Details and registration were at; that site is now something else

NOTE: Arb Camp is for anyone who wants to make a difference. Company owners, technologists, computer programmers, hackers, gurus, slackers, government officials, luminaries, smart people, not-so-smart people. It's for everyone who wants to come together for one day and make some thing happen. The venue is provided, the open space forum is provided. Come and pick a topic, organize a session, mobilize a group, start your company. Just do it. And for godsakes, join in the conversation!

ArbCamp is a one-day gathering for people to share and learn in an open environment. The very broad organizing theme is social networks and social media. ArbCamp will be a time to see what other people and companies are working on, to meet some new folks, and to listen, demo, scheme, etc. You're invited!

ArbCamp is an UnConference, based on Open Space Technology meeting rules, with a self-structuring agenda and a core principle of adaptability. Our goal is to get technologists, innovators, marketers, businesspeople, poets, academics, students and activists engaged with one another for a few intense hours. Everybody who attends will collectively set the agenda for the day, with food, meeting spaces, and a basic schedule provided. We ask for advance registration, at very low cost, and can offer scholarships and support for students and those who need it.

The name "ArbCamp" may bring to mind "BarCamp", a popular flavor of UnConference. We originally intended to use BarCamp structure, but as we've explored that approach, we realize that Arbcamp is intended to be a bit more open, more free, and less bound by rules of participation and earnestness. ArbCamp is about creating community: the most important part of what we'll do is discover how we can work with each other.

Immediately after the Open Space event, we'll have Joseph Jaffe discuss his new book, Join the Conversation.

This is a separate event, held in the same place but ticketed separately.

And afterwards

Additionally, all attendees of ArbCamp are invited to join the Toziers at [Arbor Brewing Company], on Washington downtown, from 6pm-10pm. Beer/drink tickets will be provided by the Toziers at the ArbCamp registration desk and throughout the day, in exchange for an introduction, and a light buffet will be served at ABC starting at 7pm. This is an unofficial, unsponsored, actual bar, and we are offering free (as in beer) beer (or soft drinks), so please come and continue the conversations you've started -- and start more -- and wind down, and plan the next event.

Map from WCC to ABC:

Date, venue, registration

  • Saturday, October 27, 2007 9AM -- 4PM
  • Jaffe Keynote 3:30 - 5:30 Approximate (Separate Ticket)
  • Morris Lawrence building @ Washtenaw Community College -- very cool venue


  • Saturday, October 27, 2007 4PM -- ?
  • ArbCamp et al.
  • Proposal - after ArbCamp finishes up at 4PM at WCC, there is a proposal to migrate elsewhere to continue discussing, hacking, presentating, et al.
  • Interested - Andrew Turner, MattH (with luck), ...

Details and registration at

There is a list of potential topics at arbcamp_topics -- take a look or add what you're interested to talk about or do


Logistics (links to separate pages): ArbCamp/Budget -- ArbCamp/Prep


helping out -- things we need

The most important thing for this event to be a success is for you to come, and/or to invite any of your friends who seem likely to be interested!

Want to help out with any of the things on this list? just for fun, in-kind sponsorship, something else entirely? Go for it! Put your name down, or get in touch with one of the organizers and we can make it happen.

  • sponsorship -- sponsor the event (details soon)
  • sponsorship -- help us find sponsors
  • logo
  • Second Life stuff -- decent amount of SL energy in the area, can someone help promote or set up simulcasting or etc.?
  • show up an hour early and help get things in order
  • help think of more things we need

helping out -- people

If you're interested in helping organize, please sign up here & note anything you can help with, either with logistics, publicity, support, attendance, venues, food, cleanup, setup, lifting things, swag etc etc. add your name here:

  • Bill Merrill - I'm good at lifting things.
  • BrianKerr, tired of having to fly out to PDX for these things
  • BobKuehne, local geekery, excellent.
  • Catherine Juon - Thanks, Brian Kerr for bringing cool things to Ann Arbor!
  • Derek Mehraban - Can help swing a deal on a venue.
  • dugsong - logistics, emcee/bouncer, recruiting good hackers. hackathon veteran...
  • Edward Vielmetti
  • heidigoseek (Heidi) - If I'm available I am interested in helping where needed.
  • Mark Ramm
  • MattH - can help if the event is after 12 July 07
  • Murph
  • Ross Johnson - I can make a mean cocktail
  • Trek Glowacki
  • Tozier
  • Winston Tsang
  • Kris Neuharth - can help setup, pretty much anything
  • Dunrie Greiling - service as required. Have a camera and I'm passable at photography, can do that.

It's not a name, it's a tag


  • How many rooms will be available for the OpenSpace breakouts? We will need at least one for every 30 people, or maybe (possibly) a large-enough space for people to rearrange furniture into clusters. How will we be using MoLo, physically?

it's a big atrium type space, with a few adjoining rooms we can tunnel into, as well. I am planning to say 5 spaces, with an additional two in reserve. Furniture (food, tables) near the edges of the room, bunch of chairs to be moved from opening and closing circles into whatever chaotic arrangements needed. There will be an additional trip to the space next week, want to come along and help us figure some of this out?


the neutrality of this article is DISPUTED citizens run for cover — seek shelter — do not hesitate — go URGENTLY — the matter is in DISPUTE.



Sanity Check

How did this turn into a for-pay corporate marketing event? This sucks!

Where are all the geeks doing the technology show-n-tell? Marketers, poets, businesspeople? WTF! This is not "barcamp-style"! Someone set us up the bomb!

Well, we have to charge admission to meet fixed costs for the event, which is basically food. Hopefully after a success or two it'll be easier to line up enough sponsorship and related energy to make the next one free; all part of the difficulty of importing cool stuff into this geographic area. Free is the price point I wanted, too... but $15 for bunch of people and food and a day of happy hacking isn't a bad deal, IMO, either.

And yes, we are looking for a more diverse group of people than is typical for barcamps; this comes out of the success of the RecentChangesCamps in attracting techies AND people that use the tech to do whatever they do. That's why it's not 'just' barcamp Ann Arbor. If you want to organize a barcamp Ann Arbor that better fits what you are looking for I'd very gladly attend :) Thanks for your thoughts.

Hrm - for some reason other BarCamps and Open events have managed to not charge a fee for pre-registered attendees. How does charging a fee bring together a more diverse group? Can people opt-out of food for free attendance?

BarCamp doesn't just mean that it is a free event (in fact, that is debatable as it's perfectly fine to charge a small fee to ensure attendance), but it should mean that there is NO PREVIOUSLY SET SCHEDULE, and NO 'STARS' (i.e. hierarchies are forbidden, it's an open grid, which means that your keynote can come and fill his own session in with everyone else). As well, sponsorships are limited at actual BarCamps to prevent corporate takeover. If it is BarCamp or BarCamp-like, it needs to be about the community. This may be very loosely inspired by BarCamp's outcome: people gathering around technology. But that isn't what BarCamp is about. It is about chaos and grassroots. This conference appears to have neither.


I completely agree with the above Sanity Check. This event is completely counter to the spirit of inclusion, diversity, openness and equality of every BarCAmp I've attended.

If the organizers of this event want to hold a for-profit corporate event with an old fashioned stand-and-deliver style, "he's more important than you" keynote speaker, that's cool...but don't try and leech off the good name of BarCamp- it's deceptive.

I find it hard to believe that cities all over the world have been able to summon the creativity and resourcefulness to organize BarCAmp meetings with no admission fee- but not Ann Arbor. For shame.

Hey people. Just like WikiNature, just like Shared Code Ownership, ArbCamp works because it's by and for the people who participate, who attend, who help each other without obeying their prejudices. Pure code cowboys, pure wingtips, pure academics -- they may not get it. But it's about sharing ideas on technology, worklife, and the future; not stupid GET RICH QUICK OMFG $$$ TEH INTERNETS IZ SERIOUS BUSINESS $$$!!1! It's not BarCamp, it's something more open, more flexible, and it will work because it's not rigidly obeying rules set down by some vocal, dominant minority.

In response to the cost issue, you can now attend for a nominal $5 fee if you want to BYOFD to the event. We also added Student pricing; full day conference w/ the Jaffe talk is only $35 for students. If a business wants to sponsor students they can: Send a Student to Arb Camp

WTF Sanity Check &c

OK, so the folks who are writing about how ArbCamp isn't BarCamp: yes? And?

Looking at the schedule, we have a full day of OpenSpace unscheduled time. Everybody who wants to can attend. Admission is cheap, because the venue is not to date subsidized by corporate sponsors or some brat dotcom kid's Big Spender Bay Area angel investors: these folks are running it at a college, out of pocket.

And as for "diversity", WTF indeed. Who told you the word meant "geeks only", or that you had to be a basement-inhabiting student startup-founder to have geek cred enough to inspire others in an open session? Who told you that "corporate marketing" was stupid and bad, you louche bigoted little wannabe web1.9 purist? Who, in other words, made you imagine your geek cred outweighs the real efforts of more than a hundred local people who want to learn and chat and talk to each other about work, life, and saving the damned economy?

I am ready to attend, and willing to listen and talk. And pay. "We didn't do it that way before" is a stupid way to fail.

Try it once, our way, and see how it works out. The way with a diverse crowd of people from several demographic groups, from many backgrounds, with many agendas. The way with a clean, well-lit large-enough venue, and real food. The way with parking. The way with swag, even. Who hates swag?

Try it with people who haven't already "learned" how it "should be done", and are willing to build something from scratch so it can be better for us, not for its qualities of Received Wisdom.

Try it. If you don't, you will surely fail.

Tozier 16:50, 9 October 2007 (BST)

Hahaha "save the damned economy"!!! Let me guess, you have never been to or heard of BarCamp before any of this.

Kumbaayaa, go start a drum circle and pray for rain. The geeks will go find somewhere else to talk shop. Enjoy marketing to each other in your Connect Ann Arbor echo chamber.

Maybe so. I'm very sad already that we've lost the support of our friends where you live. We will miss you.

Whoo-whee! I have to say, I know virtually nothing about BarCamp, but if it's full of people like "Sanity Check" and "WTF?", I'd have to say that I never want to attend one. --Murph 22:36, 11 October 2007 (BST)

Sure looks as if we've lost their hearts and minds, doesn't it? What we do at ArbCamp will be the right thing. The people who attend will be the right people to attend. If we don't find it satisfying when we're running it, then we'll change it as we go. In other words—unlike, it seems, BarCamp rules lawyers—we reserve the right to learn. Tozier 05:33, 12 October 2007 (BST)


collecting the wisdom of non-arbcampers from around the net:

ArbCamp: Commercializing BarCamp's Values. "If someone isn't going to buy into the values that BarCamp establishes, then they're not throwing an event loosely based on barcamp."

ann arbor's "barcamp-esque" non-camping non-barcamp. "Marketing a for-profit event as “BarCamp-esque” and suggesting that it needed to be done in such a way because Ann Arbor, for whatever reason, can’t support a legitimate BarCamp, seems to me to be weak in the extreme. And the planners of this event should have known better."

Since when do *camps have a keynote, title, lead & partner sponsors AND charge for admission?! Did I hear bullshit? (Chris Messina)

hrm, this all got Dugg! if folks are still this bummed after ArbCamp, the offer to host a tech-centric by-the-book barcamp at Zattoo still stands - we're by North Campus, just off the AATA 2/2x downtown/campus bus route, and we've got bandwidth, conference rooms, and parking for about 50 people. --dugsong