video; lost on audience because screen was too small, which was shame. Said there is another version where you can add content to the video in real time


  • online is about reinventing yourself –> like joining a new school –> second life, world of warcraft
  • you need to build trust –> reputation


Bootstrapping a start-up

  • I missed the chunk of this talk unfortunately, but one thing I picked up was that a brand is key for a web app – and building a brand is expensive


How to scale – mapreduce

  • Joel Pubar
  • Powerpoint file from Presentation (obtained from Joel’s blog posting): how to scale – map reduce
  • In 2003, we hit a wall in processor speed
  • The problem is heating –> processors can’t get faster because of this issue –> 100 watts is the thermal limit
  • Joel discussed how was building a .net implementation of Google’s map reduce
  • random fact: 1.6 million blog posts/day
  • map reduce (at the moment) isn’t used for on the fly stuff
  • Biggest problem is ‘structuring’ the web
    • data is currently unstructured on the web –> making ‘sense’ of the internet
  • Spam filtering, which is classic AI stuff (and therefore classic pattern recognition) is perfect for mapreduce

Privacy and advertising

  • Phil Morle – former CTO of Kazaa
  • believes it is dangerous to start a business without a revenue model –> because then you rely on advertising
  • Introduced APML (Attention Profiling Markup Language) which is effectively about storing your personal information locally on your machine
  • problem with digital age, is that our information is now centralised
  • someone suggested the $100 laptop programme was going to see the fall of online advertising –> all these poor African kids clicking on ads
    • point was negated because of the nature of targeted advertising – hence why this discussion was so important, because companies are actively profiling us
  • Issue is about control of your data; anonymity
  • very good discussion!!



  • none of the major browsers are suporting xHTML 2.0
  • HTML5 supports xHTML 1.0
  • 5.0 has better error handling
  • backwards compatibility is a big issue
    • javascript can fix errors to ensure this occurs
  • html5 in used in opera, which dominates the mobile market –> mobile usage may drive general internet usage later
    • Opera is counting on this as a business strategy for market penetration



  • Anne Bartlett made a big point about how much state funding there is, and how willing the government wants to help (“it’s almost scary!”)


Replicating web stuff in the enterprise / search

  • Not sure if that was what the topic was, because came in late
  • Interesting discussion about the current state of search – basically, we are not there yet because the best we’ve got (Google) is no way near perfect yet
  • Discussion on the state of enterprise search, which is terrible
  • Page rank principle can’t work within enterprises
  • Filtering of search was discussed –> examples such as drop down menus for hotel sites (rather than free text search), although it was commented, that they found this system actually restricted a search too much, which led the user to think the site sucked

Agile development

  • 20% of features are always used
  • 64% are rarely or never used (45% never)
  • above facts from a 2002 study – Jim Johnson



  • New Australia led open source initiative, that’s been around pre-Google maps
  • $8 million funding from the national science something organisation
  • reason for delay in Google’s roll-out of maps in Australia, is because Australia is one of the only countries that has such expense maps
  • we pay taxes to pay for these maps, but businesses have trouble licensing them –> pay 1000 times more than overseas countries; other countries can get them for nearly free

How to start up your own business

  • It takes 5 year to become an expert; 10 years to be an innovator; 15 years to be a genius
  • Ari Paparo (Blink) – > got slayed by del.icio.us –> really good account of what happened
  • Mike had a start-up before Atlassian, circa 1999, that was exactly like del.icio.us
    • difference between then and now is sharing. the default on all web apps is public, which is why sharing is so prominent now. Before, default was private
  • your business pitch should be about value, team, and business –> you go to VC’s with a team, not just an idea
  • avoid VC money – it makes you lazy and complacent (Marty); Mike throughout the talk resonated his dislike of VC money, and pride that Atlassian is “revenue funded…not venture capital funded”
  • long discussion by Mike and Marty (Tangler) about company culture; the people you hire and fire
  • Flickr, Del.icio.us, MyBlogLog, and YouTube are “star” startups –> read my blog entry on this

Other accounts of the day

  • Christy, who initiated BarCamp Sydney, has a good write-up
  • Tim, whom I met during the beer presentation afterwards and whose ex I used to work with (small world!),  has an overview
  • Videos