The sixth and final Hacker Camp Shenzhen begins in a few days. We’ll do the typical tours, market shopping, factory visits, and lots of eating and drinking. There are around 30 purchased tickets, and another dozen repeat campers and locals coming along to help.
Hacker Camp has been amazing because of the totally cool people who come, but the stench of death has been noticeable for a while. Shenzhen has become too damn trendy and Hacker Camp is attracting the wrong kind of people.
Hacker Camp is about authentic connections with hackers from all over the world, and getting hands on experience exploring the massive resources available here. So, when an executive assistant at a major venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road tries to weasel into a sold out event like this:
My name is Theresa and I got your contact information from Anjney. I was hoping you could help me with getting a ticket for Mike to the Hacker Camp on March 24-26th. The camp is now sold out.
Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated! J
_EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT _
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
2750 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Then our ‘executive assistant’ sends a reply like this:
Thanks for inquiring about Hacker Camp Shenzhen. Tickets sell extremely fast, we are both sold out and over-sold.
There is an Elite VIP package available exclusively to VCs. For $25,000USD we will strap a Go-Pro camera to one camp participant and one small dog named LingLing. At the end of the camp we’ll send you the videos by DHL!
Now you are no doubt thinking “Two perspectives for $25,000, that’s a lot of value!” You’re right! So if you want, you can pay more!
Thanks again for inquiring about Hacker Camp Shenzhen.
Shenzhen Dangerous Prototypes Electronics Technology INC
1106A Galaxy Plaza, Huaqiangbei, Shenzhen, China
We email detailed instructions to campers. We have a forum. There’s a WeChat group for communicating with other campers. Today we got an email from an executive assistant at another venture capital firm asking basic questions that are easily answered via any of these avenues.
It’s clear these three participant haven’t personally read the emails or joined the WeChat group. If they’re so disconnected from the event that an executive assistant is following up on Hacker Camp then we don’t want them here.
We grumbled in the WeChat group and by almost unanimous decree decided to refund their tickets and suggest it would be best not to come to the events. We assume they’re in mid air and that poor executive assistant will have to forward our profanity laden response when they hit the ground. We’re sure they’re lovely people, but people who haven’t prepared for the camp shouldn’t come.
Hacker Camp is a fun way to meet amazing people and get fresh perspectives on the resources in Shenzhen. As Shenzhen gets trendy, for example the 20 page spread in the latest Wired magazine, it’s harder and harder to maintain an authentic experience.
In the future we hope to ditch the Hacker Camp Shenzhen name and create something new. Something more informal and curated. There will likely be an application and interview process to filter out non-hackers. It’s been clear for a while that Hacker Camp isn’t sustainable in the form we want to present, and today venture capital people with executive assistants killed it for good.