[OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Discount for Charter Members proposal

Andrew Ross andrew.ross at eclipse.org
Tue Aug 26 06:31:37 PDT 2014

Thank you for the email Bart. I feel this is definitely worth exploring 
and I'm glad to participate.

What makes sense for the next steps?

On 26/08/14 07:46, Bart van den Eijnden wrote:
> Hey Andrew,
> (my response is a personal response, not a board response).
> First off I’d like to thank you for the kind offer of working 
> together. I want to make sure we discuss this at the board level and 
> hopefully come to some consensus on this.
> Personally I am very interested to see what this collaboration could 
> bring both parties.
> Best regards,
> Bart
> On 15 Aug 2014, at 05:51, Andrew Ross <andrew.ross at eclipse.org 
> <mailto:andrew.ross at eclipse.org>> 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 
>> <mailto: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 <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
>>         <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 <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>
>>         <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>
>>                 <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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