Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
6 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G

Jonathan Moules-4
Hi Till,
On the issue of conferences, I'd like to chip in. I've never organised
one, but my other half has so I know how much work they are, so plenty
of respect for the effort you've both put into them.

I suppose I'd ask two questions of any given element of a conference -
Is it necessary, and how much should it cost? Conference centres are
very expensive, this much is clear, but does FOSS4G really need a single
space that can handle all of its delegates at once for the plenaries?
How much does that add to the cost? Would universities be cheaper as
hosts? They certainly have the facilities, including wi-fi, canteens,
and (potentially) cheap accommodation; I note that the FOSDEM conference
( > 5000 delegates for all of whom it is free) is hosted yearly at a
university in Brussels.

What about the "freebies" that are included in the welcome pack -
conference branded pens and t-shirts? Are they really necessary? Ok,
maybe the pens (not everyone remembers to bring one, they get lost), but
the t-shirts? Bottled water (some conferences do that)? Etc. I suspect
these little things add up.

You make a good point Till about other costs to the conference but a
counter-point: I can *choose* how much I pay for the other elements.
I'm paying less than €40 per night accommodation for Bonn - sure there
are options for €100 a night, but they're not for me. It doesn't matter
who's paying (work or me), I always seek out a cheaper alternative.
Food is likewise - Looking at the invoice for Bonn I can see it says
"Food and beverages: ...  € 150.00" - (excluding the Gala dinner), I'm
sure there's a reason for it, but to me that's a staggeringly high cost,
that's considerably more than I spend on a *month* of food at home (UK).
My last holiday (mid-price European country) my total food cost came out
to €16 a day.

Travel too the delegates get a choice in - I could fly Ryanair for €35,
but I refuse to fly so will spend about €130 on trains (book early! :-)
). But that's my choice. (If a delegate really wanted to they could
hitch-hike and/or couch-surf to get the costs to near 0.)
Unfortunately for someone wishing to attend they don't get a choice in
the conference fees.
I'd also point out, as before, that the high cost of the fees also makes
it difficult for lower-income attendees. OSGeo has as one of its stated
goals "be a welcoming and inclusive worldwide organization at all
levels;". I'm not sure what the solution to this is, but the
"studentship" programme is good, as is the travel-grant.

Comparison with a few other conferences of a similar or larger size I'm
aware of or quickly found:
FOSDEM - already mentioned.
ARVO - a 5 day conference that moves around the USA with > 11,000
clinical delegates - it doesn't include food, but the late-registration
conference fees for Non-Members (so their most expensive fee) - $269!
(http://www.arvo.org/Conferences_and_Courses/Imaging_Conference/2016/Registration/).
http://opensourcebridge.org/attend - 500 delegates, 4 day conference -
$350, but an option to pay more ($500) if you want to be a "supporter" -
that might work for FOSS4G.

That said, FOSS4G isn't the most expensive conference either. LinuxCon
(3 days) is $800 at early-bird rates, going up to $950.

There are a few ideas scattered above that may make it cheaper (or maybe
won't). Another one - have the sponsors sponsor explicit things; not
just the "gala", but things like the pens (or even supply them), or
maybe the meals ("this food sponsored by GeoWorldSpatialMapGlobalGIS Inc").

A counter point to my own argument though - the increasing delegate
count shows that plenty of people (or their companies in many cases) are
willing to pay the current rates.

Cheers,
Jonathan


On 12/05/2016 10:34, [hidden email] wrote:

> Hi Maxi,
>
> I pick up your discussion, but break your email into single issues, so
> that anyone interested in one topic can jump in.
>
> Your point: "FOSS4G CONFERENCES
> This is the momentum. Here i have always get inspiration from
> listening talks, discussing with people, talking with friends. It used
> to be a very inclusive event: the peak of the FOSS4G iceberg. I'm
> saying "it use to be" because prices are year by year growing so much
> that today they represent a barrier. I would have liked to came with 5
> people from my group but this is simply not economically sustainable:
> as a result the younger will lose this opportunity to join the
> community and breath the breeze of Open innovation. If i compare
> FOSS4G prices (rate per day) with other comparable events they are
> higher. I personally don't need fancy locations and I am more
> interested in involving more people rather then having high revenue
> for the foundation. I want to meet students, people from low income
> countries, small companies, start-up. Let's find a way to be Open.."
>
> is one view on FOSS4G (negotiating that OSGeo has to deal with
> business is another one, and I have a totally different opinion here,
> but that's another issue).
>
>
> As the "responsible" person for this years FOSS4G (and also one of the
> nerds, that took every FOSS4G since 2005 with one exception in 2014) I
> am also not really happy with our prices either, although I must say,
> that we are nearly equal to 2014, but more expensive than 2015, that's
> true.
>
> But, some important issues to take into account before we (you?)
> continue to dream:
>
> 1. People tend to see only the prices for the conference. If we could
> save 30% of our costs and being able to offer tickets for 400€ instead
> of 590€ (Early Bird) wouldn't make that big difference in total costs
> for the attendees at the end. This because there are also travel and
> accommodation costs which are out of our influence (see, my flight to
> Seoul last year was about 1200€, accommodation 700€ - looking at this,
> a conference fee of 400.- compared to 600.- does not really make that
> big difference). Even in a city like Bonn, where accommodation rates
> are moderate, you should at least calculate 70€/day, plus food, beer,
> etc.
> So, the fact, that tickets are more expensive than last year couldn't
> be the only reason not being able to bring 5 people to Bonn. Also this
> view completely negotiates that there are definitely costs, that we
> have to cover.
>
> 2. Tieing on here, although this is another discussion: The
> requirements of OSGeo bear some parameters, that really rise up costs:
> Hire a conference center, need to have a PCO and include the Gala
> Event. These are all nice ideas, but of course they all result in
> higher costs and with that in higher ticket fees. As long as OSGeo
> (especially you should remember ;-)) refuses to give a 100% financial
> backup, the calculation of income to reach the break even drives LOC's
> to calculate much more carefully - and with that with higher fees.
>
> 3. Regarding the most expensive part of our conference - the
> conference center: In most cities it is simply impossible finding a
> location where you could run a conference with that a size of up to
> 1000 attendees. And hiring a conference center is expensive,
> regardless where in the world.
>
>
> This just as a quick review - having time to think little more, I am
> sure I'd find many other reasons, why we should stop dreaming here
> when thinking about having a global conference that everybody is able
> to join, where you just meet good friends and have some nice beers
> together. Everything simply does not work as long as there is no
> source of income that makes LOC's and OSGeo independent of financial
> success of a FOSS4G conference.
>
>
> Perhaps there is a need for a discussion and also a decision, which
> focus we/OSGeo want/s to give our annual global event. As a person
> from the business side (which is important as engine for development
> of the projects, see recent email from Jeroen), I say that one global
> professional conference is definitely required. And having something
> like studentship programme, travel grants helps to enable at least
> some people to join that conference, that normally couldn't afford it.
> But most of them couldn't even afford attending anyway, even if
> conference fees were less than half of what they are.
> Perhaps the spirit of the conference that everybody could afford
> (especially because of travel costs), must be carried out on a
> regional/continental scale ?
>
> BTW: Yes, it's me arguing like this, and I am one of the last guys
> that fighted as long as possible to keep our FOSSGIS conference free
> of charge ;-)
>
>
> Last point - regarding your people from your group: If they are
> students, they could have applied for our studentship programme. They
> can try, but looks like that we are nearly complete here...
>
> Just my 2 (long) cents.
>
> Till
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Am 2016-05-11 11:01, schrieb massimiliano cannata:
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: <[hidden email] [1]>
>> Date: 2016-05-11 10:41 GMT+02:00
>> Subject: Incubation, osgeo-EU and FOSS4G
>> To: [hidden email] [2]
>>
>> Your message has been rejected, probably because you are not
>>  subscribed to the mailing list and the lists policy is to prohibit
>>  non-members from posting to it.  If you think that your messages are
>>  being rejected in error, contact the mailing list owner at
>>  [hidden email] [3].
>>
>> ---------- Messaggio inoltrato ----------
>> From: Massimiliano Cannata <[hidden email] [4]>
>> To: OSGeo Board <[hidden email] [5]>, OSGeo Discussions
>> <[hidden email] [6]>, OSGeo Incubator Committee
>> <[hidden email] [7]>, "<[hidden email]
>> [8]>" <[hidden email] [9]>
>> Cc:
>> Date: Wed, 11 May 2016 10:41:55 +0200
>> Subject: Incubation, osgeo-EU and FOSS4G
>>
>> Sorry for cross-posting but these recent topics (which took place on
>> different lists) took myself to reflect about our foundation.
>>
>> Summary of the long mail below (for those who dont have time go trough
>> :-D )
>>
>> =================================================================
>>
>> DISCUSSION: only a small number of people take part to the
>> discussions, why?
>>
>> INCUBATION: we care about high quality, long term sustainable and
>> reliable solutions, who cares of governance models?
>>
>> BUSINESS AND OSGEO(EU): we are a foundation of people not of
>> companies, we dont have to do business!
>>
>> FOSS4G CONFERENCES: fees are a barrier, we are building exclusive
>> events rather then being inclusive, who care about revenue!
>>
>> More explanation of my thoughts (for those who have time to spend and
>> go deeper :-o )
>>
>> ==================================================================
>>
>> Im an environmental engineer and thus far from being a rigorous
>> informatics or an economist or a social science expert. Nevertheless
>> in these last 20 years (from Bangkok to Seoul without missing a single
>> one) I had the opportunity to met those words, make some experience
>> and learn a bit.
>>  Thats to say that i do not have the truth in my pockets and Im open
>> to change my view.
>>
>> DISCUSSIONS
>>  First a small consideration, those topics are discussed by a small
>> number of people with respect of the total members of our community.
>> It means that A) the arguments are not of high interest B) silent
>> people are shy and do not feel to be in the position to add value to
>> the conversation C) people think it is a waste of time.
>>  This is often happening and my impression is that people just dont
>> care to much of these political issues but only of technical matters.
>>
>> INCUBATION
>>  My understanding is that OSGeo trough the incubation process aims at
>> guarantee high quality, long term sustainable and reliable solutions
>> to show that FOSS Geospatial technology is valuable and credible. In
>> this view the governance model adopted (PSC, dictator or whatever) is
>> of secondary importance to me as long as the software respond to the
>> above mentioned requisites. I personally prefer clear process rather
>> then open-in-words but fake-in-fact rules.
>>
>> BUSINESS AND OSGEO(EU)
>>  OSGeo is an organisation of people. Not of sectors or groups or
>> parties. Of course people belong to categories and this tend to
>> influence the way they see the world. For this reason people tend to
>> contribute to the community for their competence and interest within
>> committees or working groups. It is not the mandate of OSGeo making
>> lobbies or acquire mandates. To me OSGeo should get together great
>> projects and people to offer the world the possibility of advance and
>> improve the life of people. I know It is a bit exaggerated but when i
>> think of open source i see it as a mean of equity: like making
>> accessible food and sanitation and drinking water and medicine to
>> everyone in the world. Making tools for a better governance available
>> to all.
>>  OSGeo is about mutually sharing experiences, ideas, solutions not
>> building business. For this LocationTech which is a community of
>> companies / entities I understood is more suited.
>>  So my vision is OSGeo focused on people not on companies or groups.
>> Splitting the community is not an advancement but a loss of value.
>>
>> FOSS4G CONFERENCES
>>  This is the momentum. Here i have always get inspiration from
>> listening talks, discussing with people, talking with friends. It used
>> to be a very inclusive event: the peak of the FOSS4G iceberg. Im
>> saying "it use to be" because prices are year by year growing so much
>> that today they represent a barrier. I would have liked to came with 5
>> people from my group but this is simply not economically sustainable:
>> as a result the younger will lose this opportunity to join the
>> community and breath the breeze of Open innovation. If i compare
>> FOSS4G prices (rate per day) with other comparable events they are
>> higher. I personally dont need fancy locations and I am more
>> interested in involving more people rather then having high revenue
>> for the foundation. I want to meet students, people from low income
>> countries, small companies, start-up. Lets find a way to be Open..
>>
>> MAY THE FOSS BE WITH YOU !
>>
>> --
>>
>> --
>>
>> Dr. Eng. Massimiliano Cannata
>> Responsabile Area Geomatica
>> Istituto Scienze della Terra
>> Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana
>> Via Trevano, c.p. 72
>> CH-6952 Canobbio-Lugano
>> Tel: +41 (0)58 666 62 14
>> Fax +41 (0)58 666 62 09
>>
>> Links:
>> ------
>> [1] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [2] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [3] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [4] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [5] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [6] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [7] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [8] mailto:[hidden email]
>> [9] mailto:[hidden email]
>
> _______________________________________________
> Conference_dev mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
[hidden email]
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G

stevenfeldman
Jonathan

We hosted FOSS4G 2013 at the university of Nottingham. We were offered a very good deal from them but it was far from free, universities in the UK and elsewhere are encouraged to find ways to make more use of their facilities to generate additional income. We did get all of the workshop facilities including computers at no extra charge.

We can reduce the cost of an event by finding lower cost facilities (not that easy), perhaps spreading the event across multiple sites and not having the space for plenaries and networking, providing cheaper food (or even no food at all), excluding the party from the overall ticket (or not bothering to host a gala event). There would still be a cost though, the question becomes how much of that cost you charge to delegates and whether a variable pricing model can be applied to subsidise some delegates (although I fear any policy on concessionary pricing will generate a lot of debate around edge cases.

The only way that you can make an event free is to raise a lot more sponsorship (something of the order of 3 or 4 times the levels we have achieved or even more) and my experience of 2013 and being the financial rep to the 2016 team is that there is not currently sufficient appetite amongst sponsors to generate that level of funding.

The t-shirts and pens and stuff that delegates get given is already funded by the sponsors, it does not come out of ticket prices.

You and several others have pointed out that the costs of attending a FOSS4G event are much greater than delegate fees (transport, accommodation and opportunity costs of the time off work). There are usually some options to reduce those costs but they can’t be eliminated.

FOSS4G generates a modest surplus for OSGeo (which is a large part of OSGeo’s income) - that surplus is used to fund code sprints, outreach, OSGeo Live dvd’s, student bursaries at events, Geo4All awards and to provide the financial guarantee that a conference organising team needs to put on the next FOSS4G (unless they are wiling to accept personal liability, which I believe would be an unacceptable imposition on our volunteers)

The bottom line is that whatever tweaks we make to the scope of a FOSS4G the costs are going to be within 10 or 15% of the current all in costs of conference fee, travel and accommodation. That prompts a few thoughts/questions:

1. Can we unbundle some elements of the conference to help those on low income? Gala event, catering, anything else?
2. Should we encourage lower cost venue options from host cities bidding for 2018 etc
3. Should we focus more on costs of travel and accommodation when selecting host cities?
4. Can we come up with an OSGeo policy on subsidising people who want to attend? How would we select? A full subsidy for someone attending FOSS4G including travel, accommodation, delegate fees, workshops, and living expenses could easily run between €1500 and €2500 depending on the location and an individual’s travel costs. That means finding between €60k and €100k to fund 5% of the attendees at a FOSS4G. Is that achievable?
5. Is it better to leave the successful global event as it is, up till now we have had strong attendances each year? We could instead encourage FOSS4G regional events (in regions that are not hosting the global event) that were designed and targeted to be a smaller scale and more affordable?
6. Are we looking at the wrong side of this by focussing on the cost of attending an event?

This discussion is very well timed as we will be starting the call for FOSS4G 2018 in September and that event will be a ‘rest of world’ which may mean higher travel costs for delegates from NA and Europe and may provide some opportunities for a different approach to grow the FOSS4G community within the region. If we want them to work to a different set of parameters we need to agree those parameters before we start the process.

May the FOSS be with you #mtfbwy
______
Steven


> On 12 May 2016, at 22:56, Jonathan <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Till,
> On the issue of conferences, I'd like to chip in. I've never organised one, but my other half has so I know how much work they are, so plenty of respect for the effort you've both put into them.
>
> I suppose I'd ask two questions of any given element of a conference - Is it necessary, and how much should it cost? Conference centres are very expensive, this much is clear, but does FOSS4G really need a single space that can handle all of its delegates at once for the plenaries? How much does that add to the cost? Would universities be cheaper as hosts? They certainly have the facilities, including wi-fi, canteens, and (potentially) cheap accommodation; I note that the FOSDEM conference ( > 5000 delegates for all of whom it is free) is hosted yearly at a university in Brussels.
>
> What about the "freebies" that are included in the welcome pack - conference branded pens and t-shirts? Are they really necessary? Ok, maybe the pens (not everyone remembers to bring one, they get lost), but the t-shirts? Bottled water (some conferences do that)? Etc. I suspect these little things add up.
>
> You make a good point Till about other costs to the conference but a counter-point: I can *choose* how much I pay for the other elements.
> I'm paying less than €40 per night accommodation for Bonn - sure there are options for €100 a night, but they're not for me. It doesn't matter who's paying (work or me), I always seek out a cheaper alternative.
> Food is likewise - Looking at the invoice for Bonn I can see it says "Food and beverages: ...  € 150.00" - (excluding the Gala dinner), I'm sure there's a reason for it, but to me that's a staggeringly high cost, that's considerably more than I spend on a *month* of food at home (UK). My last holiday (mid-price European country) my total food cost came out to €16 a day.
>
> Travel too the delegates get a choice in - I could fly Ryanair for €35, but I refuse to fly so will spend about €130 on trains (book early! :-) ). But that's my choice. (If a delegate really wanted to they could hitch-hike and/or couch-surf to get the costs to near 0.)
> Unfortunately for someone wishing to attend they don't get a choice in the conference fees.
> I'd also point out, as before, that the high cost of the fees also makes it difficult for lower-income attendees. OSGeo has as one of its stated goals "be a welcoming and inclusive worldwide organization at all levels;". I'm not sure what the solution to this is, but the "studentship" programme is good, as is the travel-grant.
>
> Comparison with a few other conferences of a similar or larger size I'm aware of or quickly found:
> FOSDEM - already mentioned.
> ARVO - a 5 day conference that moves around the USA with > 11,000 clinical delegates - it doesn't include food, but the late-registration conference fees for Non-Members (so their most expensive fee) - $269! (http://www.arvo.org/Conferences_and_Courses/Imaging_Conference/2016/Registration/).
> http://opensourcebridge.org/attend - 500 delegates, 4 day conference - $350, but an option to pay more ($500) if you want to be a "supporter" - that might work for FOSS4G.
>
> That said, FOSS4G isn't the most expensive conference either. LinuxCon (3 days) is $800 at early-bird rates, going up to $950.
>
> There are a few ideas scattered above that may make it cheaper (or maybe won't). Another one - have the sponsors sponsor explicit things; not just the "gala", but things like the pens (or even supply them), or maybe the meals ("this food sponsored by GeoWorldSpatialMapGlobalGIS Inc").
>
> A counter point to my own argument though - the increasing delegate count shows that plenty of people (or their companies in many cases) are willing to pay the current rates.
>
> Cheers,
> Jonathan
>
>
> On 12/05/2016 10:34, [hidden email] wrote:
>> Hi Maxi,
>>
>> I pick up your discussion, but break your email into single issues, so that anyone interested in one topic can jump in.
>>
>> Your point: "FOSS4G CONFERENCES
>> This is the momentum. Here i have always get inspiration from listening talks, discussing with people, talking with friends. It used to be a very inclusive event: the peak of the FOSS4G iceberg. I'm saying "it use to be" because prices are year by year growing so much that today they represent a barrier. I would have liked to came with 5 people from my group but this is simply not economically sustainable: as a result the younger will lose this opportunity to join the community and breath the breeze of Open innovation. If i compare FOSS4G prices (rate per day) with other comparable events they are higher. I personally don't need fancy locations and I am more interested in involving more people rather then having high revenue for the foundation. I want to meet students, people from low income countries, small companies, start-up. Let's find a way to be Open.."
>>
>> is one view on FOSS4G (negotiating that OSGeo has to deal with business is another one, and I have a totally different opinion here, but that's another issue).
>>
>>
>> As the "responsible" person for this years FOSS4G (and also one of the nerds, that took every FOSS4G since 2005 with one exception in 2014) I am also not really happy with our prices either, although I must say, that we are nearly equal to 2014, but more expensive than 2015, that's true.
>>
>> But, some important issues to take into account before we (you?) continue to dream:
>>
>> 1. People tend to see only the prices for the conference. If we could save 30% of our costs and being able to offer tickets for 400€ instead of 590€ (Early Bird) wouldn't make that big difference in total costs for the attendees at the end. This because there are also travel and accommodation costs which are out of our influence (see, my flight to Seoul last year was about 1200€, accommodation 700€ - looking at this, a conference fee of 400.- compared to 600.- does not really make that big difference). Even in a city like Bonn, where accommodation rates are moderate, you should at least calculate 70€/day, plus food, beer, etc.
>> So, the fact, that tickets are more expensive than last year couldn't be the only reason not being able to bring 5 people to Bonn. Also this view completely negotiates that there are definitely costs, that we have to cover.
>>
>> 2. Tieing on here, although this is another discussion: The requirements of OSGeo bear some parameters, that really rise up costs: Hire a conference center, need to have a PCO and include the Gala Event. These are all nice ideas, but of course they all result in higher costs and with that in higher ticket fees. As long as OSGeo (especially you should remember ;-)) refuses to give a 100% financial backup, the calculation of income to reach the break even drives LOC's to calculate much more carefully - and with that with higher fees.
>>
>> 3. Regarding the most expensive part of our conference - the conference center: In most cities it is simply impossible finding a location where you could run a conference with that a size of up to 1000 attendees. And hiring a conference center is expensive, regardless where in the world.
>>
>>
>> This just as a quick review - having time to think little more, I am sure I'd find many other reasons, why we should stop dreaming here when thinking about having a global conference that everybody is able to join, where you just meet good friends and have some nice beers together. Everything simply does not work as long as there is no source of income that makes LOC's and OSGeo independent of financial success of a FOSS4G conference.
>>
>>
>> Perhaps there is a need for a discussion and also a decision, which focus we/OSGeo want/s to give our annual global event. As a person from the business side (which is important as engine for development of the projects, see recent email from Jeroen), I say that one global professional conference is definitely required. And having something like studentship programme, travel grants helps to enable at least some people to join that conference, that normally couldn't afford it. But most of them couldn't even afford attending anyway, even if conference fees were less than half of what they are.
>> Perhaps the spirit of the conference that everybody could afford (especially because of travel costs), must be carried out on a regional/continental scale ?
>>
>> BTW: Yes, it's me arguing like this, and I am one of the last guys that fighted as long as possible to keep our FOSSGIS conference free of charge ;-)
>>
>>
>> Last point - regarding your people from your group: If they are students, they could have applied for our studentship programme. They can try, but looks like that we are nearly complete here...
>>
>> Just my 2 (long) cents.
>>
>> Till
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Am 2016-05-11 11:01, schrieb massimiliano cannata:
>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>> From: <[hidden email] [1]>
>>> Date: 2016-05-11 10:41 GMT+02:00
>>> Subject: Incubation, osgeo-EU and FOSS4G
>>> To: [hidden email] [2]
>>>
>>> Your message has been rejected, probably because you are not
>>> subscribed to the mailing list and the lists policy is to prohibit
>>> non-members from posting to it.  If you think that your messages are
>>> being rejected in error, contact the mailing list owner at
>>> [hidden email] [3].
>>>
>>> ---------- Messaggio inoltrato ----------
>>> From: Massimiliano Cannata <[hidden email] [4]>
>>> To: OSGeo Board <[hidden email] [5]>, OSGeo Discussions
>>> <[hidden email] [6]>, OSGeo Incubator Committee
>>> <[hidden email] [7]>, "<[hidden email]
>>> [8]>" <[hidden email] [9]>
>>> Cc:
>>> Date: Wed, 11 May 2016 10:41:55 +0200
>>> Subject: Incubation, osgeo-EU and FOSS4G
>>>
>>> Sorry for cross-posting but these recent topics (which took place on
>>> different lists) took myself to reflect about our foundation.
>>>
>>> Summary of the long mail below (for those who dont have time go trough
>>> :-D )
>>>
>>> =================================================================
>>>
>>> DISCUSSION: only a small number of people take part to the
>>> discussions, why?
>>>
>>> INCUBATION: we care about high quality, long term sustainable and
>>> reliable solutions, who cares of governance models?
>>>
>>> BUSINESS AND OSGEO(EU): we are a foundation of people not of
>>> companies, we dont have to do business!
>>>
>>> FOSS4G CONFERENCES: fees are a barrier, we are building exclusive
>>> events rather then being inclusive, who care about revenue!
>>>
>>> More explanation of my thoughts (for those who have time to spend and
>>> go deeper :-o )
>>>
>>> ==================================================================
>>>
>>> Im an environmental engineer and thus far from being a rigorous
>>> informatics or an economist or a social science expert. Nevertheless
>>> in these last 20 years (from Bangkok to Seoul without missing a single
>>> one) I had the opportunity to met those words, make some experience
>>> and learn a bit.
>>> Thats to say that i do not have the truth in my pockets and Im open
>>> to change my view.
>>>
>>> DISCUSSIONS
>>> First a small consideration, those topics are discussed by a small
>>> number of people with respect of the total members of our community.
>>> It means that A) the arguments are not of high interest B) silent
>>> people are shy and do not feel to be in the position to add value to
>>> the conversation C) people think it is a waste of time.
>>> This is often happening and my impression is that people just dont
>>> care to much of these political issues but only of technical matters.
>>>
>>> INCUBATION
>>> My understanding is that OSGeo trough the incubation process aims at
>>> guarantee high quality, long term sustainable and reliable solutions
>>> to show that FOSS Geospatial technology is valuable and credible. In
>>> this view the governance model adopted (PSC, dictator or whatever) is
>>> of secondary importance to me as long as the software respond to the
>>> above mentioned requisites. I personally prefer clear process rather
>>> then open-in-words but fake-in-fact rules.
>>>
>>> BUSINESS AND OSGEO(EU)
>>> OSGeo is an organisation of people. Not of sectors or groups or
>>> parties. Of course people belong to categories and this tend to
>>> influence the way they see the world. For this reason people tend to
>>> contribute to the community for their competence and interest within
>>> committees or working groups. It is not the mandate of OSGeo making
>>> lobbies or acquire mandates. To me OSGeo should get together great
>>> projects and people to offer the world the possibility of advance and
>>> improve the life of people. I know It is a bit exaggerated but when i
>>> think of open source i see it as a mean of equity: like making
>>> accessible food and sanitation and drinking water and medicine to
>>> everyone in the world. Making tools for a better governance available
>>> to all.
>>> OSGeo is about mutually sharing experiences, ideas, solutions not
>>> building business. For this LocationTech which is a community of
>>> companies / entities I understood is more suited.
>>> So my vision is OSGeo focused on people not on companies or groups.
>>> Splitting the community is not an advancement but a loss of value.
>>>
>>> FOSS4G CONFERENCES
>>> This is the momentum. Here i have always get inspiration from
>>> listening talks, discussing with people, talking with friends. It used
>>> to be a very inclusive event: the peak of the FOSS4G iceberg. Im
>>> saying "it use to be" because prices are year by year growing so much
>>> that today they represent a barrier. I would have liked to came with 5
>>> people from my group but this is simply not economically sustainable:
>>> as a result the younger will lose this opportunity to join the
>>> community and breath the breeze of Open innovation. If i compare
>>> FOSS4G prices (rate per day) with other comparable events they are
>>> higher. I personally dont need fancy locations and I am more
>>> interested in involving more people rather then having high revenue
>>> for the foundation. I want to meet students, people from low income
>>> countries, small companies, start-up. Lets find a way to be Open..
>>>
>>> MAY THE FOSS BE WITH YOU !
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>> Dr. Eng. Massimiliano Cannata
>>> Responsabile Area Geomatica
>>> Istituto Scienze della Terra
>>> Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana
>>> Via Trevano, c.p. 72
>>> CH-6952 Canobbio-Lugano
>>> Tel: +41 (0)58 666 62 14
>>> Fax +41 (0)58 666 62 09
>>>
>>> Links:
>>> ------
>>> [1] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [2] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [3] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [4] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [5] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [6] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [7] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [8] mailto:[hidden email]
>>> [9] mailto:[hidden email]
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Conference_dev mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Conference_dev mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev

_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
[hidden email]
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G

Marc Vloemans-3

Picking up on the thread of Steven's list of items/solutions to look into (please, provide items 7, 8 etc if other perspectives could reap solutions).
........and hopefully providing people additional arguments to convince partners, spouses, parents, bosses and bank managers that coming to Bonn this year is 'cheap' ;-)))))
...see brainstorm per item below:

1. Can we unbundle some elements of the conference to help those on low income? Gala event, catering, anything else?

MV; this will certainly help to save and should be done to some degree. Whether it significantly weighs up to costs for travel, lodging etc.... I don't know. For the LOC this would mean higher administrative overhead; the more differentiation in attendance, the more planning&administration is needed. Professional conf organisers will certainly charge extra and volunteers for this type of work are very scarce. Still, some price and attendance differentiation (above presently in place) may reap extra attendants (but baseline to be established). 

2. Should we encourage lower cost venue options from host cities bidding for 2018 etc

MV; Venue cost for 800+ attendees tends to be directly related to size and importance of the city and country. 

More sophisticated and developed host countries tend to have already a certain amount of FOSS(GIS) users as critical mass and some sort of local chapter to form the necessary LOC.
(We are not GeoSpatialWorld Forum that flies in a LOC from India and is heavily sponsored)

This may be a rule of thumb, but hopefully future LOC's with their more intimate knowledge of the local situation prove me wrong. 

3. Should we focus more on costs of travel and accommodation when selecting host cities?

MV; although hotel prices are directly correlated to the popularity of their cities, larger cities offer a wider bandwidth of lodging prices and higher amount of available beds in a certain price range. And renting an appartement with a group is often the cheapest option, but not that often done... Large popular cities (with a plethora of AirBnB, FamilyBnB, GayBnB, GeekBnB, HipsterBnB etc etc) do have a considerable edge here ;-)

Lower popularity means smaller size of the city, thus more likely it is that no or just indirect flights go there (extra flight/travel costs) or only one or two airlines travel there (with illegal higher price agreement:-( 

4. Can we come up with an OSGeo policy on subsidising people who want to attend? How would we select? A full subsidy for someone attending FOSS4G including travel, accommodation, delegate fees, workshops, and living expenses could easily run between €1500 and €2500 depending on the location and an individual’s travel costs. That means finding between €60k and €100k to fund 5% of the attendees at a FOSS4G. Is that achievable?

MV; in Western Hemisphere political/economical/societal/other outreach organisations (we are tech-variety) usually reimburse travel costs upon arrival against receipt with a predetermined maximum, for attendees who come from Third World countries or can show a valid student pass or whatever sympathy-policy is in place. Accommodation is usually arranged via couch-surfing with organisers/other visitors or free(gratis) rooms arranged as part of local hotel-deals/block-bookings.

So first we (Board, officers, the cook/wife/lover - thanks Peter Greenaway - and/or whoever has a say) would have to determine what OSGeo sees as its strategy regarding Outreach: where do we see people disadvantaged.... (may I once more kindly refer to the concept Marketing Plan in the wiki https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Talk:Marketing_Committee for all to comment on and add to ;-))))

By the way; Fraud is to be expected but cannot really be countered only diminished. So should not stop us pursuing this option. 

5. Is it better to leave the successful global event as it is, up till now we have had strong attendances each year? We could instead encourage FOSS4G regional events (in regions that are not hosting the global event) that were designed and targeted to be a smaller scale and more affordable?

MV; +1 eg comparable to LocationTech Tour: single format, reusable items, continuity of officers etc and in collaboration with local/ regional (Hi, OSGeo.eu ;-) chapters.

6. Are we looking at the wrong side of this by focussing on the cost of attending an event? 


MV;
Let's think more in quantifiable benefit terms. And turn it into a (reusable format for the wiki) business case: cost versus financial benefit. If attendants from companies join code sprints this should count as billable/development/product development/engineering hours, that needed to be spend in office-time anyway. Combined with the personal training budget that employees usually have a right to, this adds up to at least the amount of the conference attendance (incl all costs).
I have done this calculation for the Bolzano code sprints in the past and it works out!

Additionally, for independent professionals a similar calculation method could apply, but I would have to think more on that.

My two non-reimbursable well-spent cents.

Vriendelijke groet,
Marc Vloemans


Op 13 mei 2016 om 15:13 heeft Steven Feldman <[hidden email]> het volgende geschreven:


1. Can we unbundle some elements of the conference to help those on low income? Gala event, catering, anything else?
2. Should we encourage lower cost venue options from host cities bidding for 2018 etc
3. Should we focus more on costs of travel and accommodation when selecting host cities?
4. Can we come up with an OSGeo policy on subsidising people who want to attend? How would we select? A full subsidy for someone attending FOSS4G including travel, accommodation, delegate fees, workshops, and living expenses could easily run between €1500 and €2500 depending on the location and an individual’s travel costs. That means finding between €60k and €100k to fund 5% of the attendees at a FOSS4G. Is that achievable?
5. Is it better to leave the successful global event as it is, up till now we have had strong attendances each year? We could instead encourage FOSS4G regional events (in regions that are not hosting the global event) that were designed and targeted to be a smaller scale and more affordable?
6. Are we looking at the wrong side of this by focussing on the cost of attending an event?

_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
[hidden email]
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G

Johan Van de Wauw
In reply to this post by Jonathan Moules-4
On Thu, May 12, 2016 at 11:56 PM, Jonathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Till,
> On the issue of conferences, I'd like to chip in. I've never organised one,
> but my other half has so I know how much work they are, so plenty of respect
> for the effort you've both put into them.
>
> I suppose I'd ask two questions of any given element of a conference - Is it
> necessary, and how much should it cost? Conference centres are very
> expensive, this much is clear, but does FOSS4G really need a single space
> that can handle all of its delegates at once for the plenaries? How much
> does that add to the cost? Would universities be cheaper as hosts? They
> certainly have the facilities, including wi-fi, canteens, and (potentially)
> cheap accommodation; I note that the FOSDEM conference ( > 5000 delegates
> for all of whom it is free) is hosted yearly at a university in Brussels.

Hello Jonathan,

I want to comment as I have been involved in several editions of
FOSDEM and other conferences.
You certainly can not copy the model of FOSDEM easily to FOSS4G or any
other conference.

FOSDEM has a much broader focus and as a result more potential
sponsors. As the largest Open Source conference in Europe it gets a
lot of sponsorship (the winner takes it all applies here). To give you
an idea, speakers in the 3 main tracks can apply for travel costs.
Nevertheless there are still a lot of costs made (network, security,
cleaning (the toilets of ULB seem to be cleaned only during FOSDEM),
video, ...). Anyway, finding a different location to host it even with
the same budget is nearly impossible. One of the reasons it could grow
so large is because it was organised every year at the same place,
which also leads to confidence between the university and the
organisation.

Some of the other reasons that FOSDEM can be organised for free may
nevertheless apply to FOSS4G:
1) It is held in a weekend. This makes universities as a location
possible. This also means that you may still find volunteers to eg
help with catering. During a working week this is much harder.
Additionaly, there are only two days, so less places to fill with
people.
2) There is a large crew of volunteers at FOSDEM. Not just the people
who actually organise the event, but volunteers are people helping out
with setting up, staffing booths, cloackroom, ... for a number of
hours during the event.
3) Food. Food is not supplied by the organisation. There is a (large)
number of foodtrucks. Sandwiches and pastry are sold at the cafetaria
(outsourced to a student union - which knows what to expect from
previous years).

Anyway, OpenStreetMap is hosting state of the map this year in
Brussels. They were not able to get the premises of the ULB (which
FOSDEM uses) but they could reach an agreement with another university
(VUB, which is not the same one). They have a system with two ticket
prices: 75 euro (early bird rate) for "community members" and a
regular ticket of 180 euro (early bird, ending today - grab one if you
intend to go!). Perhaps this is something to conside? A "regular
ticket" perhaps including vouchers for lunch etc and a 'starving
hacker' ticket. So people who come to FOSS4G professionaly choose the
regular ticket and sponsor the community members?

I should note that 75 euro still is a threshold even for some of the
Belgian contributors of OpenStreetMap to join, something to consider
in a world where hourly rates often exceed that.

Kind Regards,
Johan
_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
[hidden email]
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G

Benoit FOURNIER
Hi Johan and all,

I have been involved or simply attended a few conferences, in
particular OSGeo-FOSS4G France/Europe/World and OSM-SotM France/World.
I would like to comment on the cost and comparison of the different events.

TL;DR: I feel like FOSSDEM and State of the Map are in the same
category, "volunteer/community event". FOSS4G is not.

More inline.


> Some of the other reasons that FOSDEM can be organised for free may
> nevertheless apply to FOSS4G:
> 1) It is held in a weekend. [...]
> 2) There is a large crew of volunteers at FOSDEM. [...]
> 3) Food. Food is not supplied by the organisation. [...]
>
> Anyway, OpenStreetMap is hosting state of the map this year in Brussels.
> [...]
> prices: 75 euro (early bird rate) for "community members" and a
> regular ticket of 180 euro (early bird, ending today - grab one if you
> intend to go!).

(early bird is not closed yet, but do grab one anyway!)
(and look for local FOSS4G event in Brussels too...)

A few reminders if I may, to compare the costs from the point of view
of an attendee:
FOSDEM: event for ~5000 ; 2 days ; no food included [0 EUR]
SotM-local France: event for ~200 ; 3 days + lunches and drinks [10 EUR]
SotM-global Brussels: event for ~500 ; 3 days&hackday + lunches and
drinks + 1 social evening event dinner [0 EUR scholarship / 75 EUR
community / 180 EUR professional]

Considering food and dinner (included or not), I very much feel these
events are in the (same) 'ballpark', that is to say with comparable
cost and quite easily accessible to community members.


FOSS4G is different, a more professional conference, or with less
support from sponsors.
FOSS4G-global: event for ~500+ ; 3 days&hackday + lunches and drinks +
Ice Breaker + Gala Event with dinner [590 EUR, what about
grant/scholarship?]


> I should note that 75 euro still is a threshold even for some of the
> Belgian contributors of OpenStreetMap to join, something to consider
> in a world where hourly rates often exceed that.

Very true, community contributors in OpenStreetMap are not professionals.
Because of that and following early feedback about the "high price 75
EUR", even with food included for everyone, SotM propose also ways to
get in for free (scholar/volunteer).

Free food for thought.
Happy to discuss this further if you want a half-internal,
half-external point of view.

Best regards

Benoît
OpenStreetMap France, OSGeo-FR
_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
[hidden email]
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G

Jonathan Moules-4
Hi List,
     There has been some interesting discussion in this thread about how
other conferences run, and comparisons between them and the
professional/volunteer perspective.

     I find the cost comparison between OSM Brussels and FOSS4G quite
striking. The OSM Brussels conference "professional" cost of €180 all
inclusive for three days as highlighted by Benoît, is only a smidge
higher than the just-the-food portion of an early-bird FOSS4G ticket (€150).

     Steven's created an excellent summary of assumptions that should
possibly be assessed.
     I think another question is - what's the primary purpose of the
event and who is its audience? To fund OSGeo? To facilitate
collaboration on FOSS4G software? Something else?
     And given the purpose, would regional events be able to achieve it
as effectively? I'm not convinced the smaller events facilitate
collaboration to the same degree. They also don't bring together the
same sorts of numbers (of delegates or projects) for code-sprints.
     I believe regional events certainly have value, but they don't seem
to have all that much overlap with the roving flagship international
conference, at least, not for the developer-delegates. User-delegates
however probably don't care which they go to.

     Another thought - as FOSS4G moves around, why subsidise delegate
travel, at least beyond the continent (I don't know if this is done
currently)? A better use of limited grant funds for a delegate in say
North America may be to wait for 2017's offering, and award the grant
then, rather than funding a trans-Atlantic flight.

     Just another 2p of thoughts.
     Cheers,
     Jonathan


On 24/05/2016 11:38, Benoit Fournier wrote:

> Hi Johan and all,
>
> I have been involved or simply attended a few conferences, in
> particular OSGeo-FOSS4G France/Europe/World and OSM-SotM France/World.
> I would like to comment on the cost and comparison of the different events.
>
> TL;DR: I feel like FOSSDEM and State of the Map are in the same
> category, "volunteer/community event". FOSS4G is not.
>
> More inline.
>
>
>> Some of the other reasons that FOSDEM can be organised for free may
>> nevertheless apply to FOSS4G:
>> 1) It is held in a weekend. [...]
>> 2) There is a large crew of volunteers at FOSDEM. [...]
>> 3) Food. Food is not supplied by the organisation. [...]
>>
>> Anyway, OpenStreetMap is hosting state of the map this year in Brussels.
>> [...]
>> prices: 75 euro (early bird rate) for "community members" and a
>> regular ticket of 180 euro (early bird, ending today - grab one if you
>> intend to go!).
> (early bird is not closed yet, but do grab one anyway!)
> (and look for local FOSS4G event in Brussels too...)
>
> A few reminders if I may, to compare the costs from the point of view
> of an attendee:
> FOSDEM: event for ~5000 ; 2 days ; no food included [0 EUR]
> SotM-local France: event for ~200 ; 3 days + lunches and drinks [10 EUR]
> SotM-global Brussels: event for ~500 ; 3 days&hackday + lunches and
> drinks + 1 social evening event dinner [0 EUR scholarship / 75 EUR
> community / 180 EUR professional]
>
> Considering food and dinner (included or not), I very much feel these
> events are in the (same) 'ballpark', that is to say with comparable
> cost and quite easily accessible to community members.
>
>
> FOSS4G is different, a more professional conference, or with less
> support from sponsors.
> FOSS4G-global: event for ~500+ ; 3 days&hackday + lunches and drinks +
> Ice Breaker + Gala Event with dinner [590 EUR, what about
> grant/scholarship?]
>
>
>> I should note that 75 euro still is a threshold even for some of the
>> Belgian contributors of OpenStreetMap to join, something to consider
>> in a world where hourly rates often exceed that.
> Very true, community contributors in OpenStreetMap are not professionals.
> Because of that and following early feedback about the "high price 75
> EUR", even with food included for everyone, SotM propose also ways to
> get in for free (scholar/volunteer).
>
> Free food for thought.
> Happy to discuss this further if you want a half-internal,
> half-external point of view.
>
> Best regards
>
> Benoît
> OpenStreetMap France, OSGeo-FR
> _______________________________________________
> Conference_dev mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev


_______________________________________________
Discuss mailing list
[hidden email]
http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss