[Board] [OSGeo-Conf] Conference Committee Review, WAS: Proposal: Invite Andrea Ross, from LocationTech to join the OSGeo Conference Committee

Dirk Frigne dirk.frigne at geosparc.com
Mon May 30 08:11:43 PDT 2016


Thank you for your mail.
It is very informative, and I will put a topic on the next board meeting
on June, 9. I think the points we should discuss at the board level are:

1. What does the board expect from the conference committee, so it can
make a right decision.
2. What is the vision of the board concerning the most important event
of OSGeo.

It is clear FOSS4G (main and side events) become more and more important
to outreach to new potential members, and to connect and 'energise' the
current members. Almost every week there is a FOSS4G event somewhere on
this planet. It should be great to have an overview list of all the
FOSS4G events taken place in the last 10 years. I've seen a slide by
Till about the global FOSS4G events with the number of attendees, but an
overview of all the events would give a good insight in the importance
of the movement.

I will be in Bonn and open for a face2face meeting with other members of
the committee to discuss these topics.


On 30-05-16 16:07, Dave McIlhagga wrote:
> Steven,
> First of all - I think this committee has done a lot of really good and
> very important work over the years, so for everyone here please don’t
> take any of this as a criticism of the work that’s been done in the
> past. I think we’ve done the best we can with what we’ve had to work
> with and the mandate of the committee.
> Note: I’ve cc’d the board here as some of this needs to be discussed at
> the board level not just within this committee.
> I have a few areas of concern that I think are worth a discussion here:
> 1. *Who Decides?*
> I believe we need to separate out the “Doing” from “Decisions” —
> Committee’s are put in place to handle the _/workload/_ that would be
> too onerous for the board, and to make decisions that individually have
> _/relatively low impact on the organization as a whole/_. The Board is
> responsible for making the _/decisions that will have significant impact
> on the organization/_.
> With that in mind — my suggestion here is that regardless of the process
> we go through to decide on locations for future events, organizing
> committees, timing etc.., (more on this below) the board should be
> making the ultimate decision on the annual event, if for no other reason
> than it’s financial impact on the organization. Any event could have +/-
> $100,000 impact on the organization, and this today is the primary
> source of funding for OSGeo. By definition, that makes this decision the
> most important decision OSGeo makes every year.
> Having said that — as we all know here, there is a ton of leg work that
> precedes making this decision — and that’s where the work of this
> committee should be focused. If this group can be in the business of
> _running and managing_ the process of putting on the conference each
> year, and _advising_ the board on options, pros/cons, etc.. ie. helping
> the board to make an informed decision, then we’re doing our job as a
> committee. Then the board can make this key decision based on the
> direction the board is taking the organization. Is fundraising
> important? Is hosting the event in places OSGeo is strong important? Or
> maybe in places it’s weak and wants to grow? Depending on budget plans
> and many other factors — the answers to these questions can be quite
> different.
> 2. *Selection Process*
> I feel that the competitive process we’ve established that was arguably
> well suited for the early days of OSGeo (it was definitely a step
> forward from yours truly choosing - which was the process pre-OSGeo) —
> has run it’s course. With the amount of experience we have under our
> collective belts, and the size of the events we’re dealing with, why do
> we every year need to more or less start from scratch, and waste
> valuable community volunteer time in competition rather than doing
> something collaboratively?
> A very simple example of where the current process fails to meet OSGeo’s
> needs is the proposed dates from the most recent selection process.
> Every proposal suggested an August date for the event … why? Because it
> was the cheapest period to rent venues, and could as a result drive the
> most profit for OSGeo, increasing every LOCs chance of being selected.
> That’s possibly the right way to do things … but it also means
> overlapping with many peoples vacation periods, meaning many attendees
> that would typically come, won’t. Was that a good thing? The competitive
> process meant right or wrong, we were more or less “stuck” with an
> August date.
> What if instead we did something along the following (this is just to
> get the brain juices flowing, not definitive):
> 1. Find a PCO we can work with year-after-year … this would make life
> simpler for the committee, and cheaper for OSGeo as there’s no
> year-after-year re-learning. It also means we can much more effectively
> learn from our mistakes and have consistent relationships to work with
> to put on a better show every year.
> 2. We come up with a predictable date/schedule so that attendees and
> critically sponsors can plan around it year-after-year.
> 3. Committee looks into optional cities/countries to host through a lens
> of a combination of availability, cost, transport access, and access to
> locals who could help form a LOC. If this sounds like a lot of work …
> well that’s why you have a PCO you work with year after year, who can do
> the leg work on this for you efficiently and far better than any of us
> can. This also gives you *negotiating* position with the various
> venues/hotels/cities. With a conference the size of FOSS4g, most cities
> have one venue that can support it … not much bargaining room when
> you’re the LOC. But when you’re OSGeo that go to any city .. you can
> negotiate.
> 4. All of this combined allows us to consult the board on options we’re
> finding, fine tune based on the board’s needs — and ultimately work in
> collaboration with the board to come up with a selected city, that has a
> high chance of success given we’re putting our collective knowledge and
> the PCOs together without having to pick “one proposal vs. another”.
> I’m not sure if this is all making sense — sometimes email isn’t the
> best communicator, but I guess my point is, I think we can do a lot
> better than the current process, and arguably with far less cumulative
> volunteer time when you combine the efforts of the committee and X
> bidding LOCs.
> Worth a discussion at least I’d suggest?
> Thanks,
> Dave
> Dave McIlhagga
> dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com>
> /Maps at your fingertips/
> /
> /
> www.mapsherpa.com <http://www.mapsherpa.com>
>> On May 27, 2016, at 1:25 AM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com
>> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> Dave
>> Surely the board should delegate important tasks to its committees not
>> take on more work?
>> It sounds like you think something has gone wrong with the selection
>> process, can you explain?
>> Steven 
>>> On 26 May 2016, at 19:28, Dave McIlhagga <dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com
>>> <mailto:dmcilhagga at mapsherpa.com>> wrote:
>>> Steven,
>>> I couldn’t agree more — this committee has probably the single
>>> biggest impact of any OSGeo activities on the Foundation,
>>> particularly from a financial perspective.
>>> If we’re going to look at this — I think we should look at the whole
>>> picture of how we do things here. It has long been a concern of mine
>>> that the most important decision that OSGeo makes every year is
>>> effectively delegated away by the board who is the elected group in
>>> fact charged with representing the interests of the membership.
>>> The number 1 change I would recommend is that this committee provide
>>> all of the logistical services to review conference options, help
>>> local organizing committees, and all of the other leg work a
>>> committee exists to handle. But the over-riding guidance of what the
>>> international FOSS4G annual conference should be all about, how OSGeo
>>> decides where/how conference is hosted and run each year, should
>>> really be in the domain of the Board.
>>> This group can help that process out extensively given the breadth of
>>> experience of the members. If it makes sense to continue the RFP
>>> process as we have in the past (which I’m not convinced of) - then
>>> this committee can manage that whole process, but I don’t believe we
>>> should be casting the votes. It’s too important a decision for the
>>> Foundation. Providing experience, perspective, and commentary on
>>> proposals to the board is reasonable — but I feel it’s time that the
>>> board take back this decision making authority.
>>> Technically, the board does approve the decision of the committee —
>>> but this has never been overturned, and in my opinion, the year we
>>> failed in China was a direct outcome of this process - I don’t think
>>> we’ve really learned our lesson from that yet.
>>> Dave
>>>> On May 26, 2016, at 12:40 PM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com
>>>> <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>> Andrea
>>>> Definitely not my intention to indicate support no process. 
>>>> Conference Committee is imho second most important committee of
>>>> OSGeo, my view is it should have process for selection, clear bounds
>>>> of authority and expectations on members. 
>>>> Would be good to hear views from a broad cross section of current
>>>> and past members
>>>> Steven
>>>>> On 25 May 2016, at 22:01, Andrea Ross <andrea.ross at eclipse.org
>>>>> <mailto:andrea.ross at eclipse.org>> wrote:
>>>>> Steven, All
>>>>> Are you stating no process or criteria because you believe that's
>>>>> best, or to draw attention to it being a very bad idea? I can't
>>>>> tell through email. :-)
>>>>> Andrea
>>>>>> On 25/05/16 13:08, Steven Feldman wrote:
>>>>>> I thought that had been agreed by nearly everyone who commented
>>>>>> although there may have been one or two objections including mine.
>>>>>> It seems that if you want to join conference committee there is no
>>>>>> process or criteria, you say you want to join and then you can.
>>>>>> Quite what happens when you go silent I don't know? Membership
>>>>>> allows vote for location of FOSS4G which raises question about
>>>>>> potential "packing" of vote but so far we've not had a problem so
>>>>>> maybe not an issue.
>>>>>> If Maxi wants to be a member, I guess he is one. @Maxi, feel free
>>>>>> to add yourself to the current members list
>>>>>> Steven
>>>>>>>> On 24 May 2016, at 15:19, Venkatesh Raghavan
>>>>>>>> <venka.osgeo at gmail.com <mailto:venka.osgeo at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> On 2016/05/24 20:13, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>>>>>>>> Conference Committee,
>>>>>>>> I'd like to propose that we invite Andrea Ross to join the OSGeo
>>>>>>>> Conference Committee.
>>>>>>> Firstly, we need to decide on the request from Maxi to join
>>>>>>> the conference committee which was seconded by me.
>>>>>>> Venka
>>>>>>>> +1 from me, Cameron Shorter.
>>>>>>>> My reasoning is that Andrea has a lot of experience running
>>>>>>>> conferences,
>>>>>>>> especially through his involvement with LocationTech, and there are
>>>>>>>> synergies that could be gained by aligning OSGeo and LocationTech
>>>>>>>> effectively.
>>>>>>>> I note that there have been concerns aired previously about
>>>>>>>> LocationTech
>>>>>>>> competing to take over OSGeo's flagship FOSS4G event. I'm of the
>>>>>>>> opinion
>>>>>>>> that we should be mindful of this, but we should discuss the options
>>>>>>>> openly and I believe we can find a solution favourable for all. An
>>>>>>>> effective way to support this conversation is to invite Andrea
>>>>>>>> to be one
>>>>>>>> vote among our conference committee.
>>>>>>>> Warm regards, Cameron
>>>>>>>>> On 24/05/2016 6:31 am, Andrea Ross wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Dear Steven, & Everyone
>>>>>>>>> I've not been invited to the conference committee, but I will be in
>>>>>>>>> Bonn, and I'm always glad to chat/meet.
>>>>>>>>> Kind regards,
>>>>>>>>> Andrea
>>>>>>>>> On May 22, 2016 3:04:03 AM EDT, Steven Feldman
>>>>>>>>> <shfeldman at gmail.com <mailto:shfeldman at gmail.com>>
>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Who is going to be in Bonn for FOSS4G?
>>>>>>>>> It's an opportunity for the Conference Committee and interested
>>>>>>>>> people to meet face to face, we could discuss some of the topics on
>>>>>>>>> the 'outstanding
>>>>>>>>> list'http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee_2016_Priorities
>>>>>>>>> <http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Conference_Committee_2016_Priorities>
>>>>>>>>> and we could start preparing the call for 2018
>>>>>>>>> Anyone interested?
>>>>>>>>> Steven
>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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>>>>>>>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
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Yours sincerely,

ir. Dirk Frigne
CEO @geosparc

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