We set out last year with a simple theory - if you bring intelligent, engaged people together in the right space, great things would happen, even in the absence of a conference structure. We had no idea what this experiment would bring us, and certainly did not anticipate it taking off in the way it has, nor did we know how impressively YxYYers would elaborate on our original theory.
Since last year's YxYY, we've been thinking on what made the culture last year work, as well as how to bring along folks who are joining us for the first time.
So, how does one participate in YxYY?
You are already one of the intelligent, engaged people that we have brought together. So, you've got that down. Beyond that, there are just 3 simple steps to remember.
- Joining In - If you hear a group having an interesting discussion, or starting to engage in some fun, join them!
- Inviting - If you see someone who looks like they want to join, or know of someone who would like to be a part of what you're doing, invite them! If you have started an interesting conversation, or come up with a great idea that you think others would be into, post your location on the YxYY app message board to invite others to join you.
- Wander - We have the Ace to ourselves and if this year's event is anything like last year, there will be a hundred different bits of interestingness happening at any given time. If you find yourself bored, or wondering what people are doing, wander around! You're bound to find something to pique your interest. You can also check the message board of the YxYY app where folks are posting the locations of their impromptu fun!
What about this 'unscheduling' I keep hearing about?
The idea of unscheduling (defined as no pre-published schedules) was part of the experiment of last year. Originally YxYY was supposed to only be about great conversation that spontaneously erupted from this excellent gathering of people.
When we realized that folks had ideas around bringing films, talks, food, games, and other architectures of participation we were excited but realized it could become a highly organized event very quickly and move away from our original idea. So the middle ground was to invite people to create and share as much as they wanted, but with the caveat that they not pre-publish any schedules. Here was our original post on the subject to our FB group about why...
This would make space for a strong sense of spontaneity and a lack of stress about scheduling for the participants (Think: Ooh look at that cool thing happening over there! Not: I have 10 things scheduled that I wanna try to make it to today or I feel obligated to go to my friend's thing at 2pm so I need to leave you now.)
We had plenty of folks tell us when we started that without structure, people wouldn't know what to do with themselves. And now, this is clearly not what has happened. Given space to play and create, people are playing and creating!
Now that more people are planning all types of fun to share, I think the urge to create pre-published schedules will be even greater. I understand too, being a born scheduler.
However, I'm wondering if we can resist and what that part of the experiment might bring us.
The unscheduled component of YxYY's culture is still in its experiment phase. It brought some wonderful serendipitous moments to last year and gave the event a sense of being present and relaxed with one another, without watching the clock or needing to run off to the next thing.
I have an idea! How do I bring it to YxYY?
Ooh, we like you already! You're more than welcome to keep it under your hat until the event, but we've found that it can be stimulating to toss it into the ring ahead of time to see what your idea brings out in others. This can be done by posting on the FB group or the Hackpad Wiki and inviting others to participate in the planning or even just to brainstorm around your idea. If you aren't a member of the FB group and want to be, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you need a space reserved at the Ace for your idea, send an email to email@example.com.
But remember, don't announce the date & time of your bit o' fun before the event! You can post it to the YxYY app message board a little while before it happens to allow people to gather. We're also working on the possibility of some kind of outdoor signage that will display your activity postings, viewable from the pool so you won't have to feel tied to your phone to know what's going on!
YxYY will continue to evolve & we plan to let it.
Can't wait to see what you all conjure this year!