Foocamp Hacks

I returned to Sebastopol this year for the second Foocamp, a nerd-laden affair taking place on the rural campus of O’Reilly Publishing. The event is a sort of self-organizing conference of talks on varying topics of technology and geekdom, all of which take place in an unused portion of the O’Reilly offices. In order to navigate an otherwise empty building, the organizers assign different areas with names of animals, in the true O’Reilly tradition. With the only significant defining feature of every room being a sign with the names ant, appaloosa, armadillo, camel, hermit crab, jaguar, koala, opossum, owl, reindeer, tree frog and wallcreeper, it can be pretty difficult to get your bearings.

Tim O'Reilly in the Appaloosa Room
Tim O’Reilly speaks in the Badger Appaloosa Room

What happens when you introduce a subversive element into this environment, equipped with some serious ammunition and a few too many beers?


Campers woke up bleary eyed for talks on Sunday unable to locate their precious knowledge. Hackers watched and rubbed their hands together and sang to themselves, “badger.. badger.. badger.. badger..” No one got hurt, except one poor badger who was ripped to death and a mushroom who was abducted. And the campers got their knowledge.

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