How about this for a definition?
It's just a small event, but their approach to invitations bugs me a lot. I was already wondering how O'Reilly could keep up their seemingly altruistic behavior on such a massive scale, to the point where they're now more talked about for their community involvements and conferences than for their books. Apparently they couldn't.
It should have been clear that their main interests are not simply to advance technology, to help create new ideas, but that these are just tools to earn money. I simply forgot about that, and liked them a bit more for their apparent openness and enthusiasm. For the apparent attitude of leaving behind the old economy, and for creating a place where ideas are exchanged for the sake of ideas.
Well that has changed; at FooCamp, ideas are exchanged for the sake of money, and first of all O'Reilly's money. When I now read Tim O'Reilly's list of "cuts" of the invitation process I get really pissed off. Every step of his description reads like blatant old capitalism, hidden under a guise of altruism.
Maybe I'm just annoyed because I dislike such quotas. I believe when you select all the guys that generate large numbers on your spreadsheet that you're missing out on important stuff. I have the suspicion that innovative ideas and monopolies don't play very well together.
I loved the Fuckparade, and I welcome the idea of BarCamp. I'm all for the opposition.