Hearing that I would be missing out on the biggest event in town, BarCampSaigon 2013, I scheduled a meeting with two of the organizers, Anh-Minh Do and Tomo Huynh at Saigon Hub to understand more about what they’re up to. The event’s format goes like this: it will start this Sunday, July 7, kicking it off with presentations and sharing in the morning, followed by networking in the afternoon and lots of beer chugging in the evening.
To date, over 2,500 have signed up to attend the localized event and about 90 speakers have registered. The beauty of “BarCamps” is that anyone can be a speaker, because everyone has a story to tell and a message to share. According to Anh-Minh and Tomo, the number of attendees has been increasing every year. In 2008, there were around 200 who attended the “unconference”. In 2010, it recorded about 450 individuals. And last year, BarCampSaigon saw 800 attendees. Will this year see 1,000 walking through the doors of RMIT University in Ho Chi Minh City? The answer here is another question in itself – why not?
After all, the Vietnam ecosystem is beaming with potential, and while BarCamp isn’t restricted to just entrepreneurs or techies (or both), most of the ones coming hold setting up close to their heart. But when such events happen all the time and get crowds riled up over sharing and speaking, what is truly important, as mentioned by Anh-Minh, is that this is not merely a matter of hype. Once the hype subsides, things can’t just go back to how they were. Money has to start flowing in. People have to start finding partners and co-founders, employees and investors.
This sort of sharing also leads to some sort of serendipity where attendees understand things they never even thought they would hear about. Tomo also expressed this in the promo/educational BarCampSaigon YouTube video: “Every time I go, I get some kind of deep insight into some random topic that I didn’t know much about before.”
There are iOS, Android and Windows apps made just for this event, and according to the official BarCampSaigon Twitter account, BlackBerry might just come onboard next year if there is a demand for it. Catch the organizers in this YouTube video below: