Kara Swisher

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Foo Camp: Alpha-Geeks Gone Wild

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Sadly, I was not there to see Google’s Larry Page land a helicopter on the lawn up at Tim O’Reilly’s annual geekfest called Foo Camp, so I could mock him to his face.

(Note to Larry: That better be an awfully big solar footprint you’re building at the Googleplex in Silicon Valley to replace all the carbon emissions your various flying machines spew.)

Since I had to trade kid duty, I could only get up there Friday night for the opening festivities, which are held annually at the Sebastopol headquarters of O’Reilly Media.

Still, it was well worth the trek north of San Francisco to get a short glimpse of some new and sometimes quite wacky ideas about the future of digital development.

The conference is almost entirely user-generated, as people sign up to lead sessions on a variety of sometimes esoteric topics in rooms scattered all through the facility.

While most conferences look at the here and now, Foo Camp is aggressive in its quest to get people to think outside the box.

In fact, if there were a box, the brainy denizens of Foo Camp would probably turn it into a time machine/beer dispenser/robot ninja warrior.

It could happen.

Many big wheels and many more big brains were there to figure it all out. Indeed, as you will see from this video, there is still a very pure and very infectious enthusiasm after many years at Foo Camp, even though some have complained about its ever-larger size.

So, for those who wanted to go and could not get in, here is a rather long glimpse at the first night of Foo Camp, including campers trying unsuccessfully to introduce themselves with only three words, a look at the tents, a talk with Tim O’Reilly and some in attendance explaining why they come:


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