21st September 2008, the weather prediction where, "Heavy rains" expected and so was the crowd at the first in its kind, PHPCamp. With over 700+ Campers, 4 Un-Organizers, and Over 200+ volunteers, PHPCamp was proud to say that "PHPCamp, the biggest un-conference in India". Can anyone debate on that?
The only sad thing that could have happened is one of the unorganizers missing out on PHPCamp, and I was the unlucky one to miss out.
How it all Started?
12th July (Saturday), I was with Amit Singh. We said let's do something in Pune, as we had not announced BarCamp Pune 5 then. Amit says, "BarCamp Pune has always seen a rise in no of speakers on Java related technologies, there is hardly anything with respect to PHP", and that was it. Both of us simultaneously said, " Let's do a PHPCamp, unconference targeting PHP geeks in India"
1 week later
We have PHPCamp created, and we start announcing the date for PHPCamp.
We were looking out for a venue, what better than Persistent, I told Vinod Kulkarni (Associate Vice-President from Persistent) about PHPCamp, and he found this idea interesting ( so did many in our circle). We had our venue decided, it was Persistent Systems
Early days, the camper's count was somewhere around 40. We were expecting around 300 camper's to be at the PHPCamp. But future of PHPCamp was decided the moment it was announced.
Within few days of announcing PHPCamp, we got our first Sponsor, Cogent Technologies, and followed that we gotPune IT Labs, and 01Synergy . Even DirectI was keen on sponsoring PHPCamp, by then it was too late. At DirectI the concept of Un-conference is liked by everyone.
First signs of Success
Thanks to Mr.Devidas Deshpande from Pune Mirror, he wrote a news article ("Camping to Connect"), which was purely targeting PHP and the concept behind PHPCamp. Those were the days when the count was somewhere around 350- 400.
2 Weeks before the D-Day
The Camper's count shoots to 600+. Volunteers Count shoots to 130+, PHPCamp, creating ripples across the country and abroad. Everyone had something to share on the PHPCamp Google Group. Everyone was excited about PHPCamp, thanks to the blogger's community in India, everyone had the "I am attending PHPCamp" tag on their blog.
Camper's Count was 1170 (Expecting 50% turn out as this was un-conference and not a conference). We had 8 volunteers from Symbiosis (SICSR), Varun Arora, Tarun, Nishant, Rashmi, Smriti, and 3 others. I was not in Pune, I had some Training to attend. With so many people gathering, Tarun Chandel and Rohit Srivastava started the camp in their own style ("Tashan Mein"), they introduced everyone to the concept of what un-conference is like and nitty-gritty of it. We always wanted everyone to enjoy every bit of PHPCamp. I call Amit Singh at around 3 PM, and first thing he has to say, "Man you are missing out on the fun, we have broken all the records".
What Happened at the Camp?
Sadly, I had missed the show, you can get updates from the following blogs ( there are around 140+ people blogging about PHPCamp).
Next year it would be even bigger and the noise would be unbearable, let's say "PHPCamp Rocked".