[OOTB-hive] The future of Alfresco Summit

Richard Esplin richard.esplin at alfresco.com
Wed May 6 04:48:28 BST 2015

I think a community led Alfresco conference is a wonderful thing, and I will 
address that topic in a separate post.

I wanted to clarify the future of the Alfresco Summit. This is going to be 
long, but I hope it is helpful.

Disclaimer: I am no longer on the Summit team and am no longer involved with 
determining its future. But I can share what I know about the reasoning behind 
our plans for 2015.

The Alfresco Devcons in 2010, 2011, and 2012 were wonderful events. They had a 
clear focus, were not too formal, and provided a lot of value.

In 2013 we tried to compliment the developer event with business tracks. We 
wanted to have a single global conference that provided something of value for 
all members of the Alfresco ecosystem. There was a lot of worry that it would 
dilute the developer tracks, but in the end I think we ended up with a great 
technical conference. We saw a lot of cross over between the "business tracks" 
and the "technical tracks", and we got overwhelming positive feedback from 
attendees. The challenge is that the business tracks weren't as successful as 
we wanted.

In 2014 we tried again. Though again we didn't achieve our target audience 
mix, we got a lot of positive feedback about the value the business sessions 
provided. We feel like those sessions are useful for all attendees. Also, it 
is much easier to attract sponsors to a conference that appeals to all levels 
of our client organizations. The conference would not be possible without the 
participation of the sponsors.

In 2015, we decided to change how we measure the success of the Summit. We 
understand that the regional Alfresco Day events are much better at attracting 
prospective customers and leading to sales. It took us a while as a team to 
realize that we should not be applying those measures to Summit. I believe 
that now we will be able to focus on the global event where we can come 
together, learn from each other, and build relationships that will sustain our 
community for the coming year. I believe that we are moving back towards the 
goals that governed our planning for Devcon.

I am a little disappointed to hear people say that we killed Devcon. Our 
intention is to preserve a solid technical conference, and we would appreciate 
specific feedback on how we can do that. We obviously can't implement every 
suggestion, but the conference has always been strongly shaped by feedback 
from the attendees.

The strongest feedback we have received this year is a feeling of 
disappointment that we are having a single global event . Honestly, I think 
the concern isn't that it is a single event, but that it is in the US.

Since I joined the planning team, every year I proposed that we hold a single 
global event. Running two conference is a very challenging thing. It 
significantly increases the cost, it distracts key members of our technical and 
leadership teams for almost a month, and it divides our community. My argument 
was that most attendees do not come every year, and if we rotate between the 
continents then most people will continue attending. Having everyone in one 
place makes it easier to bring more Alfresco employees without having the 
employees dominate the conference. It also helps that participants won't be 
away from their jobs for as long. And I look forward to having our US and EMEA 
community members interact more.

I was not involved in the selection of the venue for this year's Summit. I was 
disappointed to hear that we were starting a single global Summit in the US 
instead of in Europe. I know we looked at venues in multiple countries, and I 
think the selection came down to finding a hotel that could meet our needs 
within our budget. It is a challenge to find a venue for our size of 
conference: we are too big for most venues, but we are still too small for 
many hotels to want to give us as much space as we need for presentation 

It is unfortunate that it took us so long to make a decision and announce our 
plans. Our conferences have been so dynamic that it is a challenge to plan 
more than one year in advance; we want to see how the current year goes before 
making plans for the coming year. This year it also took us a long time to 
make a decision about what the goals are for the conference. If our goal is to 
close deals, then we didn't not succeed and shouldn't have a Summit. But 
everyone in the company recognizes the value in having a conference were all 
members of our community can assemble to interact with our team, learn about 
the product, and improve in their job functions. We had to make that decision 
before we could decide about one location or two.

I also feel that our team made a mistake in not communicating openly about our 
plans for the conference. I hope that this explanation serves to ameliorate 

I hope to see you at Alfresco Summit this year, and at the Order of the Bee 
conference as well.



On Wednesday, May 06, 2015 00:25:49 Boriss Mejias wrote:
> Hi bees,
> First of all, thanks a lot for the support. Not only on the list, but I
> have also received different emails confirming that this is a good idea.
> So, we have all the energy to carry on with it!!
> Now to some of the questions:
> Gab: Thumbs up for working together on these activities. Thanks for the
> immediate support. Regarding the target audience, just like Oksana said, we
> think it is going to be a bit of both audiences, with a stronger focus on
> 1: the developers and admins. This is at least how I see DevCon 2011 and
> 2012. Great technical presentations and discussions, with some interesting
> use cases that allow the technical people to see what are the problems the
> users are having.
> Torben: The value of working together with Alfresco Inc is very important,
> because we get in touch with Alfresco engineers that enrich our knowledge.
> It will be independent from Alfresco Inc in the sense that the community
> will be deciding the topics that will be presented and discussed. Regarding
> the software edition, thing about a free and open source event, where an
> open source application is presented, but it only runs on windoze and
> macosx. The platform where it runs is not open source, but the application
> itself is, and it can build a community around it. Would you prevent such
> project to be presented at a conference because the platform where it runs
> is not open source?
> Sam: They are not really stopping the Summit, but we feel they have killed
> what used to be DevCon, and they have taken a direction that doesn't meet
> the interest of the community. Thanks for the support.
> Cristina and Oksana: Yes, we need to start figuring out a lot of details of
> the logistic of the conference, but I think our most important focus should
> be content, and keep it low budget. FOSDEM is a good example to follow, but
> I'm looking at other initiatives as well to pick up ideas from different
> source. It's all in the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.
> That's it for now.
> I'll come back with more info, task, questions and answers soon.
> Reactions to become a volunteer and help with the organisations are clearly
> welcome
> cheers
> Boriss
> PS: [*] I forgot that I wanted to clarify that May the 25th, Towel Day, is
> far more important to me that May the 4th.
> On 5 May 2015 at 11:56, Oksana Kurysheva <okurysheva at itdhq.com> wrote:
> > Hi bees,
> > 
> > We can create a survey to select a place after we understand more
> > questions to figure out. As for me, I like the idea and I prefer Brussels.
> > It's good to have a venue for our first international community event. And
> > next year we can look at other places after we will understand do Alfresco
> > Inc and Alfresco partners ready to become sponsors and pay for a venue or
> > not.
> > 
> > A lot of things depend on will Alfresco and partners support us or not.
> > Will participation be free of charge or not? Will a sponsor pay for all
> > meals or should everybody pay for himself? etc... If we understand well
> > positioning and values of the event, get interesting agenda and work a lot
> > to organize and promote the event, then we can get more than 100
> > participants (especially if it is free). It's really a lot of work. And
> > it's a question does Boriss's employer ready to provide us a venue for
> > such
> > crowd of geeks or not, heh...
> > 
> > Gab,
> > 
> > > 1. the Developer Ecosystem (cross the Community or Enterprise boundary),
> > 
> > i.e. a very technical event which offers content to satisfy the Developer
> > persona?
> > 
> > > 2. the Alfresco Community members / users (so any aspect of Community,
> > 
> > including technical info but also case studies, sales / consulting system
> > integrator pitches, etc.)?
> > 
> > > 3. A bit of both?
> > 
> > I think we focus on both of them. But to be honest, I do not know any
> > "business users of Community Edition" who are really business users.
> > Usually developers and administrators participate in the community and can
> > participate in such event, so it's mostly the first point than the second.
> > In any case I don't think that anyone is interested in providing a
> > presentation about "How to use Alfresco and not pay to Alfresco Inc?". We
> > can have a track for business users, but it will be about use cases that
> > are common for both editions. // as I see that
> > 
> > Regards,
> > Oksana
> > 
> > ------------------------------
> > *From: *"Torben Lauritzen" <tl at magus.dk>
> > *To: *ootb-hive at xtreamlab.net
> > *Sent: *Tuesday, May 5, 2015 11:27:00 AM
> > *Subject: *Re: [OOTB-hive] May the 4th be with you! Announcement!
> > 
> > 
> > Hi All.
> > 
> > I think it is a great idea to organize an Alfresco Community Meeting, and
> > I would be happy to help!
> > 
> > But I would like it to be completely independent of the Alfresco company -
> > they are welcome to act as sponsors, but otherwise I think we should
> > emphasize that it is a Community meeting, encompassing both technical and
> > business issues related to Alfresco Community Edition.
> > 
> > Cheers,
> > Torben
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > On 05/05/2015, at 00.39, Gabriele Columbro <columbro at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > Hey Boriss,
> > 
> > I’d say yeah more than forking (WTF = What the Fork ;), I suggest working
> > together on these initiatives. Ole is quickly ramping up in his role and
> > would be able to work more with you on these initiatives from a Developer
> > standpoint (and with Richard from a Community standpoint).
> > 
> > Personally, I think it could be a good idea need to complement the Summit
> > with a more technical focused event, ideally in Europe, where our
> > technical
> > and developer footprint is very large. But might not be the necessarily
> > the
> > only solution: having a technical track at Alfresco days, where fresh
> > content can be delivered more often and more locally than on a yearly
> > cadence, seems also something we should be doing.
> > 
> > For us to better organize internally how to support these events, and to
> > help me better understand what problem are we trying to solve with this
> > initiative, I have a question: I have seen the Community / Technical
> > audience used interchangeably (e.g. it’s an “Alfresco Community Meeting”
> > but the main reason is that Alfresco Days provide "very little technical
> > value”, so I’d like to understand if your focus / interest / audience is:
> > 
> > 1. the Developer Ecosystem (cross the Community or Enterprise boundary),
> > i.e. a very technical event which offers content to satisfy the Developer
> > persona?
> > 2. the Alfresco Community members / users (so any aspect of Community,
> > including technical info but also case studies, sales / consulting system
> > integrator pitches, etc.)?
> > 3. A bit of both?
> > 
> > I know there is an overlap between the two potential audiences, but I do
> > think these audiences might have different problems and as mentioned above
> > might be addressed with multiple initiatives. Personally, I’d rather see
> > us
> > invest first on a Dev event first (but obviously I am biased :P) and then
> > on a Community event, or on an event which satisfies both purposes (in
> > which case though Alfresco Community Meeting might be not the best
> > naming).
> > 
> > Happy to follow up on a separate thread if we don’t want to highjack this
> > one :)
> > 
> > Thanks,
> > 
> > Gab
> > 
> > --
> > 
> > Gabriele Columbro
> > Sr. Product Manager, Core Platform / API, Alfresco Software
> > 
> > On May 4, 2015, at 5:54 PM, Boriss Mejias <tchorix at gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > Dear bees,
> > 
> > I'm not a fan of Star Wars[*], but May the 4th sounds like a good day for
> > announcement such as the following:
> > 
> > *We are organising the Alfresco Community Meeting!*
> > 
> > i.e., we are forking Alfresco Summit. May the fork be with you!
> > (Oh, I mentioned the "F" word. Sorry Richard)
> > 
> > Alfresco Inc. decided to organise a single global Summit. One of the main
> > argument is that "Alfresco Days" were good enough for a large amount of
> > customers that won't be able to travel to Summit. We feel that this is
> > terrible for the Alfresco Community, mostly because Alfresco Days are
> > sales
> > event, with very little technical value, and the community wants to
> > discuss
> > technical stuffs and shared their expertise.
> > 
> > We discussed the idea within the Board, and we all agreed that we should
> > organise a community event. Here are the main ideas:
> > 
> > *Goal*: Create an event where the Alfresco community can meet and share
> > their knowledge.
> > 
> > *When*: Either September 2015 or March 2016. We don't want to conflict
> > with the Alfresco Summit (Nov 2015). This is a reaction of the community
> > to
> > the direction the Summit is taken, but it is not a boycott. It's bringing
> > an event for the community, which can attend both events if they want to.
> > 
> > *Where*: There are three ideas: 1. Brussels, 2. Stockholm, 3, Malaga. The
> > reason why Brussels is first it's because I'm advancing on having a place
> > to host the event with the company I work for.
> > 
> > *What*: Technical talks, and a hackathon. Which means that we need A LOT
> > of volunteers to present and to filter the submissions. This is a CALL FOR
> > VOLUNTEERS! The more volunteers we have, the less work for each one.
> > 
> > *Who:* The Order of the Bee is the main driven force for the organisation
> > of the event. But it's an event organised by the community and for the
> > community. So, any community member outside the Order is welcome to help
> > and attend
> > 
> > *.*
> > *Sponsors: *We will have Honey, Nectar and Pollen sponsors, instead of
> > Platinum, Golden and Silver. This is of course an irrelevant joke, but we
> > hope to convince Alfresco Inc to give us some sponsoring, specially by
> > sending engineers to the event. So, don't abuse the "f" word :D.
> > 
> > That's it. Feedback, ideas, and volunteers are welcome!
> > 
> > Cheers
> > Bee Mejias.
> > aka Boriss
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