Wrecking Ball destroying wall

If you’re in Nashville and anything like me, most or all of your day on Saturday, March 26 will be spent at Cadillac Ranch for PodCamp Nasville 2011. If you’re one of the lucky ones who got chosen to speak, you’re no doubt spending some time creating awesome presentations to WOW the rest of us. It’s going to be an amazing time to learn, grow and inspire the Nashville tech community.

With all the brilliant, talented and driven people that are going to be participating and sharing at PodCamp this year, it’ll be really hard for something to ruin the experience, but if you’re determined to ruin PodCamp for the rest of us, here are 4 sure-fire ways to do it and make us all say mean things about you behind your back.

4 Ways To Ruin PodCamp

  1. The “Have-I-Got-A-Deal-For-You” – In case you’re not familiar with the set up and process of an “unconference”, the general idea is that it’s a gathering of like-minded, passionate people that care about the local tech community and want to get together and learn from each other. It is not a place for you to peddle your crap to us. Let me repeat that, PodCamp is not a place for you to try and sell us your crap.

    If you’re thinking that you’ll come in and sell this awesome (cr)app you’ve made or that your new iPad 2 case will suddenly take off, you’re wrong. PodCampers don’t want to be sold to during your presentation, we want to learn from you, we’re hungry for it in fact. If you’re dead-set on selling something, talk to Kenny Silva about sponsoring it and get yourself a table that we’ll walk past on our way to one of the helpful presentations.

    Use your time presenting at PodCamp to teach everyone something that will blow our minds and make us want to talk to you after you’re done. Who know, your app may come up in that conversation and you can build yourself some helpful relationships.
  2. The Wallflower – PodCamp is built on community involvement because we want people from the community to be involved. You could easily show up, talk to no one, attend sessions, get your SWAG and leave, but that’s not the point.Some of the coolest and smartest people I know now like Kenny Silva, Travis Robertson, Justin Davis, Courtenay Rogers, Erik DeckersDani Heileman, and so many others I know primarily through my involvement with BarCamp (Nashville’s other unconference). I’m lucky to call these people friends and some have even grown into extremely helpful business contacts as well, but it never would have happened if I hugged the wall the entire day.

    Consider gathering contacts and friendships just as important as gathering knowledge and tech know-how. This won’t necessarily ruin PodCamp for everyone else, but you’ll miss out on people you could have met and are robbing us of getting the chance to know you as well.
  3. The Quickdraw McGraw – Even worse than not talking to anyone is talking to everyone with the sole purpose of distributing and collecting business cards. I know the word “conference” is involved, but be sure to leave your douchey tactics at home for this one.Trust me, if you’re running around like a broken UNO Attack and just tossing cards at everyone, you won’t be going home with the desired number of possible contacts.

    Only give out a business card if someone asks you for one and spend the rest of the time trying to learn as much about the people that you talk to as you can. (BTW, this is good advice for any conference you attend, not just PodCamp Nashville.)
  4. The Know It All – No matter how you slice it, every unconference is about one thing: learning from each other. The atmosphere and environment are a perfect mix of presentations, networking and general hanging out and nothing can really stand in the way of that, except for you acting like you know everything under the sun.You have to attend the conference with an open mind and be willing to open yourself up to new concepts, ideas, and people. Only then will you truly get something awesome out of PodCamp. If you run around correcting everything people say and only act interested in a conversation when your mouth is flapping, you’ll not only walk away no better than when you came in, but everyone you talk to will feel like you stole their time. Don’t be that person.Instead: Show up with a blank notebook and an open mind. Try to learn as much from everyone as you can and if the time comes for you to impart some wisdom with others, do it graciously with the sole intention of building up those around you.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

PodCamp can be an amazing experience, but it’s up to the people that go to create that experience. Be sure to show up at Cadillac Ranch on Saturday, March 26th with the intention of learning, growing, and sharing for the greater good of the Nashville tech community.

Oh, and don’t be a douche while you’re there.

See you in a week and a half!