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From Steven Noels <>
Subject Re: Cocoon Real-Life Events
Date Tue, 26 Nov 2002 21:21:08 GMT
Rodent of Unusual Size wrote:

  > i'll respond to the rest when i have time, but i *do* want to set the
  >  record straight on one thing.  please do get this info to whomever
  > is appropriate..

must be me, I guess :-(

  > Steven Noels wrote:
  >> Ken: please don't take the hyperlinked message above as critique.
  >> It is just one of the remarks I got from the GetTogether attendees:
  >> they really like it to be a GetTogether of users & developers,
  >> rather than a conference where sponsors automagically acquire the
  >> right for speaking slots.
  > i'm not sure what the above is about, but i can't help but take it as
  > a critique based on insufficient information.  only one sponsor got a
  > speaking slot.  it was 45 minutes long and they paid five figures to
  > be our top sponsor.  with the exception of a single keynote, there
  > were *no* 'sponsor speaking slots.'  that keynote represented 0.7%
  > (yes, less than *one percent*) of the session time used in las vegas.
  > if anyone thinks even that's too much of a sellout, i suggest that it
  > adjust its thinking. i submit that it's talking through its hat and
  > hasn't actually organised an event of even the size of apachecon
  > (which is really quite small).

Oh no, I never meant this to be a direct critique to the Apachecon.
AAMOF, I was there in London a couple of years ago, and quite enjoyed
it. But I gave the wrong impressions due to hastily copy-editing my
mail. Sorry about that. Please let me clarify.

The point I was trying to make is that the 'magic' which was felt by a
lot of people at the Cocoon GetTogether was about 'getting together',
i.e. with evening events et al., and less about being a commercial
'conference', a set of lectures, an exhibition, and the intention of
breaking even budget-wise. Not that anything is wrong with that formula,
but being different to that created a special buzz.

Partly being a conference (i.e. with lectures) gave a number of people
the opportunity to get quickly up-to-speed with the newest Cocoon
development. I felt this like the committers explaining what they had
been up to lately, sharing insight and at the same time being confronted
with some real users / challengers. But more like quick tutorials rather
than 'presentations'.

Partly being a free 'get together' meant there was no budget barrier
except for 'getting there' to attend the meeting. The thing most people
were happy about however was the opportunity of meeting list members
F2F: during the evening events, during the breaks, etc...

I've been attending and co-organizing quite a few conferences in the
last few weeks, and must say I have some pretty bad feelings on the
overall cost/content ratio. Bring in sponsors to the mix and it becomes
even more difficult to keep a good balance. But you are absolutely right
that I shouldn't (mistakenly) refer to ApacheCon in that respect.
<aside>As you seem to wonder, the last conferences I was somehow more or
less involved in ranged from 30 to 600 attendees.</aside>

To conclude, my main message was 'getting together' can be more
important than 'having a conference'. The interesting exercise will be
to find sponsors who keep the entrance free while not trying to be
involved with the agenda. And while this was not the case with
ApacheCon, it sure was the case for a number of other conferences I
attended lately. So once again sorry for mistakenly badmouthing
ApacheCon, and keep up the good work!

Steven Noels                  
Outerthought - Open Source, Java & XML Competence Support Center
Read my weblog at    
stevenn at                stevenn at

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