FUDCon London 2005: Analysis

Greg DeKoenigsberg gdk at redhat.com
Mon Oct 17 19:30:01 UTC 2005

Nice FUDCon.  Well prepared and well executed.  Decent walk up traffic.  
Good names and good presentations.  And yet... not really that remarkable.

So after it was all done, and I was stuck in London for a couple of days,
feeling a nasty cold coming on, I sat at the hotel bar drinking gin and
tonics (healthful, don't you know).  I sat and thought about why the first
two FUDCons had an energy that this FUDCon seemed to lack.

After writing some notes and chatting with some other folks, I boiled my 
discomfort down to five points that, imho, should guide our policy for 
holding events in the future.  

I'm anxious to hear your feedback.  Hit me with both barrels.


1. PAY FOR PEOPLE, NOT FOR PLACES.  We need to get good community
contributors to FUDCons, by hook or by crook.  We spent a pretty sizable
chunk of change to buy space at LWCE London.  It was the majority of our
budget, and left very little for travel stipends.  At FUDCons 1 and 2, we
had community representatives present, with Red Hat paying the tab.  At
FUDCon London, we did not.  The difference was very clear.  Therefore,
paying for space should be something we do as a last resort, and we should
pay as little as possible.  If we hold the event under tents in a parking
lot, and have the right people there, it'll be a success.

2. READ-WRITE, NOT READ-ONLY.  This relates to 1.  One of the reasons it 
wasn't more read-write was because we didn't have enough community 
contributors present.  It was great to see Stuart Ellis of the docs 
project, but aside from him and some Redhatters, the pickings were pretty 
slim -- and not only that, but there were no chances for attendees to 
*participate* in any real way.  I believe that we need to have a hackfest 
of some kind at the next FUDCon; I think it's imperative.  We're ready to 
go to the next level.

3. ONE FUDCON PER YEAR PER GEO.  I think that having two FUDCons so close 
to one another -- Germany in June, England in October -- sapped the energy 
of the London show.  I think that a lot of people probably opted out 
because they'd already been to the show at LinuxTag, and saw no need to go 
again.  One show in North America, one in Europe, one in Asia/Australia.  
I think that's a good plan.

4. GEEKS, NOT SUITS.  FUDCon 1 was held *near* LWCE Boston in February, 
but the real show happened at BU, and got a lot of geeks.  FUDCon 2 at 
Karlsuhe was in the middle of LinuxTag, which is very much a geek show.  
FUDCon London 2005 happened in the middle of a show for suits.  The 
difference in the vibe was tangible.

5. ONE PERSON AT EVERY SHOW.  If there's one real goal that we should set
for the CMC program, it would be to have a Fedora CMC at every important
Linux show in the world.  If we can manage that, we will be able to claim
success.  What do we need to do to accomplish that goal?  We need:

  + A schedule of all important events with .org pavilions.
  + A way for volunteers to sign up.
  + Funds to help pay people's way, if necessary.
  + Materials in the hands of every volunteer, well in advance: DVDs,
    marketing materials, etc., etc.

We should probably be using the weekly marketing meeting (and when is 
that, again?) to be getting an update on the status of this effort.  It 
may be the most important thing we can be doing as a group right now.


So that's my take.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  


_____________________  ____________________________________________
  Greg DeKoenigsberg ] [ the future masters of technology will have
 Community Relations ] [ to be lighthearted and intelligent.  the
             Red Hat ] [ machine easily masters the grim and the 
                     ] [ dumb.  --mcluhan

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