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From Ross Gardler <rgard...@opendirective.com>
Subject Re: ApacheCon with a producer - what would we want/need/not-want?
Date Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:42:29 GMT
On 20 September 2011 14:56, Nick Burch <nick.burch@alfresco.com> wrote:
> Some key areas to consider are:

Each of these questions can have many answers and I predict you will
get silence or endless discussion. For what it is worth, here are my
responses.

> * What things would we (Apache) do?

Must to Programme
Should do Marketing (complimenting the producers work)

> * What things would we (the volunteer sub-set making up planners) do?

Must device the programme
Must manage the programme
Must ensure programme is attractive to target audience

> * What won't we do?

Must do nothing but programme

> * What things would we require a producer to do?

Must do marketing
Must cover financial costs
Must define target audience
Must take responsibility for success/failure of the event
Must manage all aspects of event production and management
Must say no to ConCom when we make conflicting demands

> * What things wouldn't we want the producer to do?

Must not sell speaker slots

> * What things have other conferences out there (especially open source
>  related ones) found it good or bad to have in the contract with
>  producers?

All my answers above are based on my limited experience of chairing
two open source conferences in the UK. However, these events have been
very different to ApacheCon in that they are not single
foundation/project events. I have also run (or been a part of) some 20
or so other events ranging from small specialist workshops to very
large tech conferences of similar size to the current ApacheCon.

Some of these have been very successful, some (perhaps more usefully
for this exercise) have not been as successful.

> In the past, ApacheCon has had three overlapping areas it needs to cover. I
> see these as:
> * A detailed developer conference for our more advanced users, taught by
>  experts from amongst our community
> * A chance for new committers / future committers to learn about the
>  foundation, the apache way, and to meet people from both inside their
>  community and the wider foundation
> * A chance for the more experienced committers and members to get
>  together, hack on code, have fun, and share their knowledge (in formal
>  and informal sessions)
>
> I'd suggest we try to maintain this (even if it can make life hard on the
> producer, who has to balance the bits that bring in revenue and the bits
> that just cost), do people agree?

I do not agree. It is not possible, in my opinion, to put on a single
event for >100 projects (plus incubator) and at the same time cater
for committers, users and new community members.

Personally I think the commercial conferences, managed by a producers,
should be user focussed. Other events should cater for the committers
and potential community members. (I'll address that in your other
thread) It is for this reason that I have suggested that the producer
defines the target audience. IN the case of for-profit events our
goal, as ConCom, should be to provide a single point of contact for
external event producers - nothing more.

> In terms of what to ask a producer to do, hopefully we know people from
> other conferences and foundations who have experience in this. (We have
> people here with experience too, but we probably want to reach a wider pool
> of experts if possible!). What have people known to work well / badly at
> other events they've helped run / their friends have helped run?

What works badly, in all events I have been involved with, is mixing
the financial needs of a producer and the community needs of an open
source project. Almost invariably such an event is nothing but a
series of compromises which fails to deliver on all counts.

> Are there
> any end-of-conference reviews out there we should be reading and learning
> from? Who should we be speaking to to avoid repeating past mistakes? Any
> good models we should/could follow?

I think the problem is that all conferences are very different. Until
we know what ApacheCon is going to be (i.e. you say it should continue
to be users+developers+community, I disagree) then we can't decide
what the most appropriate case studies are.

Ross

-- 
Ross Gardler (@rgardler)
Programme Leader (Open Development)
OpenDirective http://opendirective.com

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