We were in Montreal last night for the FacebookCampMontreal event, its was our first time in Montreal as part of their Barcamp community. The FacebookCampMontreal event combined both the developer and marketing tracks into a single night and was able to get nearly 200 people in the SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques ).
SAT is great venue and was easily divided into the 2 tracks when required and most importantly had an open bar the whole night.
We bounced around between the different tracks most of the
night. Some thoughts on the different
tracks are blow:
Montreal is #9 in overall Facebook city networks and the power of Facebook as marketing platform has certainly spread to the city. I think when Facebook does actually launch a French version it will absolutely take off in Montreal.
Roy and I did a keynote for the night, trying to balance both the developer and marketing interests in the room. Our goal was to provide some updates on the Facebook Platform and some real numbers on Facebook in the world and Canada.
I attended the develop panel because I find the developers often have interesting ideas and solutions. Jerome Paradis was also part of the panel, who met at FacebookCampToronto2 and wanted to hear his views on the Facebook platform. The developer panel was good mix of developers with lots of experience with online and interactive development. The panel included developers from a variety of platforms, .NET, PHP, ROR etc… Many of the Facebook developer challenges and problems were discussed.
I’ve also been a big face of live demos so I stayed through most the developers demos.
BabyTel was the first demo of the nite and unfortunately had some problems with the internet connection. They demo’d their Egg phone application which lets you call Facebook friends that also have the application installed. The application will soon include the ability to call real phones. I think this application will be great when it can be installed on an Business Page as a ‘Call Me’ button.
My first reaction to the BlipCast demo was yuck!, when I saw the iframe inside Facebook that didn’t fit the Facebook style or design. As the demo progressed I thought it was interesting to see all the different media options that they are bring into Facebook. The application presents videos similar to Youtube but provides more of the Facebook social context. I think this is a big advantage
for users that don’t want to invest in a Youtube account and friend network. I do think the application would be more appealing with a more Facebook similar style.
Bok’s main business is providing cheap long distance using
an SMS call back system. They have created an application that lets you go through this process inside Facebook. You click on a friend and
choose the call them and you receive a call back shortly from Bok with your friend on the phone line. Again I see a lot of advantages for this type of service for business pages.
The final panel was made up of a variety of people including, Sebestian Provencher, who I know quite well from Yellowpages. While the discussion was a mix of English and French it was hard to follow the fast past discussions in French. From what I did pick up it was interesting to hear the perspective of the panel members on the value of Facebook to their lives and businesses. The discussion also covered the Microsoft and Facebook relationship and the impact on the trust level with Facebook. There was a lot of comparisons with Google and their “Don’t be Evil” culture and if a similar culture is possible with Facebook.
Overall a great night, I met a lot of interesting people and the Montreal tech community certainly has a lot going on. There was also a lot of marketing and advertising agencies in attendance so there was some great discussions around the marketing tracks.