[OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Discount for Charter Members proposal

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Fri Aug 15 05:50:35 PDT 2014

Hi Darrell,
You have made some excellent points, and I'm hoping that at some point 
you will expand upon your initial email. It sounds like you have some 
well thought through and practical ideas about how FOSS4G and its 
relationship with OSGeo should grow.

And I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Andrew's suggestions too.

On 15/08/2014 1:51 pm, Andrew Ross wrote:
> Hey Jeff, Everyone
> I'd like to comment briefly.
> I feel a 800+ person conference is of a sufficient size that it's not 
> a good idea to burn out volunteers organizing. To throw a new team to 
> the wolves each year is extremely risky.
> The obvious options are to not have such a large event, or choose a 
> different model to organize.
> I feel that a conference of such size is very important. It's what 
> draws the ecosystem together and helps it grow. Not having the large 
> event would be a loss.
> It is simply too big to hold at most Universities, and especially in 
> the fall.
> For what it's worth, I also feel smaller regional and plenty of local 
> events are important too. That's orthogonal to the global event though.
> I've been open about what the Eclipse Foundation & LocationTech can 
> do. It has full time staff with experience to run a consistently great 
> technology conferences with lots of camaraderie.
> Let's work together. FOSS4G NA 2015 will be a nice opportunity, test, 
> and display. For those who are highly motivated, feel free to go back 
> to the D.C. bid and provide feedback. I feel it was a great bid, 
> credible, and a good indication of the kind of event we'd hold in the 
> future. Maybe this is a good option to address many of the issues? 
> Worth exploring a bit in any case.
> Andrew
> On August 14, 2014 9:54:49 AM EDT, Jeff McKenna 
> <jmckenna at gatewaygeomatics.com> wrote:
>     Hi Darrell,
>     I can say that in 2011 I did bring this issue strongly, and very
>     publicly, to the OSGeo Board.  I even proposed a part-time position to
>     manage the main FOSS4G conference (google 'foss4g advisor' for some
>     history and fun reading, all there outlined in a public wiki page forever).
>     Well, that didn't happen.  And as you just mentioned, it's still needed.
>     Or, if that cannot happen, we need to realize this, and change our
>     mindset, back to the origins of FOSS4G: a meeting of the tribe, cheap
>     admission, affordable university venues, bare-bones (essentially what
>     our FOSS4G regional events are doing now).
>     Because yes I agree, to assume a bunch of volunteers can run a ~1,000
>     attendee event in the best conference venue in the city and still make
>     it affordable for the tribe to attend, will not work.
>     -jeff
>     On 2014-08-14 12:10 AM,
>     Darrell Fuhriman wrote:
>         I'm trying to formulate a response to this, but it ties into
>         an e-mail that I owe this list, but haven't had time to send
>         because I've been busy finalizing the conference preparations.
>         Also, I'm well into my third pint this evening, so it's
>         probably not the best time. :) While I agree the early bird
>         discount is important for the reasons you state, there
>         actually aren't that many commitments that can be avoided
>         after the deadline. Frankly, the only significant contracts
>         unsigned by our early bird deadline of June 15th were the
>         catering contracts. Though admittedly, that's a substantial
>         portion of the budget -- if we were on that red line, we'd be
>         jettisoning coffee breaks like ballast in a sinking ship. I
>         think right now the quickest thing I can say is that OSGeo has
>         so far shown minimal interest in actually taking
>         responsibility for FOSS4G. If OSGeo is going to increase the
>         demands made on the committee, OSGeo needs to be stepping up
>         and taking a more hands-on approach to conference
>         organization. For the record, I believe OSGeo needs to step up
>         and take such a more hands on approach. I'd love a chance to
>         talk about in person at the board meeting. SotM.us
>         <http://SotM.us> <http://SotM.us> runs very different, and I
>         know from talking with the organizers that it was a challenge
>         to break-even this year. The difficulty is that as conferences
>         get bigger, they get more expensive to put on (primarily
>         because the supply of possible venues shrinks very rapidly,
>         and the per attendee costs go up substantially). They also get
>         logistically more challenging, and having dedicated resources,
>         either employee or outsourced, can vastly decrease the
>         workload on the LOC. Frankly, unless something changes on this
>         front, it's just a matter of time until there's another 2012.
>         To be honest, I'm not sure SotM.us <http://SotM.us>
>         <http://SotM.us> would have been a success if Mapbox hadn't
>         devoted significant employee resources to making sure it was
>         (as they have for the past three SotM.us <http://SotM.us>
>         <http://SotM.us> conferences). Conferences take huge numbers
>         of hours to organize. The inefficiency introduced by having
>         someone re-learn the job every year is substantial, wasteful,
>         and incredibly risky. Anyway, I'm supposed to be on vacation.
>         Greetings from Yellowstone, Darrell On Aug 13, 2014, at 13:41,
>         Cameron Shorter <cameron.shorter at gmail.com
>         <mailto:cameron.shorter at gmail.com>> wrote:
>             I'm open to the idea of providing benefits to osgeo
>             charter members, but suggest having an early bird discount
>             apply to all ticket categories. I'd suggest something like
>             a 5% discount for charter member tickets instead. Note:
>             conferences organisors need to decide whether they will
>             also give such a discount to professional bodies as well
>             (such as professional institute of surveyors). Such
>             organisations often aggressively request a discount for
>             their members in return for publicising foss4g to their
>             membership. There is a very important reason conferences
>             have a early bird discount. It means that conference
>             organisors get an early indication of the number of
>             attendees coming to the conference. This helps
>             significantly with regards to making financial decisions
>             about the conference. In particular, it enables organisors
>             to decide to cancel the conference before having to lock
>             into key financial commitments and potentially sending
>             OSGeo bankrupt. This was very important for us in FOSS4G
>             2009, the year of the global financial crisis, when
>             registrations were much lower than expected. At the early
>             bird deadline, we were aware that we had enough people
>             attending that we would loose less money by going ahead
>             than if we cancelled, so we went ahead. Without that
>             confidence, we likely would have decided to cancel the
>             conference. (In the end more people did register, and we
>             were just able to make a modest profit.) On 14/08/2014
>             4:56 am, Kate Chapman wrote:
>                 Hi All, I think the comparison between the SotM model
>                 and the FOSS4G model is interesting, but it is
>                 important to think about the financial objectives of
>                 each conference. My understanding was that FOSS4G
>                 provides most of the funding for OSGEO over the year,
>                 this isn't the case for SotM. Though successful
>                 sponsorship programs could possibly make up the
>                 difference between the discounted tickets. One note,
>                 I've worked for a few organizations that have paid my
>                 ticket for SotM. I've also paid the mapper price
>                 myself previously as well. I would have not been able
>                 to get them to pay for FOSS4G though. Some of you may
>                 have noticed I have given a workshop every year I've
>                 attended FOSS4G. I would not be able to attend
>                 otherwise. Not that it is conceivable for everyone to
>                 give a workshop to be able to attend. Best, -Kate On
>                 Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 11:46 AM, Daniel Kastl
>                 <daniel at georepublic.de <mailto:daniel at georepublic.de>>
>                 wrote: SotM finances are based on the expectation that
>                 most people attending will be 'mappers' who pay the
>                 lower rate, I doubt they make much money from the
>                 business tickets. Hi Steven, I agree that SotM is a
>                 bit extreme in the price difference. It doesn't need
>                 to be that much. But I can speak for SotM Tokyo, where
>                 I was involved, and there were more business tickets
>                 sold than I expected and they made up a large share of
>                 the total revenue through ticket sales. My main point
>                 is, that for delegates, who get paid the conference by
>                 their employer, a slightly higher price doesn't really
>                 matter (it's just a fraction of the total cost
>                 anyway), because they just pass the costs to the
>                 employer. For the employer it has a value, if one can
>                 see the company name on the badge. But someone from
>                 nearby for example or tries to keep the travel costs
>                 low and takes a holiday to attend FOSS4G, such a
>                 discounted community ticket makes a difference,
>                 whether the person is a charter member or not. I think
>                 we should strengthen the value of the community, not
>                 the "club" of charter members. ;-) Daniel -- 
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Cameron Shorter,
Software and Data Solutions Manager
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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