[Conference-europe] when and where

Andrea Aime andrea.aime at geo-solutions.it
Fri Aug 22 03:51:02 PDT 2014

On Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM, Jachym Cepicky <jachym.cepicky at gmail.com>

> > * The keynotes: I think we could get a better mix. Now there was no
> > keynote from an open source project, which could probably attract more
> > people. 2 were academic (or seem so when reading the website).
> It was at university, yes, it was a bit academic, but please, do not
> judge local organisation committee. It was presenters, who submitted
> the talks. So, having this in July -> academic talks, any other time
> -> business talks?
> > * The website: For a long time, we only had the keynotes and the
> > academic track online. I found it hard to justify my trip to foss4g-e
> > based on that program.
> It's always matter of schedule and FOSS4G-Europe always starts very
> late with organisation. If you want talks, you have to give people
> time, if you give them time, they will submit late, if they submit
> late, nothing will appear. And as usual, everybody is counting with
> deadline shift (remember last FOSS4G with no deadline shift?)... hen
> and egg problem. but we have to do it as global FOSS4G at this place:
> you are not waiting till talks are published for FOSS4G-Global, you
> are simply going since you know, it's gonna be great.

Quick observations about the two above, since they are both hindering
the participation of companies built around FOSS software.

First off, what makes up the cost of participating for a person that
work in a company? Travel, accomodation, subscription for sure, but for a
that does business you should never forget lost revenue, the person
that goes to the conference is not working, thus not generating revenue
for the company. And if the company is doing well, this can be rather
significant, much more so than the other costs of going to the conference.

So how do you make the company decide to take on both costs and send
people nevertheless? Potential revenue! Which means, give the impression
there will be potential customers there, not just a bunch of nerds (no
offense implied here, I'm one of them), and that there will be occasions
to get in contact with them and pitch your services.
That coupled with staying current with the latest developents should
be enough to get commercial companies to be more present.

Now, potential customers are bigger companies, public administrations
and worldwide orgs in general, these have long/complex procedures
to send someone to a conference, so having the program established
early is key (and the global FOSS4G is doing well here).

Second, provide some space for companies booths and make sure
people end up showing there, be it because it's close/in the way
of going to presentations, or because you're serving food there,
so that the booth is actually visited by people.

Neither of the above is in direct contrast with organizing the conference
in an academic context, but it requires some change in mindset

For how nice FOSS4G-E has been (and it has been nice, and I was part
of the organizing committee), it was truly sad not to see anyone
from Deegree (we were in their backyard!) and a few other european
companies that are pushing for geographical open source

So imho the organization should be accessible to everybody, to
academia, to developers that cannot afford spending much in order
to go to a conference, but also to companies. I don't see a conflict
here, but the conference needs to be organized so that it's appetizing
for companies as well.


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Ing. Andrea Aime
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