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April 30, 2007


From Cj in an email to the BarcampLA list

So I wasn't there (see previous whinny post), but I envisioned 'speed
geeking' as a 1-on-1 conversation. Assuming you don't need to talk to
yourself, and we have N people, there should be N-1 conversations.
Call it 5 minutes a conversation, you can get away with 12
conversations per hour. The last g33k dinner had 20-25 people - so
call it 2-2.5 hours to go through everybody. If we all sit at one
huge table (like when we were at El Cholo) everyone can simply slide
one seat down every 5 minutes and have a new conversation with the
person across from them. Each person can rattle off their who/what/
why in 30 seconds or so, than a fun conversation occurs for the
remaining 3-4 minutes. At the end of the event, you end up with a
stack of business cards (or at least contact info cards - they should
be mandatory for each person) - some of which you want to email and
ask them about their cool coding-in-sanskrit complier project, some of
which you want to file in your revolving bin.

Thoughts? I may be completely wrong about this approach but felt like
sharing anyway...

Brad Templeton

I think the speed geeking idea is very interesting so I wonder if there's a way to make it work. I have not done speed dating but I presume they do it in a larger space with enough gap so the noise level doesn't become overwhelming. I can think of some interesting and of course geeky things to add to it.

In theory, it starts less efficient. Consider 10 people talking to each other for 2 minute slots each. That takes 18 minutes and each person hears the other for 1 minute. In an "around the circle" talk, everybody gets 1.8 minutes to talk to the whole crowd in that amount of time, so they can express almost twice as much.

However, the conversation is two-way and thus will center in on what really matters to each person. You won't waste time telling the other person things they already know, or can't understand, and they can ask questions to get at what's important. So the question is, can that be twice as good as listening to a person address an audience (with possible audience questions.)

(In speed dating you only meet half the people in the room, unless it's bi speed dating. Has anybody done bi speed dating?)

To improve it, I can imagine people making notes (in the geeky for computerized notes) on which people had the most interesting things to talk about or just telling the person interesting things to say until you distill the thing that person has to say that everybody should hear, and so then shift into a phase where each person addresses the entire group, saying things derived from all the one on ones.

As noted you might counter the inefficiency by having groups of 3 or 4 but then you may find it hard to pattern it. A group of 9, split into 3 groups of 3, meets 4 times, each grouping with no overlap. That's 12 minutes for each person to have a minute, which is only 33% extra not 90% extra.

chef JoAnna via email

I thought the same thing you did, CJ, when I heard of speedgeeking. and I'd rather ask my own questions :-)

but what about a blend of the two? the idea of having a smaller group to talk to (4-5 people) would be nice, in that you would give your monologue less often & that would save time. but you'd spend maybe 15 mins as a group, instead of just 5 with an individual. the purpose is to meet, get a bit of face time, and then contact later if the vibe is good. right?

and it would be a little less awkward to spend time with virgin-seeking MTV'ers in disguise

don't know how you'd shuffle people, tho, didn't get that far into doing the math.

chef JoAnna via email

BTW, I did figure out a way that the rotations could go pretty smoothly. It isn’t as complicated as it looks.

Write a number, 1 thru 25, on each nametag in order, as people come in.
-- if there’s more than 25, still go 1 thru 25, and then start at 1 again...

Then print out a grid for each table. I've attached a grid for a room that’s set up with 5 tables.

Everyone gives their 2-min spiel, everyone trades biz cards, over 15-20 mins.

When the time’s up, everyone would simply go to the next table, as listed on the grid, and start again with the spiels...

It’s arranged so that everyone will meet everyone else by the time the night is done It should take about 1.5 hours to get through the whole thing, then if there’s time, people can do open networking after that.


I've been getting a lot of responses to this post in email, so I'm trying to post those responses up here to have an open conversation. I LOVE the thoughtful comments and good ideas.

Michael Lambie

Heather, sorry i missed. i can't wait to speed geek soon.

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