[OSGeo-Conf] Final proposal for hosting FOSS4G 2015 in Seoul, Korea

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Sun May 11 16:12:07 PDT 2014

Hi Sanghee,
You are right to pick me up on my wording of "regional" vs 
"international" conference.
And indeed, we the OSGeo leaders should be using positive terms to 
describe FOSS4G.

So let me re-phrase as "FOSS4G should plan for an exciting international 
event, which will continue to be exciting, and financially viable should 
there be less attendees than in Europe of North America".

Every location has strengths and weaknesses, and Korea has many 
strengths to highlight.

The State of the Map is a good example. With a small number of 
attendees, you tend to find the people who do attend are the 
enthusiasts, the high value community members who make for a vibrant 
enthusiastic event.
In some of the more recent FOSS4G events, I've heard people mention that 
the increased size of the event has led to a reduction in the 
concentration of the community spirit and enthusiasm that FOSS4G started 

One of the other attractors of Korea (and Asia in general) is that the 
region is an exotic travel destination for European / US people.

My reasons for estimating potential lower attendance at FOSS4G Korea are:
Europe and North America attract attendees because the have a rich, 
populous local user base to draw upon.

Sydney (2009) and Johannesburg  (2008) are both remote locations which 
resulting in lower attendance, (and that was when there was only one 
FOSS4G event per year, without competing regional events). Regional 
attendance was over half of the delegates, with international attendees 
previously numbering ~ 200. We are finding regional events are highly 
successful, with attendance at a regional USA/EU foss4g being comparable 
to an international foss4g EU/USA. Ie, international attendance at 
FOSS4G is becoming a relatively minor percentage at foss4g events.

FOSS4G Korea will compete with both a FOSS4G-NA and FOSS4G-EU for 
international delegates and sponsors.
Based on this, I'd guess ~ 80% attendees for FOSS4G Korea will be drawn 
from the Asian region. But the international delegates you do attract 
will be very interesting and create a great "buzz" for this Asian event.

Metrics from prior FOSS4G events:

On 12/05/2014 3:13 am, Bart van den Eijnden wrote:
> Hi all,
> I agree with Sanghee here that it’s important that the message to the 
> outside world will be that this will be the international FOSS4G and 
> not a regional event.
> IMHO this does not prevent us from doing a conservative budget approach.
> Best regards,
> Bart
> On 11 May 2014, at 17:37, 신상희 <shshin at gaia3d.com 
> <mailto:shshin at gaia3d.com>> wrote:
>> Dear Cameron,
>> Most of all I really appreciate your sincere advices and comments 
>> based on your real past experiences. I can feel your sincerity 
>> through your email. As a chair of the LOC, I also have similar 
>> concerns and worries. Actually I have very mixed feeling with much 
>> expectations and many worries on the FOSS4G 2015 at the same time. 
>> Anyway I would like to share my thoughts on your comments and advices.
>> 1. I know one of my biggest weakenss point is that I'm always too 
>> optimistic all the time in my life. I think your realistic or 
>> conservative approach to the number of attendees will be very 
>> valuable compliment to the planning of FOSS4G 2015. I feel that we 
>> need to prepare the contingency plan based on the worst case scenario 
>> just like you mentioned including 'Half for low income prices'
>> Regarding 'Half for low income prices', actually I do feel that 
>> laborers in 'low-income countries' always subsidize us whenever we 
>> buy cheap T-shirts, clothes, electroinc devices or even enjoy 
>> favourable coffee. It's just my feeling and I don't want to start any 
>> social or political debate here. Anyway as I mentioned in my earlier 
>> reply to Steven, I think 'Half for low-income countries' could be 
>> just symbolic policy that could not affect much to our budget. Daniel 
>> already shared his experiences about this policy in SoTM 2012 in Tokyo.
>> However we'll look over the feasibility of this policy and potential 
>> impact to the budget and then we'll finally make a decision whether 
>> we'll employ this policy or not. That's why we mentioned employing 
>> this policy should be discussed with OSGeo Board.
>> 2.  I will not consider FOSS4G 2015 as 'Regional Conference' and will 
>> NEVER have such a mindset in my mind. If I or you or so called OSGeo 
>> leaders think of FOSS4G2015 as 'Regional Conference', that would be 
>> the express ticket to the failure of FOSS4G 2015 immediately, I belive.
>> If I or you consider FOSS4G 2015 as regional one, our decision, 
>> behaviour and activities will be as such and limited, fixed at the 
>> regional level. And if you, OSGeo leaders, have a mindset that FOSS4G 
>> 2015 is a regional conference, and then your mindset will give very 
>> negative sign and effects to general OSGeo guys. That is human. Who 
>> will want to attend the International FOSS4G that is treated and 
>> regarded as regional event after paying lots of airfares and hotel 
>> expenses? They'd better attend their continent's own regional 
>> conference. Also sponsors will be very reluctant to support us, if 
>> they heard FOSS4G 2015 is treated as regional one by OSGeo leaders. I 
>> always believe that our mindset eventually affect our activities and 
>> results in the final results.
>> I know global FOSS4G in Asia will be the BIG challenge to OSGeo and 
>> us. However only if we persitently stick to 'International or Global 
>> FOSS4G 2015', and then we attract more delegates all around the 
>> world. That is the power and value of "International" FOSS4G.
>> 3. Cameron, can I ask why you wouldn't be surprised if there can be 
>> only around 300 attendees at FOSS4G 2015? Because I think your 
>> mentioning about only 300 attendees suddenly creates fear and race of 
>> suggesting which number is lowest or worst case among us. So I just 
>> wonder whether you have mentioned that number with any ground or proof.
>> We experienced simliar situation in 2008 in Cape Town and in 2009 in 
>> Sydney. However total number of attendees always were more than 400. 
>> I felt that your mentioning about 300 attendees is now accepted as 
>> just like BEST case in the FOSS4G 2015 conference. Look at the Paul's 
>> email now.
>> I definately say that we need to prepare very conservative contigency 
>> plan for the wort case. However we don't need to focus our resources 
>> and energy to guess which number is lowest one. Instead we need to 
>> talk about how to increase delegates & sponsors.
>> 4. I think we are on the verge of tipping point that we can goup to 
>> the virtuous cycle or we can go down to the vicious cycle. To go 
>> up to the virtuous cycle, the LOC need OSGeo's help from all around 
>> the world. I know FOSS4G 2015 is BIG challenge. However if we work 
>> together to overcome this challenge, we could get over all the 
>> things. So I ask your help and support.
>> Yep. It would be very diffuclt job for us to make FOSS4G 2015 
>> successful one. So how can we make FOSS4G attractive? Let's go back 
>> to the basic. Why delegates want to attend FOSS4G? Maybe for 
>> learning, for business and networking. For learing, we need globally 
>> distinguished big names participation and those are you.
>> There is an old Korean saying, "Do your best and then wait for the 
>> heaven's order."
>> We, the LOC, are ready to do our best for the success of FOSS4G 2015 
>> and it's now your turn.
>> With regards,
>> Sanghee
>> 2014-05-09 22:34 GMT+01:00 Cameron Shorter <cameron.shorter at gmail.com 
>> <mailto:cameron.shorter at gmail.com>>:
>>     Hi Sanghee,
>>     Thank you for your proposal, and I'm delighted to see Korea
>>     submitting a proposal for FOSS4G. There are a few areas that
>>     makes me feel positive about a response from Korea:
>>     1. I have been impressed with you Sanghee personally, with
>>     regards to your commitment and initiative. Chairing a FOSS4G is a
>>     significant amount of work, and requires some hard decisions. You
>>     will need to be strong enough to say "NO" to a lot of people who
>>     will have valid reasons as to why they should have a discount or
>>     something for free.
>>     2. Korea has run regional foss4g events before, and that will
>>     provide valuable experience and contacts.
>>     However, having said that, I'm concerned about assumptions of
>>     attendee profile, which will have an impact on the budget.
>>     In particular, In your organisor minds, I suggest that you should
>>     consider "FOSS4G Korea" to be a Regional Conference, which has
>>     the added prestige of holding the OSGeo board meeting, and
>>     attracts a handful of international attendees, rather than an
>>     International conference which attracts lots of local attendees.
>>     We learned this lesson the hard way at FOSS4G - Sydney, where we
>>     discovered that less than half our attendees were international.
>>     In particular, the majority of attendees we expected to come from
>>     Europe didn't turn up. Anecdotally, we heard that Europeans were
>>     saving their money for FOSS4G Barcelona the following year. And
>>     that was before the successful FOSS4G-NA and FOSS4G-Europe to
>>     compete with.
>>     Also, be very mindful of the lessons learned from FOSS4G Beijing
>>     [1], which was cancelled.
>>     I suggest that your conservative break even version of the budget
>>     should assume that you will only get a few attendees from Europe
>>     / North America - maybe 30 to 50.  I'd assume that 80% to 90% of
>>     attendees come from Asia, and as such, you should make sure that
>>     these attendees can cover the costs of the conference.
>>     I am very nervous of the "Half price for low income countries"
>>     clause, as I suspect that these half price tickets would
>>     constitute the majority of attendees. If you do indeed want to
>>     keep the price down, I suggest considering:
>>     a. Cut costs (use a cheap venue such as a University)
>>     b. Profile where you expect attendees to come from, and make sure
>>     the local Asian attendees (say 80%) will cover conference costs.
>>     c. Make sure any half price clauses, if included, will result in
>>     a profit if 80% of attendees are paying half price.
>>     Note also, there will be a perception from rich countries that
>>     they are paying to subsidize local attendees, as well as paying
>>     international air fairs, which will leave a bad taste, and may
>>     result in even less international attendance.
>>     I'm not sure how many people an Asian conference would attract,
>>     but I wouldn't be surprised if it were 300 instead of 450. I'd
>>     suggest considering a revised budget which considers a very
>>     conservative number of attendees.
>>     [1] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_2012_Lessons_Learned
>>     On 29/04/2014 3:45 am, Sanghee Shin wrote:
>>>     Dear FOSS4G Selection Committee,
>>>     On behalf of LOC, it's my great honor and pleasure to submit this final proposal for hosting FOSS4G 2015 in Seoul, Korea.
>>>     Please note that some major changes has been made including venue, dates and co-organizer from our first LOI.
>>>     I attached final proposals and budget estimation here. However I'd like to give you an executive summary as follows:
>>>     1. Venue : Seoul COEX
>>>     2. Preferred Dates : 14th Sep to 19th Sep, 2015.
>>>     3. Regular registration fee : KRW 500,000(USD 455) including VAT
>>>     4. Will organize 'FOSS4G Asia Special Session'
>>>     5. Want to introduce 'Half for low-income countries scheme'. For details, see page 24 in the proposal. Need talks with OSGeo board.
>>>     We are ready to answer to your questions about our proposal. Let's start the talks.
>>>     Thanks and regards,
>>>     Sanghee
>>>     ---
>>>     Shin, Sanghee
>>>     Gaia3D, Inc. - Helping Earth Sustainable
>>>     http://www.gaia3d.com  <http://www.gaia3d.com/>  
>>>     Tel :+82-(0)2-3397-3475  <tel:%2B82-%280%292-3397-3475>
>>>     Fax :+82-(0)2-3397-3478  <tel:%2B82-%280%292-3397-3478>
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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  <tel:%2B61%202%209009%205000>,  Wwww.lisasoft.com  <http://www.lisasoft.com/>,  F+61 2 9009 5099  <tel:%2B61%202%209009%205099>
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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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