Barcamp Tampa Bay was an opportunity to put the Tampa-St. Pete area on the tech sector’s map.
More than 400 people registered in advance and hundreds more were expected to turn out throughout the day on Saturday for what was the 12th annual Barcamp Tampa Bay. It’s billed as an unconference because the content is user-driven, with presenters signing up in the morning on-site, just before the program begins.
“This is a unique event. We provide the venue, you provide the content,” said Ken Evans, a board member at TechNova, the nonprofit that organized Barcamp. “We’re crowdsourcing your passion for technology and your enthusiasm for technology to put this conference on.”
The program was free, courtesy of dozens of sponsors, ranging from Sourcetoad, a Tampa company that develops software for the cruise industry and has sponsored the event since its inception, to Bank OZK, one of the newest sponsors to sign on. It was held for the first time at Keiser University in Tampa.
Because the theme was the 50th anniversary of the internet, Evans and Joy Randels, board chair of TechNova, unveiled a banner for the occasion, showing the development of the internet including some companies that were around before it began.
“The ones on the bottom are dead and the ones on the top are alive,” Randels said.
“That is the nature of our business,” Evans added.
There were about 60 presentations throughout the day, ranging from basic tech talks to deep dives into specific technologies, including many with intriguing titles such as “Beer IoT” and “Internet Greatest Mystery.”
Evans urged the crowd to use social media to post about their experiences.
“It really helps us as a community raise our visibility locally and globally. People are looking at the companies that have moved here, the products that we’re building, the companies we’re starting, the various accelerator and university programs. Help put us more on the map by being a little bit more vocal on social media,” he said.
— Lakshmi (@lshenoy) October 5, 2019
— Karen (@karenbachmann) October 5, 2019
— Tatyanna (@DevTaty) October 5, 2019
— Joy Randels (@joy_randels) October 5, 2019
— Christopher Hoffman (@TheChrisHoffman) October 5, 2019
— Matt Spaulding (@blrbr) October 5, 2019
— BlockSpaces (@BlockSpaces_io) October 6, 2019
This is one way to sum up my day @BarCampTampa Thanks to everyone that came together to make this unique event a success. We are nothing w/out the help of the volunteers, the generosity of our sponsors, and the passion of our tech community. #bctb #tampabay #startups pic.twitter.com/UzERDGShGB
— Ken Evans (@StartupMonkey) October 6, 2019