Post-NSC1 thoughts

I finally got a chance to catch up on some much needed sleep last night. The past weekend has been nothing short of awesome.  Our inaugural Neoteny Singapore Camp 1 (NSC1) event went without major fails, and the speaker and crowd quality, level of discussion and energy levels were superb and electrifying.  Even though Sean and I were basically the only guys working the plumbing on NSC1, and we would have loved to claim all the credit for its success, in reality, it was the participation of each and every one of you that made this big party a raving success!

I would also like to extend my gratitude once again, to our wonderful sponsors – SMU Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Digital Garage, IDA, Mozilla Foundation, SingTel Innovation Exchange, NTU Ventures and Pivotal Labs.

NSC1 sponsors

Panel on "Product, Process and Software Agility", as seen through the video camera

Panel on "Product, Process and Software Agility", as seen through the video camera

In organizing the event, we stuck firmly to the principles of Agile, by deciding what outcomes we wanted to have (writing the tests), before rapidly iterating the various ‘blocks’ of the event until the entire event took shape.  The fail list quickly filled up as the event progressed; bad wifi, no breakfast/coffee in the morning, the A/V in the auditorium failing on Johannes midway through his talk, the projector in Seminar Room 2-1 giving way and causing mayhem to the unconference scheduling, and schedule overrun.  Still, we made it through most of it with some nifty on-the-ground adaptation.

Day 1 afternoon unconference sessions

Day 1 afternoon unconference sessions

Some highlights of the event for me were:

  • ‘Poser’ wannabe Agile developers = FrAgile; Pivotal Labs should totally make a 2-sided shirt that says Agile on 1 side, and FrAgile on the other;
  • Overcoming the cultural fear of failure was a key theme on day 1 of NSC1 – people really seemed interested in that;
  • “FAIL” and “suck” were Joi’s 2 favorite words;
  • A 10-year old boy conducted an entire 30-minute unconference discussion on what kids want from web services – how awesome is that?!?
  • Good food by our caterer Purple Sage – even though they seemed to think that it was ok for vegetarian dishes to contain egg products, which was weird;
  • Mozilla Drumbeat saw 10 brave souls pitch their ideas on how to make the web a better place, while the rest of us enjoyed free beer, cola and chips;
  • A packed unconference session by Joi on termsheets and valuation – what began as a 30-minute segment rolled over to an hour;
  • We lost ~70% of the crowd on Day 2, but had almost no drop-off in participants;
  • The last panel, “Did iPhone/Droid kill all other mobile platforms?” generated a really good (albeit heated) conversation despite being delayed to 6pm on Sunday;
Unconference session by Joi Ito on "Termsheets & Valuation" on Day 2 at NSC1

Unconference session by Joi Ito on "Termsheets & Valuation" on Day 2 at NSC1

There were probably a lot more I couldn’t remember. I also definitely didn’t get a chance to meet and talk to every attendee. Still, despite not getting enough rest and running around like a mad man to see to the endless list of logistical fails, I am really gratified to see the diverse crowd enjoy themselves and learn from each other.

I look forward to having more of you join us to make NSC2 an even bigger and more successful event.  That’s all folks!

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.