[Marketing] Processing "OSGeo Teach-in" request

jo at frot.org jo at frot.org
Tue Jun 3 16:25:34 EDT 2008

dear Paolo, it is great to hear feedback from someone outside the Board
or the immediate interest group in this decision :)

On Tue, Jun 03, 2008 at 11:12:14AM +0200, Paolo Cavallini wrote:
> > Paul Ramsey and Jeff McKenna have published a proposal to create a new
> > brand called "OSGeo Teach-in" [0]. The idea is to hold a for profit

> to compete with your members is probably not a very brilliant idea, and
> should better be avoided; that's why we (GFOSS.it) decided not to hold
> commercial courses. But of course we may be wrong, and there amy be godd
> ways to avoid conflicts.

> > "OSGeo Teach-in" options:
> > 1. Create a new brand called "OSGeo Teach-in" and make it available for
> > use by paying OSGeo sponsors.
> What do you actually mean by this?

While I can't speculate as to Arnulf's inner meaning, i see this:

- We had an approach from some OSGeo members saying, "We want to put on
  this event, we'll pay presenters well and host a one-day open/free
  event at the end, and give OSGeo either 10K or 10% share of profit.
  In return, we want to promote this as 'an OSGeo event', use the
  online promotional and marketing facilities, and have a promise of 
  public support from OSGeo staff and officers"

  - This way, it may appear that OSGeo is holding commercial courses

- If We are happy to agree to this going ahead, then We (the Board, 
  those on the Marketing and Conference committees who feel affected) 
  either will have to respond to future requests to hold a "Teach-In" 
  on a case-by-case basis, *or* develop detailed policy that will
  cover this and future events, addressing the questions "TBD" at
  - Case-by-case decisions will consume energy and will always be open  
    to (possibly justified) accusations of spatial, social or commercial bias
  - Developing a detailed policy may be pre-emptive until this kind of
    event has been tried out once, and may never fit all cases due to
    different cultural and commercial climates in different places

- This idea of selling the "OSGeo Teach-In" as a "brand" to sponsors
  keeps the decision clean. There's already a range of sponsorship
  benefits listed at http://www.osgeo.org/sponsorship ... a Supporting
  Sponsor could have the right to host events labelled "OSGeo Teach-in",
  and there would end our involvement. OSGeo would not have the
  formal responsibility to promote and publically support the event,
  but it is very likely that it would do so, as the cross-marketing benefit
  would be so significant. It could be an incentive for sponsors to get
  their staff more involved in the OSGeo community and to make the
  sponsor relationship more "embedded" - currently it seems more like 
  like sponsoring a horse or a football team.

  - This way We could, preserving mutual goodwill, meet the requests
    from the current proposers (Paul and Jeff) and get the same amount
    of financial and marketing benefit from their effort, without
    having to make a one-off contract - they simply become Supporting
    Sponsors and the right to do an annual "Teach-in" event gets added
    to the list of benefits for all Supporters

I quite like this, as it is Clean. 

It does not address my core concern about how much of a negative
impact this event or others like it *may* have on FOSS4G - both in
number of workshop attendees there, and in number and quality of
workshop proposals submitted to FOSS4G. Thus my reluctance to make a
decision on the original Teach-in proposal "in a vacuum", without
also considering the impact on OSGeo's general conference policy and
running arrangements. 

However as Mark may have put it, it does seem like looking a gift
horse in the mouth when FOSS GIS activists are coming along asking to
do events carrying the OSGeo name and give the Foundation money and 
we look like we are saying no. The user base and community of interest
worldwide may be growing such that FOSS4G doesn't shrink or lose kudos
by being subjected to more "competition"; it's kind of incalculable now.

I hope this makes sense? This discussion has gotten so gloopy and
gluey, and i made it that much more so by stirring it, that i can no
longer really tell if any of it makes sense.



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