[OSGeo-Conf] Analysing the downfall of FOSS4G 2011

Paul Ramsey pramsey at opengeo.org
Tue Aug 14 11:57:52 PDT 2012

On Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 11:46 AM, Frank Warmerdam <warmerdam at pobox.com> wrote:
> I agree with Jachym that it is still desirable to give the local
> organizers quite a bit of freedom and that we should accept that
> occasional failure is not a disaster.

On the contrary, I'd say that random failures are a disaster and will
actually contribute to more failures. As Cameron noted in his
document, the success of a conference is tied to the perceived
expectations. Throwing a conference is like throwing a party. Do you
want to go to a lame party? No, you want to go to a rocking party. If
PartyPete throws awesome parties every Thursday, you'll clear your
schedule as next Thursday rolls around. If LameLou throws passable
parties sometimes, and sometimes cancels them, you'll start going to
PartyPete's instead. Consistency is very important.

The same thing will go double for sponsors: are you going to commit to
early sponsorship and send a cheque to an event that was cancelled
last year? Or will you hold on to your cheque until the last minute
just in case? The uncertainty effect is going to make the financial
situation of future conferences more precarious as sponsors and
registrants hedge their bets until later in the calendar. This will
only get worse if we embrace failure as an occasionally acceptable


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