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From Ross Gardler <>
Subject Re: The theory of retreats
Date Thu, 03 Mar 2011 13:42:21 GMT
On 03/03/2011 13:30, Benson Margulies wrote:
> I'm a little puzzled by the retreats.

Retreats are managed by ConCom not by ComDev. Having said that I don't 
see any harm on this discussion here, just be aware that we are 
discussing in a broader space and should feed back any conclusions to 
ConCom (which I'm happy to do as a member of ConCom).

> On the one hand, the members and
> incubator lists have a constant stream of commentary of one snarkiness
> or another about our focus on individuals, rather than corporations.
> Then we have the retreats, which to me seem to select people with very
> strong corporate support.

What gives you the impression that retreats "select" people. They are 
open to all and the Travel Assistance Committee supports people who are 
unable to pay their own way.

The selection is performed by the individual, not by the event format.

> Now, you might say, 'we have financial
> assistance.'

Errr... yes I did...

> To me, however, the issue is the *time*, not the money.
> If I use vacation time for such a thing, I'm going to get some pretty
> hairy eyeballs across the dining room table from the my spouse and
> kids. If I use work time, I have to justify the time, and that's no
> small thing.

They are run on weekends. Not many people work routinely on weekends, so 
I'm afraid your argument of justifying work time doesn't work for me. 
Furthermore, most people report that they can't get work to approve 
travel to a retreat, there isn't enough work related benefit in most cases.

> Maybe, amusingly, the selection function is tending to select people
> who don't have pets, kids, or spouses competing for their time?

I agree with that. For me retreats are too narrowly focussed for me to 
justify the time away from family. However, that doesn't mean they are a 
bad idea. They are just one type of events that ConCom support, none of 
the events are perfect for everyone.

Do you have a concrete suggestion that we should take back to ConCom?



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