On Thursday evening, the second floor of Cottage Inn Pizza on William Street in downtown Ann Arbor was cram-packed with geeks and non-geeks alike. But it seemed like mostly geeks – propeller heads, techies, code-freaks, whatever term of endearment you prefer. They were there for ArbCamp 2008, a gathering meant to stimulate discussions around topics mutually agreed upon, on the fly at the event, and to promote connections in the tech community that might prove constructive. If the breaking news of the day – UM’s purchase of the old Pfizer site to establish a medical research hub – represents a big box approach to economic development, then ArbCamp 2008 is a grass-roots approach.
ArbCamp 2008 had initially been conceived by its organizers as an open-meeting type event focused around a general theme of publishing to be held in October. But when it became apparent to them that a variety of external work and family obligations would make their intended October event date hard to pull off, they elected to postpone to the spring. Dug Song figured it could be worth holding a similar event anyway. Brian Kerr, who’d had a hand in organizing the previous year’s ArbCamp 2007 as well as ArbCamp 2008, gave Song the green light to use the logo and name, and Song ran the idea up the digital flagpole to see if anyone would salute. Standing at attention on the registration list were quickly more than 100 people, the maximum that SPARK Central could accommodate. SPARK, which had offered their space initially, then arranged to secure the second floor of Cottage Inn, so that the wait-listed registrants could attend.
My event coverage represents a fairly narrow slice of the whole happening. It takes the form of photos with fake quotes as captions. Enjoy.