[OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Handbook - Financial expectations

Steven Feldman shfeldman at gmail.com
Mon Sep 12 09:28:10 PDT 2016

I think there are two distinct points of view here - those who want to find a way to run a lower cost event (perhaps reducing catering, entertainment and venue costs) and those who believe that we should continue with something close to the current model which will have a higher cost. I know that I have simplified the points of view expressed.

I would like to suggest that we encourage bidders for 2018 to consider new models of organisation, catering, venue etc to offer a lower cost alternative whilst not mandating a lower cost or indicating a single preferred option. Let’s see what budget models the bidders propose and then the conference committee will discuss the pros and cons of the different options (and there will certainly be pros and cons for each bid) and then we will vote.

Hopefully we will also receive feedback from the wider community during the questions phase of the process.

I have nearly finished the revisions to the RfP document for 2018 and I will endeavour to articulate both options in the evaluation criteria. I hope to share the draft RfP with the list for comment before the end of the week and then to finalise it for release by 26th September at the latest and hopefully before.

> On 12 Sep 2016, at 16:45, Maria Antonia Brovelli <maria.brovelli at polimi.it> wrote:
> Hi,
> Gert-Jan brings it to the point in my eyes.
> Beside what he said we know that it is very difficult to separate attendees within a venue between "eaters" and "non-eaters".
> Many people liked the way we did with almost no controls. There was only one at the main entrance, after that you could be anywhere.
> So, do we want somebody to control every badge before someone takes a plate of food or a drink?
> Again, in my eyes the point is to differentiate between smaller (and cheaper with less comfort) regional events and a global FOSS4G - where total costs of attendance ("TCA") are higher simply because of travel, accommodation and higher costs. One important point to aim on (there was a discussion in that direction few weeks ago) in my eyes is to bridge our community together with neighboured communities, business and large public administrations - which requires a "professional" conference with the potential to host up to 1000 attendees.
> And hey, do we really want to replace the cost-barrier (which is only to a minor part due to the TCA) with a restricted-places barrier?
> Come on, keep being realistic!
> I am convinced that success of past FOSS4G global events speaks for itself (++800 attendees on all events in NA and Europe since 2010), so why change such a success story, going back to Universities and loose contact to institutions that are really important for the growth of FOSS4G-Community as a whole?
> Please don't do that!
> Till
> Am 2016-09-12 10:13, schrieb Gert-Jan van der Weijden (OSGeo.nl):
>> Maria, others,
>> First of all: I hope this thread is not meant to discuss the
>> Boston-2017 setup, but the financial aspect of 2018 and onward. Boston
>> 2017 is on it's way, based upon the bid they presented.
>> As a member of the Bonn-2016 LOC, and as visitor of FOSS4G-2015 Como,
>> and 2 local German speaking events (FOSSGIS) in 2015 (Münster) and
>> 2013 (Rapperswil) I note that there is a main difference between a
>> less than 500 attendees event (at an university: Como, Münster,
>> Rapperswill), and more than 500 attendees event, which due to it's
>> size almost by definition have to take place at a commercial congress
>> center. The latter brings more luxury (whether you like it or not)
>> since that's congress centers focus.
>> Standard package deals with congress centers' preferred suppliers for
>> catering, technique etc. almost can't be avoided, unless you pay a
>> sort of penalty fee.
>> Other expenses, including recorded and/or live-streaming video are a
>> relative small part of the total expenses. Availability of cheap
>> flights and/or cheap hotel accommodation has a far greater impact on
>> the TCA (total costs of attending).
>> Organizing a FOSS4G in the Como/Münster/Rapperswil way; at a relative
>> low cost venue such a university keeps the costs low, but almost
>> certainly will face you with the fact that demand (number of potential
>> attendees) will be higher than supply (the number of available seats).
>> That's a serious consideration to be made. And if so: would one
>> reserve a certain amount of ticket for each continent/local chapter/OS
>> Geo project?
>> Kind regards,
>> Gert-Jan
>> Maria Antonia Brovelli schreef op 12-09-2016 0:23:
>>> One possibility is to consider different fees. As an example you can
>>> see the fees for last ISPRS Conference in Prague (8 days of
>>> conference):
>>> http://www.isprs2016-prague.com/fees/
>>> Personally I prefer to eat simply a sandwich and be able to pay the
>>> registration for a PhD student of mine ;-)
>>> Why not consider a basic fee of 100 dollar/day and a full one with
>>> lunches and gala dinner?
>>> Maria
>>> Maria
>>> ISPRS 2016 - Fees & Registration [3]
>>> www.isprs2016-prague.com
>>> Registration for Financial Assistance for the XXIII ISPRS Congress.
>>> Deadline for Financial Assistance applications 20 March 12 p.m. CET.
>>> ----------------------------------------------------
>>> Prof. Maria Antonia Brovelli
>>> Vice Rector for Como Campus and GIS Professor
>>> Politecnico di Milano
>>> ISPRS WG IV/4"Collaborative crowdsourced cloud mapping (C3M)"; OSGeo;
>>> ICA-OSGeo-ISPRS Advisory Board; NASA WorldWind Europa Challenge; SIFET
>>> Via Natta, 12/14 - 22100 COMO (ITALY)
>>> Tel. +39-031-3327336 - Mob. +39-328-0023867 - fax. +39-031-3327321
>>> e-mail1: maria.brovelli at polimi.it
>>> e-mail2: prorettrice at como.polimi.it
>>> -------------------------
>>> DA: Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com>
>>> INVIATO: domenica 11 settembre 2016 23.39
>>> A: Maria Antonia Brovelli
>>> CC: Michael Terner; Venkatesh Raghavan; Guido Stein; conference
>>> OGGETTO: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Handbook - Financial expectations
>>> Maria
>>> Could you share some of the numbers from your conference:
>>> Venue fees
>>> Number of delegates
>>> Number of streams
>>> Cost for video
>>> Catering cost per head
>>> Icebreaker
>>> Gala night
>>> Other major costs
>>> Do you think you would have been able to accommodate 800-900 people at
>>> those rates in that venue? If so we should look at Como for 2019.
>>> I think the economics will vary for each city and venue. Perhaps we
>>> should make it clear that we would welcome alternative venue and cost
>>> proposals that potentially make the event cheaper to attend without
>>> excluding the possibility of a higher priced venue. If we get options
>>> running between say $200 for the 3 days and $650 then the conference
>>> committee will have an interesting choice to make.
>>> For 2018 we could also express our desire to make the event as
>>> accessible as possible and see what options are submitted?
>>> ______
>>> Steven
>>>> On 11 Sep 2016, at 22:28, Maria Antonia Brovelli
>>>> <maria.brovelli at polimi.it> wrote:
>>>> Dear Michael, I wonder how it was possible for me to organize a
>>>> conference with a fee of 100 euro for 3 days ( 50 euro for
>>>> students). I understand that Boston is more expensive than Como. But
>>>> more than three times? Is it not possible to organize the conference
>>>> at one university? Keeping the costs low means giving more
>>>> possibility of participation to the people of our community.
>>>> Many thanks!
>>>> Maria
>>>> Sent from my Samsung device
>>>> -------- Original message --------
>>>> From: Michael Terner <mgt at appgeo.com>
>>>> Date: 11/09/2016 18:49 (GMT+01:00)
>>>> To: Venkatesh Raghavan <venka.osgeo at gmail.com>, Michael Terner
>>>> <mgt at appgeo.com>, Guido Stein <gstein at appgeo.com>
>>>> Cc: conference <conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org>
>>>> Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Handbook - Financial expectations
>>>> As the group in the "on deck circle", this has been a very
>>>> interesting and important thread to read. I hope that sharing the
>>>> Boston team's outlook and perspective is useful to this
>>>> conversation. Indeed, many of the things we believe and are pursuing
>>>> are already reflected:
>>>> * As Venka observes, we are not pursuing a "budget venue"
>>>> approach. We are in a large, urban city and as Steven wrote the
>>>> economics for finding this kind of space make $100/day really,
>>>> really difficult (if not impossible). But, we also believe we are in
>>>> a desirable location with a dynamic tech city and an incredible
>>>> academic community that will help draw interest. We also want to
>>>> create a local, regional and USA buzz so that Boston is The Place to
>>>> Be for understanding some of the international trends in geo open
>>>> source, and even the _ geo industry_ more broadly. As Eddie Pickle
>>>> has observed, why shouldn't FOSS4G be the #2 "geo event" on the
>>>> planet? In other words, one of our goals is to attract _more_ people
>>>> who will be able to pay the full costs of the conference. From our
>>>> vantage, this shouldn't be a "low budget affair", it should be an
>>>> important "international happening."
>>>> * That said, we fully understand the reality and necessity to keep
>>>> the show as affordable as possible, and that there are very
>>>> important communities that we would like to have attend where the
>>>> published costs will be a challenge. We have plans for student
>>>> volunteers and other kinds of discounts already. But, the way that
>>>> some of the conference economics work, there is a tipping point
>>>> where a larger conference actually can be a lower of the core
>>>> conference costs (i.e., the venue, wifi, video, etc.) are prorated
>>>> across more people. We want to be the first FOSS4G to draw >1,000
>>>> people and we think we have a good shot at it. We also are going to
>>>> be very aggressive in pursuing sponsorship, both from the
>>>> established sponsor community, but also from first time sponsors,
>>>> and tech companies in Boston. This too will help generate revenue
>>>> and control costs. If we meet our attendance and sponsorship goals,
>>>> we will return a significant profit to OSGeo and we hope that those
>>>> profits can be used for the kinds of programs that Eli mentioned,
>>>> i.e., committees that distribute travel grants; or provide support
>>>> to events in the developing world; etc. Indeed, we have already
>>>> proposed to follow Cameron's suggestion and expressed our return of
>>>> profit to OSGeo as a percentage. Our proposal states returning 80%
>>>> of profits up to $100K, and 100% of profits that are above $100k
>>>> should we be lucky enough to be that successful.
>>>> Having just returned from Bonn, we are more excited and more
>>>> committed than ever (I just posted a blog on my impressions and
>>>> experiences [1]). And, we believe we can follow Till's and the Bonn
>>>> LOC's example in making this an exciting and dynamic event in a
>>>> unique part of the world. Bonn's World Conference Center venue was
>>>> worth its cost and added greatly to the event. We believe people
>>>> will come to this kind of event; and we are equally committed in
>>>> using the paying audience as a means of controlling costs and/or
>>>> providing discounts to those who need them.
>>>> All the best...
>>>> MT
>>>> On Sat, Sep 10, 2016 at 8:38 AM, Venkatesh Raghavan
>>>> <venka.osgeo at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> I do not think we need to select a "budget venue".
>>>> Wonderful venues (perhaps, better than what we have seen thus far)
>>>> are available at a lower price in low-income countries.
>>>> I do not talk of any compromise on "core items" expected in
>>>> FOSS4G conferences. Is video streaming a "core item" which
>>>> was only recently possible in FOSS4G conferences?
>>>> If we say that this is a "core item", that is as good as
>>>> saying that FOSS4G conferences will be organized only in
>>>> OECD countries.
>>>> Venka
>>>> On 9/10/2016 5:29 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>>>> Hi Venka,
>>>> I think that you are on the right track discussing "lower budget"
>>>> foss4g
>>>> conference in "lower income" countries.
>>>> While the Global FOSS4G is firstly an international "gathering of
>>>> the
>>>> tribes" and should prioritise needs of the international attendees,
>>>> we
>>>> should recognise that historically over half the attendees come from
>>>> the
>>>> local region. I agree that it makes sense to see what can be done to
>>>> help attract local attendees. If that means minimising costs, maybe
>>>> by
>>>> selecting budget venues etc, then a LOC should have the flexibility
>>>> to
>>>> suggest such options. However, selection budget options, should not
>>>> translate to reducing the core items which are expected in FOSS4G
>>>> conferences.
>>>> Warm regards, Cameron
>>>> On 10/09/2016 1:47 PM, Venkatesh Raghavan wrote:
>>>> Hi Cameron,
>>>> My comments inline.
>>>> On 9/9/2016 9:05 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>>>> Hi Venka,
>>>> Thanks for suggesting specific ideas to implement.
>>>> For this email thread, I'd like to focus on your suggestions related
>>>> to
>>>> financial expectations, so we can take it through to resolution.
>>>> Namely,
>>>> your item 5. Defining how profit should be returned to OSGeo.
>>>> I suggest it is safer to define budget returned to OSGeo as a
>>>> percentage
>>>> of profit. As profit closely aligns with number of attendees, profit
>>>> will be larger for larger events. Europe and US have historically
>>>> attracted larger attendance than "Rest of World" and hence will
>>>> return
>>>> larger profit. As such, OSGeo should expect to earn less in "Rest of
>>>> World" years.
>>>> Yes, I agree with above. However "Rest of the World" include only
>>>> low-income countries and not high-income countries like Australia,
>>>> Japan, Korea etc. FOSS4G Conferences in low-income countries may
>>>> spend
>>>> less (lower venue and food costs) and also earn less compared to
>>>> events
>>>> in Europe and North America.
>>>> I thought the RFP defined an expected budget to be returned to
>>>> OSGeo
>>>> under conservative estimates, but I can't find reference to it.
>>>> (Maybe
>>>> someone else can point to it).
>>>> For management of special interest programs and sponsorship, I
>>>> suggest
>>>> refer to the email thread "FOSS4G Simplicity" started by Eli Adam,
>>>> suggesting the be coordinated outside of the FOSS4G LOC (Like the
>>>> academic track).
>>>> I agree to making thinks easier and simpler coordinating Academic
>>>> Track,
>>>> Awards, Travel Grants outside the LoC.
>>>> Best
>>>> Venka
>>>> On 9/09/2016 10:03 AM, Venkatesh Raghavan wrote:
>>>> My Comments inline.
>>>> On 9/9/2016 7:40 AM, Steven Feldman wrote:
>>>> Maria
>>>> Nice image, what are you suggesting in terms of the RfP? ______
>>>> Steven
>>>> On 8 Sep 2016, at 22:03, Maria Antonia Brovelli
>>>> <maria.brovelli at polimi.it> wrote:
>>>> <equity.jpg>
>>>> Dear Cameron I prefer to take into account the differences among
>>>> countries. We want to elicit people developing and using open
>>>> source and we want to walk all together toward this result.
>>>> Equality often is not the best choice. Best regards Maria
>>> +1 for Maria's suggestion.
>>> I would suggest the following;
>>> 1) There was some comment on issue of too many people
>>> requesting for free conference passes.
>>> We need to clearly decide a guideline for offering free passes.
>>> Free passes only offered to main Workshop Trainer, Keynote speakers
>>> and
>>> student volunteers? Apart from that *no one* gets a free pass.
>>> 2) continue the discounted conference fee model for
>>> low-income countries. This model has been successfully
>>> used in FOSS4G-2015
>>> 3) Offer Travel support only for participants who are
>>> have their presentation accepted at the FOSS4G conference.
>>> 4) Are we considering live streaming in future FOSS4G events?
>>> In that case, request local chapters to organize local "FOSS4GFest"
>>> during the duration of the main FOSS4G Conference and
>>> take advantage of watching the live-streaming along with
>>> the local community members who are unable to physically make it
>>> to the FOSS4G event.
>>> 5) Consider recommending LoC to return a minimum fixed amount
>>> of profit to OSGeo. Taking into account, that OSGeo annual
>>> budget for 2015 is $75,000, we could consider having $50K-$60K
>>> returned from the profit to OSGeo foundation when FOSS4G is
>>> organized in high-income countries and $25K-$30K when FOSS4G
>>> is organized in low-income countries (they can retain part of
>>> the profit for organizing events to grow local communities, but
>>> should submit a budget report in subsequent FOSS4G conferences
>>> as to how the profits were used). This will help the foundation to
>>> sustain the "Travel Grant", "Student Award" and "Code Sprint" at
>>> FOSS4G events.
>>> 6) If the LoC of FOSS4G event is able to generate more profit
>>> that stated in item 5 above, let them have a say in planning
>>> how such "extra" profit will be used in future.
>>> 7) Consider a upper cap on the conference registration fee.
>>> I would suggest $100/day of conference event when organized
>>> in high-income countries. This would be much lower when FOSS4G
>>> is organized in a low-income country
>>> Best
>>> Venka
>>>> Sent from my Samsung device
>>>> -------- Original message -------- From: Cameron Shorter
>>>> <cameron.shorter at gmail.com> Date: 08/09/2016 22:53 (GMT+01:00) To:
>>>> conference <conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org> Subject: Re:
>>>> [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Handbook - Financial expectations
>>>> Ok, lets start working through Steven's list one item at a time,
>>>> starting a new email thread for each.
>>>> Once we have resolution (probably concluding with a vote) we can
>>>> finalise it in the foss4g handbook.
>>>> On 8/09/2016 9:12 PM, Steven Feldman wrote:
>>>> 1) Overall financial expectations re surplus and sharing of
>>>> surplus with OSGeo - possibly setting slightly different
>>>> expectations for RoW to NA & EU
>>> We have draft principles on Finances in the handbook here:
>>> https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook#Finances [4]
>>> <https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook#Finances [4]>
>>> I suggest using this existing text as the basis for guidance. I
>>> personally think it has the right principles in place. In
>>> particular, it is recommending each conference aim to hand over a
>>> fixed percentage of profits as surplus to OSGeo. 85% is suggested.
>>> I prefer this advise over the suggestion that low income countries
>>> retain more profit.
>>> -- Cameron Shorter M +61 419 142 254 [5]
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>>> [1]
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>>> [2] http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>>> [3] http://www.isprs2016-prague.com/fees/
>>> [4] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook#Finances
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