Ubuntu Open Week - Exhibiting Ubuntu at Conferences - Joe Smith / NealBussett - Fri, May 1st, 2009

(01:00:00 PM) Yasumoto: will do, thanks jcastro
(01:00:07 PM) Yasumoto: Hello everyone, and welcome to our topic. Today we're going to be covering how to Exhibit Ubuntu at Conferences.
(01:00:22 PM) Yasumoto: This is mainly aimed at LoCos, since they are typically the groups that will be representing Ubuntu in the area.
(01:00:44 PM) Yasumoto: I'm Joe Smith, a member of the Ubuntu California team. I'm also a member of the Southern California Linux Expo's Community Relations committee, which is in charge of organizing the community groups that exhibit on the expo hall floor.
(01:01:10 PM) Yasumoto: Conferences are a great place to meet new people and get together with your friends to have a great time.
(01:01:37 PM) Yasumoto: A lot more local Open Source conferences are being organized, which is really nice, and they usually have a show floor to allow different groups to exhibit.
(01:01:57 PM) Yasumoto: Most of these have space for sponsors (typically companies that can pay to support the conference) and community groups.
(01:02:09 PM) dpm left the room (quit: "Ex-Chat").
(01:02:10 PM) Yasumoto: These are generally local volunteers, such as Fedora Ambassadors, LoCo teams, or other members of community projects.
(01:02:25 PM) Yasumoto: Most of these have space for sponsors (typically companies that can pay to support the conference) and community groups.
(01:02:36 PM) Yasumoto: These are generally local volunteers, such as Fedora Ambassadors, LoCo teams, or other members of community projects.
(01:02:48 PM) Yasumoto: These are generally local volunteers, such as Fedora Ambassadors, LoCo teams, or other members of community projects.
(01:02:55 PM) ***Flannel bumps the needle.
(01:03:21 PM) Yasumoto: So, any general questions about conferences?
(01:03:24 PM) Yasumoto: Flannel: thanks :)
(01:04:09 PM) Yasumoto: Attendees walk around the hall, looking for some cool conversation and schwag, which they usually find in abundance.
(01:04:19 PM) Yasumoto: Once you and your LoCo team hear about a conference that you all want to attend and work a booth at, you need to get in touch with the event organizers and register.
(01:04:40 PM) Yasumoto: You'll want to have someone take point on this. Look through the conference website for the person in charge of community groups, also know as dotOrgs (because they typically have websites such as openssh.org)
(01:04:56 PM) Yasumoto: Find the "How to apply as an exhibitor" section (such as this one for SCaLE http://scale7x.socallinuxexpo.org/conference-info/call-for-dotorg-exhibitors) and follow the steps.
(01:05:25 PM) Yasumoto: Be sure to CC any other group members that are working with you to set up the conference, and be sure to email the list regularly detailing your progress.
(01:05:48 PM) Yasumoto: Sometimes, it's good to just email even if it's just "I'm still waiting to hear back from them, but I'll send them a followup email in a few days just in case"
(01:05:57 PM) Yasumoto: This lets your group know that you've got the boring paperwork under control, which is something you don't want to be worrying about.
(01:06:17 PM) Yasumoto: Try to be helpful and respectful, but definitely ask them any questions you have, and don't be shy.
(01:06:51 PM) Yasumoto: If they ask you a question, or for more information, work with your group and get back to them in a reasonable amount of time.
(01:07:07 PM) Yasumoto: It's their job to help you out :)
(01:07:20 PM) Yasumoto: Once you've registered the team, you need to double check and make sure your members are taken care of.
(01:07:37 PM) Yasumoto: This generally includes both housing and conference registration.
(01:07:49 PM) Yasumoto: Most conferences give a certain number of passes to each exhibiting group, and get a list of names before the event so they know who to expect.
(01:08:01 PM) Yasumoto: This leads to figuring out who will volunteer, which I'll get to in a bit.
(01:08:18 PM) Yasumoto: Conferences usually are able to find a discounted group rate for the hotel, which is nice.
(01:08:28 PM) Yasumoto: It may not be the cheapest place to stay at, so for those on a budget, it's good to look around.
(01:08:44 PM) Yasumoto: Don't wait until the last minute! It's important to get your hotel booked as soon as possible.
(01:09:00 PM) Yasumoto: You' don't want to find out that the hotel rooms are filled, and you'll have to be at one that's across the city.
(01:09:18 PM) Yasumoto: So that's generally it for the conference-related work that you need to do beforehand.
(01:09:36 PM) Yasumoto: Any questions about registration, or preparation logistics?
(01:09:54 PM) Flannel: QUESTION:  Can any LoCo or ubuntu community member set up and exhibit or do you have to get permission to do that from someone?
(01:10:36 PM) Yasumoto: Surprisingly, I generally found the answer to be no, which I thought is pretty cool.
(01:10:58 PM) Flannel: Just make sure you're not duplicating effort
(01:11:03 PM) Yasumoto: The one catch is that you'll need to make sure that you don't have two groups trying to represent at one conference, which can be troublesome.
(01:11:32 PM) Yasumoto: If you've spent some time in your area, you should be pretty tied in with any Ubuntu community members, and you can coordinate.
(01:12:37 PM) Flannel: Grantbow> QUESTION: by "mail the list" do you mean the loco's own mail list?
(01:13:08 PM) Yasumoto: Yes, I did. That's actually shorthand for "the place your LoCo communicates with each other"
(01:13:37 PM) Yasumoto: mailing lists are usually ideal, as they can be read by people that aren't online when you send it out (unlike IRC), which is nice
(01:13:57 PM) Yasumoto: Alright, moving on
(01:14:05 PM) Yasumoto: In order to get your LoCo ready, it takes a bit more work :)
(01:14:19 PM) Yasumoto: This is where you need to focus on knowing your volunteers, setting up a schedule, and getting a list of things to bring.
(01:14:56 PM) Yasumoto: So your volunteers will be the members of your LoCo that want to participate.
(01:15:28 PM) Yasumoto: Conferences are a really great opportunity for people to all pitch in for an event that's usually a bit larger than normal ones.
(01:16:03 PM) Yasumoto: I've found that the team Wiki pages are a good way to organize who's going to help out.
(01:16:38 PM) Yasumoto: This is where you can set up a schedule, starting from when the conference's expo hall opens until it closes
(01:17:16 PM) Yasumoto: It's generally helpful to set up shifts of about two to three hours, as that gives people time to walk around and grab some food.
(01:17:47 PM) Yasumoto: I've found that most people like to hang out at the booth regardless, because there's a lot of energy and it's really fun :)
(01:18:33 PM) Yasumoto: You'll also want to set up a list of items you need to bring.
(01:18:41 PM) Yasumoto: For an example, I'll direct you guys to https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CaliforniaTeam/Projects/Scale7x
(01:18:41 PM) Flannel: Grantbow> QUESTION: Especially for smaller events, should organizers be prepared in the case that few others help out?
(01:19:04 PM) Yasumoto: Yes, definitely.
(01:19:32 PM) Yasumoto: There can be the case where certain people won't be able to make it, so you should have a few people around that can assist as needed.
(01:19:53 PM) Yasumoto: So on the wiki page, we have a list of stuff
(01:20:26 PM) Yasumoto: This stuff can be rather nebulous, and range from demo computers to snacks for the team
(01:21:21 PM) Yasumoto: For our booth at the Southern California Linux Expo, the conference provided a network drop and a power outlet, which made life easier on us.
(01:21:45 PM) Yasumoto: We also brought in some extra power strips and a mini linksys router, since we wanted to set up demo computers
(01:22:16 PM) Yasumoto: If people have computers (preferably laptops, since they're easier to carry!) to demo Ubuntu, that's great.
(01:22:46 PM) Yasumoto: Sometimes attendees may not be familiar with ubuntu, or even linux in general, so it's nice to have it there to let them explore :)
(01:23:22 PM) Yasumoto: That worked out for us, but the key is to ask your team what you guys want your booth to be.
(01:24:14 PM) Yasumoto: Once you guys get a list of what you'll need, that's when you can set up a table
(01:24:53 PM) Yasumoto: This'll let your team know what you still need, and help people check off what they can bring
(01:26:08 PM) Yasumoto: So once you have determined what you need, and the schedule for working the booth, it's time to get ready for the actual day
(01:26:56 PM) Yasumoto: About two weeks beforehand, you'll want to go through the list and prune out obscure/unpopular items
(01:27:20 PM) Yasumoto: You should do this as a team, if not at an in-person meeting, then IRC will work.
(01:28:03 PM) Yasumoto: It's also a good idea to touch base with the conference organizer, just to make sure everything's going as expected.
(01:29:38 PM) Yasumoto: Conferences usually have a setup time, which is when you should show up with all your gear and get it setup.
(01:30:34 PM) Yasumoto: Sometimes this is actually the day before the conference, which will allow you ample time to get things together (maybe even some time to head back and pick up anything you may have forgotten)
(01:31:16 PM) Yasumoto: Make sure that you're keeping tabs on your volunteers, you want to make sure that everyone's on time and bringing what you need.
(01:31:51 PM) Yasumoto: At set up, you've have an opportunity to chat with other exhibitors as they're setting up, and there's a lot of pent-up energy, since everyone's excited for the event to start.
(01:32:54 PM) Yasumoto: Some conferences start up the Expo Hall after their Keynote presentation, so if there are members that are interested in attending, you should feel free to check it out.
(01:33:24 PM) Yasumoto: After the keynote, the floodgates open, and people will make a mad dash to your booth :)
(01:33:42 PM) Yasumoto: This is when all the preparation starts to pay off.
(01:34:02 PM) Yasumoto: You'll meet a very wide array of people, from students to CIOs.
(01:34:25 PM) duanedesign: 5/quit
(01:34:29 PM) duanedesign left the room (quit: "leaving").
(01:34:29 PM) Yasumoto: It's generally best to be friendly and open, most people will have a question they want to know
(01:35:09 PM) Yasumoto: Don't worry if you don't know the answer off the top of your head, maybe another team member will know the answer, and you can help get them together to talk about the topic.
(01:35:35 PM) Yasumoto: Sometimes, if it's an obscure question or you're not sure, the best thing is to point them in the right direction, maybe telling them an IRC channel, for instance.
(01:36:55 PM) Yasumoto: It's usually helpful to read up on some topics beforehand, such as the latest Release Notes, the past few Ubuntu Weekly News, and maybe some general technology news sites.
(01:37:05 PM) Yasumoto: Any questions so far?
(01:37:14 PM) Flannel: rufong> QUESTION:where has your team been meeting IRL? (to plan for the conference)
(01:37:57 PM) Yasumoto: I'm a student at Chapman University, and it's pretty easy to meet up in one of the computer labs on campus, so that's been our default meeting place for a while.
(01:38:19 PM) Yasumoto: Restaurants are also a good place to meet up
(01:38:39 PM) Yasumoto: The important part is somewhere that has a warm and friendly atmosphere
(01:39:31 PM) Yasumoto: Oh, I think I misunderstood the question a bit.
(01:39:54 PM) Yasumoto: We haven't actually had any in-person planning meetings, we've done it all on IRC.
(01:40:40 PM) Yasumoto: Using a combination of our bi-weekly IRC meetings and the mailing list to communicate, and our wiki page for static lists has served us well.
(01:41:01 PM) Yasumoto: We're a little hindered in California because of the size of the state, it makes it difficult to get everyone together.
(01:41:04 PM) Flannel: Grantbow> QUESTION: which wiki pages have been most helpful to you in peparing for conferences?  such as https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ConferenceTopTips and https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoComputerFairHowto
(01:41:45 PM) Yasumoto: good question, I actually haven't seen the Fair howto before
(01:42:15 PM) Yasumoto: I think I skimmed those pages, but didn't really get much help from them. I'm planning on distilling a lot of the info from this talk into updating the wiki pages a bit.
(01:42:28 PM) Yasumoto: But there's also https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ConferenceAppearances
(01:42:52 PM) Yasumoto: Which is where you should list that your LoCo will be at the conference
(01:43:07 PM) Yasumoto: This is mainly a history, and also helps to prevent groups from stepping on each other's toes
(01:43:16 PM) Yasumoto: There's also https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuAtConferences
(01:43:42 PM) Yasumoto: Which has some information about some support from Canonical for LoCos at conferences, which is nice
(01:44:21 PM) Flannel: Alright, so.
(01:44:23 PM) Flannel: We've already learned a bit on how to set up and plan for a conference.
(01:44:31 PM) Flannel: But what do we want to plan for our booth?
(01:44:38 PM) Flannel: The purpose of the booth is to increase awareness and get the word out (and to have fun!)
(01:44:46 PM) Flannel: So we want to make sure whatever we plan fits those needs.
(01:44:56 PM) Flannel: Another thing to remember is you'll be dealing with hundreds of people over the course of the day,
(01:45:02 PM) Flannel: all of whom have different interests, needs, and levels of knowledge about Ubuntu (and linux).
(01:45:20 PM) Flannel: You need to make sure people are engaged, and information is available.
(01:45:30 PM) Flannel: How you do this is up to you, there's almost no wrong way to do it.
(01:45:43 PM) Flannel: What we always end up doing is fairly simple and straight forward:
(01:45:50 PM) Flannel: We have a few computers open to the public for people to play with,
(01:45:59 PM) Flannel: and we also have CDs to give out.
(01:46:08 PM) Flannel: (and then of course, we're around to talk with people)
(01:46:36 PM) Flannel: For actual schwag type stuff, we rely almost entirely on the LoCo conference pack from Canonical. ( https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuAtConferences )
(01:46:43 PM) Flannel: It provides an assortment of pens, flyers, stickers, and some t-shirts.
01:47:01 PM) Flannel: We usually give the shirts to people who will be working the booth.
(01:47:09 PM) Flannel: In the past we've also purchased a bunch of hats, so people working the booth have a distinguishing feature.
(01:47:21 PM) Flannel: One other thing we do is make nametags for everyone working the booth : http://www.nhaines.com/ubuntu/california/
(01:47:38 PM) Flannel: These will help people walking by know who to ask for information, and can provide a little more incentive for people to help out.
(01:47:57 PM) Flannel: Another thing we've found works well is the way we organize our booth.
(01:48:17 PM) Flannel: Many booths have two walls and a table in front, people sit behind the table and talk to you with the table littered with items.
(01:48:54 PM) Flannel: What we've been lucky enough to do, is to put our tables near the walls of our booth (we actually make a U, with the opening towards the aisle)
(01:49:08 PM) Flannel: and then we stand inside/in front of our booth, and talk to people.
(01:49:41 PM) Flannel: It provides a really welcoming atmosphere (and gives us a little more room)
(01:51:03 PM) Flannel: (We
(01:51:16 PM) Flannel: (we're seeing about getting you a picture of that, but in the meantime)
(01:51:56 PM) Flannel: Again, you want to make sure you're there to talk with a whole range of people.  And yes, some people will be there just to get a sticker or a CD, or whatever.
(01:52:28 PM) Flannel: Earlier we had a question about whether we do installfests at a conference.
(01:52:43 PM) Flannel: It wouldn't really be a good idea at the booth, since it'll be busy and there will be a lot of people around.
(01:53:11 PM) Flannel: If you have individuals who want to install, it might be best to take them aside and do it one-on-one
(01:53:34 PM) Flannel: The same goes, as we found last time, for bug jams
(01:54:02 PM) Flannel: We tried to do a bug jam (as part of Global Bug Jam) in a separate room from the expo, and it didn't turn out so well.
(01:54:16 PM) Flannel: People at conferences want to experience the conference, not do bugwork as we've found.
(01:54:44 PM) Flannel: We've only got five minutes left, and we haven't covered nearly as much as we hoped we would.
(01:54:55 PM) Yasumoto: Here's a picture of the booth from SCaLE6x: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanhaines/2353642188/
(01:55:31 PM) Flannel: I'm going to go ahead and open it up to questions.  And then touch base on a few more things while we wrap this up.
(01:56:01 PM) Flannel: In that image-We put demo computers on the yellow table, facing left (out), for people to play with.
(01:56:16 PM) Flannel: CDs-- We give out burned ones.  No one seems to have an issue with it.
(01:56:50 PM) Flannel: To make them look a little better, we've made some sleeves that we print and fold up, and slide the CDs into.
(01:56:54 PM) Flannel: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CaliforniaTeam/Projects/CDSleeves
(01:57:12 PM) Yasumoto: Having Yellow, Red, and Orange table cloths really helped the booth stand out, and were pretty cheap
(01:57:31 PM) Flannel: It basically hides our horrible handwriting on the CD itself, and provides some information on the CD itself (as opposed to a plastic jacket or whatever).
(01:58:03 PM) Flannel: We burn CDs at the conference, because it allows us to give people what they want (we get a lot of Edubuntu actually)
(01:58:28 PM) Flannel: We're currently writing software to faciliate this, make it almost hands-free.  But it's not working yet.
(01:58:46 PM) Flannel: We've found that with two burners, you can generally keep up with a conference.
(01:59:17 PM) Flannel: Anyway, we're running out of time.  We'd be more than happy to talk with you later if you have questions or comments or want to discuss things.
(01:59:42 PM) Flannel: genii> QUESTION: What do we do if our LoCo team seems inactive but we want to hold/participate in conferences?'
(02:00:13 PM) Flannel: We've successfully run a booth with four people, so if you can get a dedicated core group, you'll be fine.  (You can run it with two, but you don't really want to be there solid all day)
(02:00:19 PM) Flannel: Need to eat, etc.
(02:00:24 PM) nhaines: Make every attempt to contact your LoCo, but if that fails, gather some friends together and do it!
(02:00:35 PM) Yasumoto: Thanks a bunch for listening, get out there and Spread Ubuntu :)
(02:00:45 PM) Flannel: Again, thank you all for coming.  You can find us in #ubuntu-california among other places.

MeetingLogs/openweekJaunty/UbuntuExhibit (last edited 2009-05-01 18:04:00 by pool-70-16-48-183)