On Sat, 2005-08-27 at 12:14 -0400, Louis Suarez-Potts wrote:

> > How about I try to prepare.  With the time frame I had with the NEA
> > conference I was able to get a sponsor and some items that were usable
> > for the booth.  All we can do is try.
> True.  Some context:
> * Has OOo been invited to the 2006 DSL? If people recall, Michael  
> Robertson and Linspire marketing people contacted us well in advance.  
> We didn't go to the 2004 conference b/c there was not enough time to  
> pull together a team and no one was sufficiently interested (it was  
> hard too to see the DSL as anything other than a Linspire show), but  
> did think the 2005 DSL would be worthwhile. Linspire suggested the  
> idea of making it a Regional Conference. That is something more than  
> just a booth at a conference. It was supposed to be somehow a US  
> version of OOoCon.  Consequently, the Community Council authorised  
> going to the DSL and money was made available by Team OpenOffice.org  
> e.V., which manages money for marketing events like this.
> But what has resulted from the conference?  For starters, it was not  
> what the CC envisioned.  Yes it was fun for those attending. 

Fun but also valuable in a number of other ways. Number one I met Adam
and as a result OOo got a booth at the biggest education show in North
America and a lot of exposure to many people who had never heard of it.
Without DLS this would not have happened. Adam is now a very active
contributor and that probably wouldn't have happened either. It cost the
project zero because I paid for it - around $4000 for the booth, travel
and hotel expenses and not counting my time or Adam's. 

>  But  
> what else? Did it get much press? If so, where?

It certainly got some but no-one specifically had a remit to gather that
information together. I'm not aware of any standard evaluation
instrument for such things. Perhaps we should have one. If this is
thought to be important its can be done.

>   Did it bring in new  
> developers? Who? 

Developers in what sense? If you mean new coders, probably not but then
I doubt the main conference really makes a lot of impact on that front.
If you mean active supporters at least one I know of and possibly others
I don't know about. I only know about my specific experience.

>  Key users? Which? Did it represent OOo in a strong  
> light?

A stronger light than not being there ;-) I think the snag with this
type of analysis is that we know there are thngs that can be improved
fairly easily and that somethngs didn't go that well mainly through lack
of experience. Let's not lose the value of learning. In principle are we
saying that since it didn't turn out quite as the CC envisaged the
concept of a Regional Conference should be dropped without any real
debate? If we decide that a Regicon is a good idea but DLS is not the
venue, fine, what is the alternative? How is its development planned?
I'd also say that having attended both Regicon at DLS and in Canberra I
think DLS gave OOo much greater exposure. The audience for the major
presentations in San Diego was much bigger than in the case of Canberra
and probably Linspire's organisation had a lot do do with that. For that
reason alone, shifting to a different venue would need careful thought.

>  If so, by whose account? 

Well I guess I was at OOoConf 2004, and both RegiConfs and I thought DLS
was useful. It can be improved upon, no doubt about that. No-one
actually asked me at the time for an evaluation. Same is true of going
to NEA. I'm particularly busy with work so if no-one asks me I'm not
likely to do anything beyond what I think is important.

>  Of course, no conference ever does  
> what we want it to do, but we generally want a conference to be worth  
> the effort and money.

Thing is its not clear at this point that we need any money or resources
from anyone. Its just brainstorming. If some people are motivated to do
it and wouldn't be doing anything else it costs the project nothing at
all. If the proposal could be improved by a small amount of funding and
its thought that it will have a disproportionately beneficial effect
then that decision can be made later. Let's see what the proposal is

>   (One reason I didn't push for Linux World SF  
> was b/c, as Robin Miller has pointed out and others have also noted,  
> it's nowadays suits selling to other suits.  OOo is lost there, or  
> used as a token app but that's it. Nothing has resulted from us being  
> there. No new developers nor large numbers of users. As far as press  
> attention goes, just having a booth showcasing 2.0 goes only so far  
> if we are not prepared with an entertaining and informative spiel and  
> show.)

I don't think DLS was a suit thing. I never wore a suit and didn't feel
out of place and in my usual business life I'm always in a suit.

> I'm not saying that the DSL should be written off. I am saying I'd  
> like for us to consider what we hope to gain by being there, and what  
> level of effort and money is required.  Conferences and booths can be  
> fun and are team (community) building, when done properly.

And I think that we shouldn't under-estimate the power of motivating
people. Motivated people are really the most important assett

>  Done  
> poorly, as at the Liinux World Boston earlier this year, they can be  
> a disadvantage. (The press, or at least one key press member with  
> influence, reported that the poor booth presence and attendance there  
> indicated that OOo was losing its steam and membership base; that  
> open source in general was on the ropes. We had to make a few calls  
> to set people straight, but it's very very hard to undo damage like  
> that.)

Lack of presence can also be taken in the same way. So we need presence
*and* impact. Its key to any credibility of the marketing project.

> I agree that having OOo present at a US conference is important,  
> which is why I think OSCON, which *is* taken seriously by all, should  
> be our goal for a major conference in the US.  Or if not OSCON, then  
> another similar conference that brings together developers as well as  
> companies interested in working on OOo.  DLS could be that event.  
> However, if we want to have a press event, then it is easier just to  
> do that, and to get a hold of Linux Word, Linux Journal, etc., with  
> updates (We do this anyway, actually, and not a week goes by, I  
> sometimes think, that an OOo member is not interviewed on OOo.)  Of  
> course, it is also fun to attend and participate in conferences, and  
> we can certainly plan on doing that: there are smaller LinuxWorlds  
> where having an OOo presence can get more notice; and there are many  
> other conferences out there. And if there are enough people willing  
> to go to the DLS and manage it, and if there is funding for it, and  
> if it seems like it will be really worth it, there is that.

I agree that DLS does not have to be Regicon. However, if there is an
opportunity to have a presence there, even if its just a booth with
enthusiastic volunteers at little or no cost, I can't see a reason not
to do it. One thing that would be useful would be a set of
professionally produced art work for booths that could be shipped at low
cost to anyone that wanted to attend a show on behalf of OOo. A standard
evaluation proforma of the event would also be helpful if information in
that line is thought to be valuable.


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