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How to Create Successful Unconferences, BarCamps, & Meetups for Almost No $$

Marketing and Community
Location: 2009 Level: Intermediate

We’ve seen in the past year how unconferences, barcamps, and other grass roots conference structures have become powerful tools to develop community; virally market standards, tools, and ideas; and launch new companies and networks. The focus of the discussion will be how conferences that are organized—or at least, begin, on an ad hoc basis as unconferences and barcamps—can actually generate powerful momentum in pushing forward standards, networks, and community.

We’ll discuss best practices, strategies for success, marketing tips, insider knowledge, and tales from the trenches with the organizers and founders of three very successful unconferences: Tara Hunt, co-founder of BarCamp and lead organizer for BarCampBlock; Elisa Camahort, co-founder of Blogher and lead for its conference series: and unconference expert Kaliya Hamlin, cofounder of She’s Geeky, an unconference for women who identify as geeks.

Susan Mernit, Yahoo! senior director, board advisor to Blogher, and co-organizer for the recent She’s Geeky and a long-time social media and community blogger, will moderate this panel.

Photo of susan mernit

susan mernit


Susan Mernit is co-founder and CEO of Hack the Hood, a non-profit organization that teaches young people of color tech skills and prepares them for tech careers around the Bay area. She founded Oakland Local, an acclaimed non-profit news site, in 2009.
Hack the Hood is a 2014 winner of the Google Impact Challenge. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & a former Yahoo! Senior Director, Mernit has been a consultant for The Knight Community Information Challenge and a consultant to organizations including Salon.com & TechSoup Global. She led a start-up that was a 2008 Tech Stars Company, and is one of the founders of Code for Oakland, an open gov/hackathon event

Photo of Elisa Camahort Page

Elisa Camahort Page

BlogHer Inc

Elisa Camahort is a co-founder and COO of BlogHer, managing its events, marketing and corporate operations. A marketing executive with 17 years of experience in Silicon Valley, Elisa left her life in high tech product management to go online and join the social media world, and to help companies go there too.

She co-founded BlogHer as a labor of love in 2005 with Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, and in two short years BlogHer has grown to be the number-one guide to and source for blogs by women. BlogHer serves its mission of creating opportunities for education, exposure, community and economic empowerment with its web community, sold-out conferences and advertising network that now features nearly 1,000 network members.

Elisa Camahort was at the vanguard of professional and business blogging and currently writes nine blogs. She blogs at various times about marketing, health issues, green and eco-conscious living, being a vegan, and reality TV talent shows like American Idol and Project Runway! She’s a frequent public speaker in the areas of business blogging and online community, and has been published frequently, including her monthly column for the Silicon Valley Metro, Silicon Veggie.

Photo of Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt


Tara is the cofounder and CEO of Buyosphere.com, author of The Whuffie Factor, (published in 8 languages) and public speaker who explains how the social web is changing the customer/business relationship. She also spends an inordinate amount of time on social networks.

Photo of Kaliya Hamlin

Kaliya Hamlin

She's Geeky

Identity Woman, Kaliya Hamlin, is a catalytic leader in the field of user-centric identity. She is a Steward of the recently formed Identity Commons aiming to address both tech and non-tech issues around identity. In the last four years, she has helped grow a thriving technical community around the topic and founded Internet Identity Workshop with Phil Windley and Doc Searls (our 6th coming up in may). She specializes in face-to-face interactive methods for community building that have been successful in supporting the collaboration of Liberty Alliance, MSFT, and light weight identity efforts.