This weekend I attended Refactor Camp and it was amazing.

Refactor Camp is a weekend retreat / unconference thrown by Ventkat Rao of ribbonfarm. RibbonFarm is a delightfully geeky blog which explores themes of complex systems, civilization, technology, psychology, etc. Venkat also has an online community, of which I’ve been a member for a while, which discusses those themes and current articles / events related to them. Refactor Camp is an annual gathering of that community.

This weekend was composed of lightening talks and unconference group sessions. The talks were by attendees and the breakout group topics were chosen by the participants. The venue was the Computer History Museum, which proved a great setting for the discussion and the exhibits were a fun break from the main content.

The entire weekend was a blast. The participants were all awesome, the lightening talks were stimulating, and the breakout groups were insightful; the conversations happening in the negative space - between planned events - were all incredible, too.

I’m don’t think I learned any major, new concepts but there were still many benefits to attending - beyond the joy of the conversations.

We discussed the upside to analyzing, refactoring the world and developing better models. The consensus, which I agree with, is that it better prepares one to engage with problems and uncertainty as they appear. Pasteur has a quote about fortune favoring the prepared mind; I find analytical exercises, model building, and conceptual refactoring to be excellent at preparing one’s mind.

I gave one of the lightening talks today. The topics was Collaborative Production - something I’ve been discussing for ages and been meaning to write a blog post (or several) about. Refactor Camp was a good catalyst to solidify and articulate my thinking. I was extremely pleased with the reception of the talk and the conversation it spurred! I might throw the slides online but I’ll probably just translate them into a blog post.

The weekend was excellent and I’m looking forward to continuing the discussions, online. On a final note, Refactor Camp made me grateful that I get to have incredible, in-person conversations year round because I’m surround by amazing, brilliant people who also like to geek out about everything!