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From Nick Burch <n...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Why the Apachecon (was Re: ApacheCon NA CFP closed)
Date Wed, 04 Feb 2015 12:05:04 GMT
On Wed, 4 Feb 2015, 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?

I'm not going to answer your email directly, but instead I'm going to try 
to offer some background and some history, which hopefully will help a 
wider/newer audience to do so, fingers crossed...


In the past, we have tried giving large amounts of direction to producers 
(some might say micro-managing), along with supporting large parts of the 
conference organising. The general consensus, looking back on those 
events, is that the volunteer effort to conference success ratio wasn't 
working. Producers struggled with it too.

In the past, we have tried putting on a large event ourselves, outside of 
traditional city-centre conference hotels, with assistance from a producer 
but us in charge. By some measures, we pulled it off an had a great 
success! But almost everyone involved said after that it was a success 
that should never be repeated... (Some varient of that might work, but 
such a model hasn't been come up with so far)

We have some community members where if you say "come to our small 
conference and speak and attend, tents are provided outside", they will 
turn up! http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertburrelldonkin/5150859365/ has 
photos of the tents from when we did that :) However, that won't work for 
all of our community, and is unlikely to work for many of the people we're 
looking to bring into our projects and their communities. We've asked 
them, producers have asked them, and many of these folks want a nice-ish 
hotel somewhere they can easily get to.

Some sponsors are happy to fund a hundred ASFers in a field or a youth 
hostel. Some sponsors are willing to fund conference spaces if we come 
to/near them, but that number might not be that large. Some sponsors have 
indicated willing to cover travel+food+lodging for certain key people so 
their staff can meet+learn from them, but no model to tap that has thus 
far been proposed+accepted. Some sponsors are willing to contribute to the 
cost of getting people the ASF thinks are important to our events, which 
is what funds TAC. Many sponsors frequently pony up for the "traditional" 
sponsorship of booths, giveaways, lunches etc at "traditional" city centre 
conference hotel events.

Some want ApacheCon as an excuse to meet up with old friends. Some want 
ApacheCon to learn about new projects to use or get involved in. Some want 
ApacheCon to allow the foundation to explain itself to new projects + 
newish committers/community members, to help the foundation grow + replace 
those who leave. Some want to learn about the very latest cutting edge 
things from the people who wrote the code yesterday, and want to be using 
it in their solutions tomorrow. Some have heard a bit about a project or 
two, and want to learn more. Some want to use the event to draw in new 
users and contributor who've already heard of the project, some need the 
conference to to draw in those with a problem yet to hear of the project. 
Some want it to rival big events (FOSCON or Hadoop Universe type things), 
others want the USP to be a pure Apache focus. Some change their mind. 
Some of these things are mutually exclusive, some may require "creativity" 
to combine!

In many ways, the ASF is a terrible client for a conference producer... In 
some ways, we are wonderful!


I hope that helps those without the ConCom battle scars with some 
background. I've tried to keep it neutral, as best as I can, but it's not 
perfect. With any luck it's good enough to assist the thread

Nick

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