|2012's Board of
The Seventeenth Annual
The goal of Project Bar-B-Q is
INFLUENCING AUDIO HARDWARE &
To this end, workgroups are formed on the spot, each consisting of hardware developers, software developers, audio engineers, composers, tech executives, and the like. Each group tackles a problem that has been identified as one of the industry's most important, spending two days of facilitated brainstorming to formulate its best shot at a solution. The result of this work is the annual BBQ report.
An Expensive Problem
Keeping pace with the rapidly changing computer audio business is no easy task, and countless dollars and man-hours depend on it. What individual has the required level of expertise in hardware, software, music, audio, marketing, the Internet, streaming and wireless technologies, IP, law, technical standards, business politics and entertainment fads to understand where computer audio was, is, and where it's going--let alone to influence it?
The Solution Begs for Radical Tactics
It's a tough situation, and to answer it, many of the deep-thinkers of this industry reserve three days each October to attend an intense Texas-style think-tank called Project Bar-B-Q.
Unlike conventional meetings, BBQ shuns neckties, company logos, and fluorescent lights as detrimental. Attendees do their work under wide Texas skies. They sit around the fire on hay bales, eat top-notch food served up Western-Style, and are given lots of equipment for making music, as well as a robust structure for brainstorming.
The registration fee covers everything from the time attendees are picked up at the airport on Sunday until the time they are dropped back off at the end of the event. This includes conference participation, shuttle service, resort-quality meals, lodging, snacks and entertainment and more than likely a hat, bandana, bolo tie, and maybe even a branding iron.
Things move quickly at BBQ. The first evening and the morning of the second day, attendees are whipped into an intellectual frenzy by free-spirited debates, heavenly meals, inspirational talks, stories of BBQ's past successes, and a series of intentionally irrefutable challenges to the validity of anybody's preconceived agenda.
The BBQ Brothers and Sisters, as they call each other, are not assigned a problem to solve. Instead, they form The Giant Brain and are challenged to do the first task that's impossible for an individual: to identify the four biggest questions/problems the industry faces. Once that's done, they split into four groups to find answers/solutions to the problems, with each attendee joining the group working in the area he finds most compelling. As a climax to the event, each group makes a presentation to the whole camp, and creates a report to be published on the Project Bar-B-Q website.
It has been said that the power of the Giant Brain is too mighty to predict, and not a good thing to try to limit or control too much. The BBQ staff is instructed that sometimes it's not so important what you do, but what you don't do.
As is said to the group at the outset of the conference, "We don’t say ‘no’ to the Muses around here. If one sits on your shoulder and says, ‘Hey, you need to be sittin' on the porch with a cigar making deals with that Microsoft guy and that AMD guy!' you'd better darn well go do what you're inspired to do. If inspiration hits you, we’ll be proud to get the heck out of your way." Inspired attendees are encouraged to step outside the structure of the working groups and form their own Rogue Groups. With smaller numbers and intense inspiration, these groups often act as Special Forces units, and accomplish remarkable things.
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Last update 11/28/2012