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Re: Minutes: IRC Meeting 2014-09-17

On 09/27/2014 10:55 AM, Bernelle Verster wrote:
> Hi all
> I ended up having quite a hectic week - PhD review (went well :) ) and a
> presentation <http://indiebio.co.za/blog/rickety-bridge> that,
> predictably took way longer than planned, among other things, so I
> didn't get round to bugging venue people, apologies. Nattie and I need
> to chat a wee bit about this then we're good to go.

Congrats on the PhD review! And, awesome presentation. (I love it when
people play with the form in interesting ways.)

> I made contact with Georg and sent a sponsorship email to this list.
> I sent an email to my SiliconCape contacts, but no luck so far. I think
> I want to focus on the venues for the next week or so, and only think
> about sponsors after 7 October.
> Then, some general questions please:
>  1. Does Debian have a slogan? Trying to wrap my head about how to
>     'sell' Debian in a catchy way to sponsors who may not know why this
>     conference is so valuable. Graham came up with "Making free software
>     more accessible" Thoughts, opinions? Somehow being a free operating
>     system gives me a "so what" response; it's too broad.

Not really, though it's been tried:


I suspect we'd get more value out of a slogan for "DebConf in Cape
Town". It can be localized in ways that are more likely to grab
attention than simply describing the OS.

It's kind of an interesting position to be in, marketing-wise, because
large numbers of people in ZA know the Ubuntu distribution (even store
clerks and taxi drivers), but they don't know Debian, which is the base
of Ubuntu.

>  2. Related to this, when I was looking at the Debian history and alles,
>     I saw Richard Stallman has strong opinions
>     <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html>
>     regarding free vs open
>     <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman#Open_source_for_free_software>...
>     "Free software is a political movement; open source is a development
>     model." I suspect this may be a hornet's nest, perhaps, but we need
>     to consider this when we create our 'brand'. I'm thinking very much
>     along the line of growing the community here, and getting the right
>     start (my thoughts all still very fluffy)

Debian is made up of people on both sides of this coin, and a good
number of people who identify with both movements at the same time. So
the most important thing is to make sure we're inclusive and welcoming.
(I could go on at length about how the two movements never should have
separated in the first place, and how hard free software and open source
people are working to bring them back together, and how glad I am that
we're succeeding.)

>  3. Have anyone given thought to getting a conference organising company
>     to organise this? It is an extra cost, but is also less
>     time-consuming for us. My experience was that they're very
>     run-of-the-mill, but I am of a TEDx-mindset, more crazy and
>     creative, and it sounds like Debconf may be more conventional in
>     some ways.
>     More info: http://www.capetown.travel/content/page/event-organisers

The community-centered nature of DebConf is *incredibly* important. I'd
even go so far as saying it's the most important feature of the
conference. So, yeah, professional organizers would just never be able
to get that right. (I have nothing against professional organizers, I've
worked with many, but I know their limitations.) A few other factors are
that we run DebConf on a shoe-string budget, and our sponsors know this.
Trying to fund-raise to pay for professional organizers would put too
much stress on the fundraising team, and would strike the wrong note
with our sponsors. When extra funding is available, we have a strong
preference of using it to fund more developers to attend the event.
Also, if we pitched a bid for DebConf that said "We're planning to hire
professional organizers, and it will increase the budget by X amount."
the bid would be rejected pretty much instantly.

>  4. Would private schools be good potential venues? They also have
>     residences, and possibly good internet. e.g. SACS
>     <http://www.sacshigh.org.za/> (which has links to UCT, for example -
>     I'm thinking mainly internet and accommodation requirements here,
>     but also a nice summer camp vibe potentially?) Bridge house in
>     Franschhoek may be an 'off-site' candidate, but it seems the general
>     consensus is to stay central.

Might be worth checking out. I don't really have a good sense of what
these venues are like, so I can't say without looking at them.

It sounds like you've got a bit of a crunch for looking at venues, so
I'd start with the ones we've already identified as typical for DebConf,
and then branch out if it looks like we're not getting very far with those.

>  5. Is the CTICC <http://www.cticc.co.za/> an option? They're bloody
>     expensive though, is this a vibe we might be going for?

I've run 3000 person conferences in venues like this. But, yes, not the
vibe we're looking for with DebConf. And, also way too big. 200 people
is a reasonable estimate of what we can expect.

>  6. Is it too early to start thinking what high-profile speakers we
>     would like to host? This will be a potential sponsor draw-card as well.

Too early to reach out to them, certainly. But not too early to start a
list, even if only a mental list. :)


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