[OOTB-hive] Fwd: The "low rent" conference

Richard Esplin richard.esplin at alfresco.com
Thu May 7 00:21:29 BST 2015

Cool idea.

It can also reduce the effort to run it as an "un-conference". Instead of 
taking proposals and preparing presentations, there is a process at the start 
of the event for attendees to propose an idea to discuss in a specific slot. 
People who are interested in the topic go to that table and have the 
conversation. If no one shows up, then you go find someone else's topic. It is 
similar to a "Bird of a Feather" session.

I have really enjoyed the un-conferences I have attended, but I like prepared 
presentations too. I think the two ideas can be combined in a variety of ways.



On Thursday, May 07, 2015 00:31:48 Martin Cosgrave wrote:
> Here's the idea I was trying to articulate to the board a few days ago.
> I think it would be possible to do something without any sponsorship at all.
> I wouldn't preclude doing the big conference Boriss was talking about
> though. I suppose I'm thinking of this as more like a festival than a
> concert.
> A friend of mine runs this
> https://hacktionlab.org/hacktionlab/index.php/BarnCamp_2015 where
> participants pitch a tent on the farm and various talks and hacking
> happen in the barn. I'm not suggesting anything quite so literally
> "grass roots" but it's a great example of how you can get a lot of the
> important stuff done very cheaply.
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> Subject: 	The "low rent" conference
> Date: 	Mon, 04 May 2015 22:34:07 +0200
> From: 	Martin Cosgrave <martin at ocretail.com>
> To: 	xyz at orderofthebee.org <xyz at orderofthebee.org>
> So I realise you guys are used to all these big corporate conferences
> but Barna was the first one I had ever been to. It was really great but
> what struck me as the most important factor about it was the social
> connection. The talks were interesting and useful but the really great
> thing was to meet people you had only conversed with online. Or the
> other way, having met someone only once or twice at the conference meant
> you could now potentially forge a useful relationship online in a way
> that would have been otherwise impossible.
> So my thought is that the really expensive parts of a conference are not
> really necessary. I looked at the conference of the guys that make the
> xbmc (now kodi) media player. They had about 20 people in a cafeteria.
> Nonetheless they had guest speakers and a hackathon etc.
> In my mind I'm seeing a church hall or community hall or something like
> that; a large room with a stage at one end. At the far end of the room
> we have tables and chairs for a continuous hackathon for the whole
> period; the talks go on the stage, the coders may need to wear
> headphones to avoid the talks sapping their concentration but many are
> probably used to that. If you want to listen to a talk you can leave the
> hackathon and go to the stage end of the room.
> I suppose if we could get 2 rooms then it would be even better but I am
> trying to find the simplest possible thing here.
> Accommodation would have to be handled by the attendees; should be
> simple with things like booking.com but best to avoid times when other
> things are going on
> Food, I'm thinking that you would just talk to 2-3 local restaurants,
> get them to provide a menu that attendees can choose from and
> individuals choose their meals, orders get sent to the restaurants and
> delivered to the venue, hopefully all at roughly the same time.
> It strikes me as I write this that the reason nobody bothers with a
> low-rent setup like this is because generally companies pay for people
> to go to conferences like this. (Personally however my employers never
> did, and both my Summit attendances were freebies). Of course we could
> decide to charge several hundred euro per ticket to take advantage of
> that but then have the complexity of building a proper conference, like
> the one Boriss is (quite rightly) suggesting. But a cut price
> conference, perhaps 50€ to attend, plus your own food and accommodation
> costs, could be quite attractive to very many people, that is community
> edtion users, who could never get anyone to pay for them to go to summit
> proper.
> Anyway, that's the rough sketch; pick it apart, see what you think.

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