It hardly seems like a year has passed since the idea of a Mashup Camp first crossed my mind. But that's exactly how long it has been since I first shared the idea with a few other people the day after I attended some after hours events that were being run in conjunction the Syndicate Conference in San Francisco. Over on the Mashup Camp web site, you can read about this history and the exact moment that the light bulb went off. Over there, I wrote (excerpted):
As sort of a proof point that the most interesting things happening at any event happen during the coffee breaks and after-hours meetups, Mashup Camp was initially inspired by a discussion that took place between Camp co-founder David Berlind and Yahoo! Developer Network's Eleanor Kruszewski during Pluck's after hours event on Dec 12, 2006 at IDG World Expo's December 2005 edition of its Syndicate Conference. As Eleanor spoke of the many API's that Yahoo! was making available to mashup developers, it became evidently clear that as important as syndication APIs like RSS and ATOM (the focus of the Syndicate Conference) were, the larger pool of APIs that included RSS, ATOM as well as all the other APIs being published by companies like Yahoo!, Google, A9 (Amazon), eBay, Microsoft, EVDB, and others was the big picture -- a big picture that would need an event that was far broader in scope than Syndicate if a member of the press like David were to satisfy his appetite for information regarding all of the Web's programmable interfaces in one place.
The next day, I started talking about the idea of Mashup Camp and shortly thereafter, after Doug Gold agreed to join forces with me in making the event a reality, I blogged about it. Before we even had a location or dates, we had over 300 people signed up for the first event. Since then, there has been no looking back. We ran our first camp at the Computer History Museum in February. The second Mashup Camp (along with Mashup University -- a way for anyone to learn how to build mashups) happened this past July at the same location and I'm happy to say that the third one -- Mashup Camp 3 (along with Mashup U. again) -- is officially on the docket for January. More specifically, Mashup U. will be taking place at MIT in Cambridge, MA on January 15th and 16th and Mashup Camp takes place immediately after that on the 17th and 18th. To see what Mashup U. is like, be sure to check out the library of mashup training sessions that we videotaped and published here on ZDNet.
As with the previous runs of Camp and University, there is no charge to attend and attendees even get fed. One way to break the traditional conference model (which Doug and I think deserves to be broken) is to run Camp as an unconference. So we're doing that. The other is to try to make the event free (or extremely low-cost compared to other conferences) to attend. So Mashup Camp 3 and Mashup U. are free and we'll see if the model (which involves sponsorship) is sustainable for Mashup Camp 4 and beyond.
For both events (Camp and U), we have room for about 250 people and so far. This is due to venue limitations. So far, we've got about 163 signed up for Camp (see who is coming) and about 110 signed up for University (including a bunch of MIT students). After we hit 250, we'll start to form a waiting list and while we can't promise anything, in the past, just about everyone on the waiting list for our events -- especially those who show up at the door -- has gotten in. As with Camps past, we'll be running a Best Mashup Contest using courtesy of Kaliya Hamlin's "speedgeeking" methodology and Doug just pointed out to me today that the first Best Mashup Contest winners Taylor McKnight and Daniel Westermann-Clark (the developers of the incredibly cool Podbop) will be joining us, hopefully for an encore performance. For information on how to sign up for Camp or University and to get information on travel and lodging, head over to www.mashupcamp.com. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.