There are two kinds of people who go to [normal] conferences: those who create (speakers) and those who consume (attendees). ORD Camp is a collection of the creators, jammed together in an intense 35 hour ad-hoc conference where everyone is expected to participate. It’s busy, overcrowded, stimulating, and full of the unexpected. I’ve always come away from the talks I give with way more than I brought into them because it’s not a monologue, but rather a dialogue with a bunch of amazing people. I always come away from it brimming with ideas and excitement and a fresh perspective on just about everything.
ORD Camp is a ten-car pileup at the intersection of art and technology. I’ve never been so inspired in my life…and that’s not just the beer talking.
Although, to be fair, it might be the whiskey.
“ORD Camp is a 36-hour experiment in creative combustion with Chicago’s community of makers as the reactants.”
“A fun intellectual vacation from the rest of your life. Come learn, think and talk about things you don’t even have time to realize are of deep interest to you.”
“ORDCamp was filled with people who were ludicrously interesting and incredibly passionate. It was an exciting place to be, but more than that, somehow everyone I interacted with wanted not just to hear about the “thing that makes you interesting” but rather, about the “thing you are interested in”. The fact that I used to be a competitive lockpicker was far less intriguing than the ideas around security that I was personally excited about, and that was less interesting than whatever else we would then start discussing. The conversations were always energetic and wide-ranging. Every session I attended, every person I met, was by turns inspiring and validating.”
“Life changing. There’s simply no other way to put it. Imagine being surrounded by the most intelligent and generous people you’ve ever met; all they want to do is share everything they know and send you back into your normal life to do the same to others.”
“It is a low pressure gathering of smart people who want to make the world a better place, but are very realistic about the way to do it. No hippy shit!”
“ORD Camp is a unique event where a set of really really smart eclectic folks come together once a year to share their ideas and hope to enlightened by others. So far, it’s the best conference I’ve ever attended.”
“ORD Camp is like summer camp, except replace summer with January, Lake Tahoe with Lake Michigan, and basket weaving with brain-expanding extemporaneous speaking on topics which an eclectic group of passionate people are most passionate. Highly recommended!”
“I know this sounds corny, but ORD Camp changed my life. [For me it was] An Intellectual Burning Man. A place where passionate people come to share their ideas, create new ideas, and absorb the ideas of others. You’ll leave wishing it never ended. You’ll leave with an even thirstier brain.”
“ORD Camp is the only event I am actually looking forward to the entire year. I liked that I (and everyone else) could bring my passions, whatever they were, and put it right there in front of everyone, knowing they will understand them.”
“If you like people, and you like ideas, and you like people who take ideas seriously enough to act on them, ORD Camp is for you. You can get a friendly but sharp audience for whatever’s on your mind, and you can be that audience for others.”
“It’s the most casual conference ever, anyone can speak or lead a session, and some people take their shoes off. There’s lots of eating, drinking and downtime. It felt a little like grownup nerdy summer camp.”
“It’s not a techie camp; it’s not a startup camp; it’s like a modern liberal arts camp, where people give extemporaneous talks on whatever has been engaging them these days. That means that 1) it’s really important that it’s an invitation-only camp, and 2) the talks are much more conversational and interactive than what you get elsewhere.”
“The brainpower, passion and remarkable lack of icky egos, makes this conference so inviting and powerful… Everyone brings so much of themselves to the conversations and so many great ideas percolate that we fuel Burnham’s mandate to “Think Big.”
“ORD Camp made me realize how incredible life could be when you’re surrounded by people that not only believe everything is possible, but who enjoy proving it through their everyday actions, and encourage and help you to do the same.”
“I didn’t “get” it until I was there…then I “got” it. ORDCamp is about feasting on life with fellow humans who are living and loving it. Every person I talked to had passion about what they were doing with their lives and were bursting with enthusiasm to share it with others. So many ideas and pursuits get crossed up in that one weekend. Interesting things happen at intersections in life. ORDCamp is a couple hundred engaged people intersecting at once.”
“It’s a group of engaged and smart people. Some are tech-types but all seem to want to make the world better in one way or another. There are 9 or so rooms where people claim for an hour and talk about whatever they want to. You can go to one or go around and check a few out. What’s cool is that people will bring in projects they are working on and things they are thinking about. A lot of information sharing. It’s very energizing.”
“Between ORD talks and TED, I remember that there are really other ‘odd people that think like me’. I’m grateful for that.”
“The best, most interesting dinner party you can imagine, served up with a decidedly technical bent and extended over the course of 35 hours.
“ORD Camp is a mash up of individuals who are equal parts passionate, driven, talented and kind. It’s a party for the kind of people who love to talk about their current nerdy obsession or debate tough problems in an open, friendly environment.”
“ORD Camp is like being invited to The Most Interesting Man in the World’s birthday party. Old friends spend all year eagerly awaiting the day; new friends don’t know what to expect. When you get there, everyone realizes that they’re only a few connections away from each other and have so much in common that they’re already friends. The old man who taught their host to hang-glide, the woman he met during a hang-gliding competition last year, and the next-door neighbors who have always wanted to try it eventually find each other and discuss it at length. In the next room, people gather to watch a contortionist arm-wrestle a lion tamer.
Now bring that image back to reality and replace the hang-gliders and lion-tamers with local chefs, artists, educators, Makers, technologists, and government officials. And the occasional contortionist.”
“It’s like I just visited with 200 super cool friends I didn’t know I had.”
“Inspiration, true and legitimate inspiration, is hard to come by in our everyday lives. Our jobs, our families, our stinky dogs, our driveways filled with 2 feet of snow…there are a million things to distract us and bring us back down to Earth. But with ORD Camp, every distraction is a fresh burst of inspiration. From hearing someone talk about the library sciences with the tenderness of a lover to watching someone else take a juggling club to the face, ORD Camp is a frenzy of music and ideas and action that will leave you exhausted, inspired, humbled, and heroic.
Really, it’s simply not to be missed.”
“It’s like a camp organized around your passions. A camp where the state of being is emergent passion and imagination.”
“ORD Camp is the best way to keep your sanity and inspiration stoked between the holidays and the first rays of sunshine in April. Couldn’t make it without ORD Camp.”
“Picture a two-day-long cross between a cocktail party, a garage band practice, and a mad scientists’ convention, and you’ll be in the right ballpark.”
“It’s summer camp with 100+ people that are 100x as smart as you…or at least, 100x as smart as me, from many different disciplines. And it isn’t in summer.”