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From Rich Bowen <rbo...@rcbowen.com>
Subject Re: Why the Apachecon (was Re: ApacheCon NA CFP closed)
Date Wed, 04 Feb 2015 13:58:19 GMT


On 02/04/2015 03:42 AM, Pierre Smits wrote:
> We are discussing again, as it seems to me, what the purpose of the
> Apachecon is based on talks submitted. And why is that?
>
> It appears, at least to me as I have seen the discussions before, that the
> ASF misses a clear strategy regarding the event, why we do it and what the
> intended audience is. This should be fixed prior to opening the process for
> the next event (Apachecon EU 2015), because then it will be easier to
> communicate, easier to invite speakers (and yes, we should do that), and
> get everybody on board regarding helping out.
>
> Is the event to be considered as the bi-annual party for ourselves, where
> we can all (all the presenters) claim how good we (as the individual) are
> with the products of the various projects? Is it an promotion and
> networking event? Or is it something that sits somewhere in the middle? And
> how does it fit with the strategy and other activities of the ASF Offices
> and Projects?

The conference exists to build Apache community, intra- and 
inter-project. Other goals have historically orbited that, as Nick 
describes - fundraising (in the early years), marketing of the ASF, user 
education (still an important goal). But primarily, in my mind, it 
exists as a way to build community.

Or, perhaps, to give a different response ... If the membership has a 
different answer to this question, they should articulate it, and, more 
importantly, step up to make it happen.

Over the years, for many, many reasons, some intentional and some the 
byproduct of history, Apache conferences outside of ApacheCon have 
enjoyed increasing success, and have eclipsed ApacheCon. We (the board, 
the membership, various people that I have discussed this with) believe 
that ApacheCon still has a role as a place where the disparate Apache 
communities meet and build strong bonds between projects.

Of course not everyone agrees with this, and I'm sure that there people 
who feel that ApacheCon's day is over and that we should retire it. I 
know that folks think this, and I suspect that some are reluctant to say 
it out loud for fear of hurting my feelings (and those of the other 
people who have invested thousands of hours and more than 15 years in 
this event). Frankly, if people think that, I'd rather they speak up and 
make their case.

As to costs - yes, the conference costs. It costs me (and other people, 
notably Jan) hours and days of my life. And it costs LF time and 
financial investment to produce. These are investments that I (and 
others) make because we believe that it strengthens the Foundation.

I welcome this conversation. It's important that we have it every few 
years. I welcome even more people who will step up with answers, and 
energy and time to make those answers into a reality. Pierre, you have 
done this for Ofbiz, providing content and community excitement. What we 
need is more communities to do this, both inward facing and outward 
facing, as well as telling us (the ComDev list) what changes we need to 
make to the event to make it more effective.

A point of history: There used to be a ConCom (Conference Committee), 
and it was eventually disbanded for the simple reason that we had become 
incredibly difficult for vendors to work with - the micromanagement that 
Nick refers to. It turned into a single point of contact - me - to work 
with LF. This doesn't mean that I don't need/want help. I desperately 
need help. I am not an event expert, despite doing this for 15 years. 
I'd like to see an events committee (ie, more than just ApacheCon) that 
would figure out our overarching event strategy, from ApacheCon to how 
we work with events like Hadoop Summit, to how we manage our presence at 
events like OSCON and FOSDEM. (See new thread, later today, about 
FOSDEM.) But what we don't want to see, and what the Board will shut 
down, is the kind of ConCom that we had several years ago, with the 
endless debates that paralyzed forward motion and pissed off numerous 
fine producers. (Note here that I was on concom almost from day one, and 
was part of that problem - not pointing at anyone else here.)

-- 
Rich Bowen - rbowen@rcbowen.com - @rbowen
http://apachecon.com/ - @apachecon

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