[Linux-aus] Choosing the LCA '07 host city

Glen Turner glen.turner at aarnet.edu.au
Fri Dec 16 23:04:01 UTC 2005

> Given the dearth of commentary, I encourage *everyone* to make their opinion
> heard, especially those who've actually *been* to a linux.conf.au. ;-)

Hi Jeff (but really addressed to the LA cmte),

Been to a few, organised one.  Am I alone in finding this
unstructured beauty contest format particularly unhelpful?

I mean what am I meant to base an opinion *on*?  The fact
that Sydney wrote a better pitch?  Well I'm sorry but I
think my Heard Island pitch was superior :-)

The things that really matter aren't in the pitch:

  - The organisational abilities of the organisers.

  - The commitment of the initial organiser team, how many
    will make it to the end?  Enough for the roles: lead,
    treasurer, sponorship sales, pr, site arrangements,
    programme, volunteer wrangler?

  - The management of risk. There's no revenue, but significant
    incurred expense, before the first registrations and the
    first sponsorship cheques (which sponsors like to send in
    too late to be useful for risk mitigation).

    Things like free presentation space and early sponsorship
    cash really help to minimise the risk.

  - Sanity of arrangements. Are the conference facilities
    close to each other, walking distance to accomodation,
    relatively wlan and additional power friendly, easy
    to navigate, allow some disabled access, etc, etc?

And the pitch format ("yes, we are superior organisers,
trust us") just isn't the right device.  We've all sat
through vendor presentations that sound good until
the figures [1].

LCA also has some structural issues.  The beauty contest format
means that a bid which tries to address some of these issues
is at a big disadvantage. That's not good for the long run.

What's needed is careful investigation and thought about
each of the proposals.  As, I suspect, has happened in
previous years.

Best wishes,

  [1] Microsoft it pitching Exchange. The slide says "outstanding
      delivery times". We ask for figures, told "90% of e-mails
      delivered in 20 minutes". ROFL as people realise that this
      means that an e-mail can't be composed and received by the
      other party during a phone call.  Major, but unwritten,
      requirement not met.

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