[LACTTE] Re: [Linux-aus] About a User Conference (was...)

Michael Still mikal at stillhq.com
Tue Mar 1 14:51:02 UTC 2005

Anthony Towns wrote:
> Michael Still wrote:
>>>>> - users are extremely price sensitive
>>> Note anything more than $0 is too much.
>> Perhaps. How do you fund an event without having any money though?
> There're at least three ways:
>  * have people who present pay for it (tradeshow)
>  * finance it by sponsors (essentially advertising)
>  * run it at a loss (mistake ;)
> The second two options are how the open source forums are run; but 
> they're pretty small and expected to stay that way, so the loss doesn't 
> matter so much.

I still think that the probability of sponsors / a tradeshow massively 
increases having run the event once and prove the audience exists. The 
current model I would like to aim for is run it smallish, cheapish, with 
a couple of cheapish sponsors.

>> Absolutely. I was more thinking of Windows-centric ISV / bespoke 
>> programmers wanting to port their worlds to Linux / open source however.
> Some possibilities:
>   * people who'd like to know if they can switch to Linux, and why they
>     would, and get some idea how to -- they don't want to devote too
>     much time (it's all wasted if the answer's "no they can't switch"),
>     and aren't too fussed if it's not too in-depth.

You're suggesting that a weekend is too long an event?

>   * people who've already decided they want to swich to Linux, and want
>     to get some real useful help in making the step -- they probably
>     want to actually devote a day or two in their entirety to seeing
>     tutorials, networking with consultants, and whatever else.

A weekend!

>   * people who're already using Linux and want to use it better --
>     they're not so interested in basics, and want in-depth tutorials and
>     a chance to talk to people in depth.


>   * people who're using Linux and want a chance to "give back" to the
>     community in some valuable way, but aren't able to hack on the
>     kernel or openoffice.org -- not sure what we might want to offer
>     these folks, but they're probably worth considering

Yeah, for sure. I see the target speaker for this event not being the 
kind of person who normally speaks at an LCA -- more the kind of people 
mentioned in the previous point.

> Maybe we should try a user conference that caters variously to all the 
> sorts of people we can think of, then get feedback on how to do it right 
> next time -- more as a deliberate experiment, than a first actual run?

Ok, I think that's implicit in anything like this though. If LCA 2005 
tried something and it flopped, then we'd drop it in the future too. I 
think there is recognition out there that the formula isn't cast in 
stone for any of these events.

> I guess the in-depth stuff would be hardest to do as a roadshow, and 
> also the most likely to be interesting enough to get people to actually 
> fly somewhere to attend.


>> (I suspect the idea is going no where by the way. I don't sense a 
>> concensus happening on this list at the moment. There are 
>> approximately three competing visions for the event at the moment, and 
>> I don't think there is a clear winner.)
> Well, hey, it has only been a couple of weeks; and your proposal was so 
> draft it had a request for "$xxx" :) There's not really much of a 
> definite idea to have a consensus on yet.

That's cause the real figure is so big it would blow your mind!

Seriously, I wasn't 100% comfortable talking about my draft numbers on a 
public list. Perhaps that's my background showing through or something, 
but I do have some numbers if people want to see them, I'm just not sure 
if this medium is the right one for those numbers to be discussed in.

It would be awkward after all if sponsors knew how much we needed to the 
cent, and knew that how much they paid was basically public knowledge.



Michael Still (mikal at stillhq.com) | "The geek shall inherit
http://www.stillhq.com            |  the earth"
UTC + 11                          |    -- The Simpsons

Linux.conf.au 2005 -- Quite like an excellent Linux and Open Source
conference. http://lca2005.linux.org.au

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