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

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Mon May 30 14:52:23 PDT 2016


Dave,

I like where you are going with this email thread.

I'll expand to say that making an informed decision about FOSS4G city 
selection involves:

1. A significant time studying proposals

2. Significant experience understanding the complexities running a 
conference (as experienced by prior foss4g committees)

Unless board members have been involved in running a conference they 
would likely need to defer to expertise of others in making a FOSS4G 
decision.

Volunteer effort is thin in both the conference committee and the board 
committee (to the level required to understand a FOSS4G proposal). I 
agree with Dave about outsourcing this work.

As it stands, I think the conference committee is better qualified to 
make a better decision on FOSS4G selection. But board input should be 
welcomed.

Warm regards, Cameron

On 31/05/2016 1:11 am, Dirk Frigne wrote:
> Dave,
>
> 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.
>
> Dirk.
>
> 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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-- 
Cameron Shorter,
Software and Data Solutions Manager
LISAsoft
Suite 112, Jones Bay Wharf,
26 - 32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009

P +61 2 9009 5000,  W www.lisasoft.com,  F +61 2 9009 5099

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