Ubuntu Open Week - Running a FOSS Event - czajkowski - Mon, Nov 2, 2009

   1 [21:59] <czajkowski> Aloha, I'm Laura Czajkowski, I help to run the Ubuntu-ie (Ireland) LoCo. I started to run events 5 years ago at college for my computer society and have picked up some useful pieces of information which I've found helpful.
   2 [21:59] <czajkowski> So firstly different types of events need varied amounts of preparation and organising, I'm going to try and cover and give you a few examples. Check lists, how to advertise them and just some general advice from my past events.
   3 [22:00] <czajkowski> I'll go through some stuff and then take some questions.
   4 [22:00] <czajkowski> It can be hard to come up with new events
   5 [22:00] <czajkowski> and know what to run
   6 [22:00] <czajkowski> Types of events:
   7 [22:00] <czajkowski> Geeknics - Picnic for Geeks, take yourselves out of the server room and from behind the desk. This is great as it means your family and kids can come along and get more of a community spirit behind it. Pick a park get people to bring along food they can share, some parks you can have a BBQ, something different.
   8 [22:00] <czajkowski> We have a standard monthly meet up in the pub, it can be anywhere, called a Pint of the Day. Just meet up, bring along a laptop and show something off you've seen or demo a new feature, great time now that karmic is out. On our mailing list anyone can post posting a date and time and a venue to go for a random PotD which is great for visiting LoCos so they can meet up with us.
   9 [22:00] <czajkowski> Pub Quiz - to add a bit of fun to just going to the pub and make it a bit more geeky, you can have a lot of fun with this and come up with some crazy questions to out geek the person beside you.
  10 [22:00] <czajkowski> you can hav e great fun with the questions
  11 [22:01] <czajkowski> making them very geeky or just have some fun
  12 [22:01] <czajkowski> Mark Shuttleworth is also known as 'sabdfl', what does this abbreviation stand for?
  13 [22:01] <czajkowski> What does 'Ubuntu LoCo' stand for?
  14 [22:01] <czajkowski> Ubuntu Community's manager name is: _______ _______
  15 [22:01] <czajkowski> Demo/Small Talk - try and get a small room put aside, depending on size, libraries are great to offer a small reading room, and you could have lightning talks where members of the community pick a topic and just get up and give a 5 minuet talk  on it without the need for projectors
  16 [22:01] <czajkowski> Larger Events
  17 [22:01] <czajkowski> Barcamps -Would like to offer to help LoCos organise their own, I run and would like to offer this domain to LoCos to run their own and get lots of these happening throughout the year. Shall come back to this.
  18 [22:01] <czajkowski> Conferences - need to be sure you can get an audience to attend.
  19 [22:02] <czajkowski> Advertising the Event:
  20 [22:02] <czajkowski> So I've found the best way to get your event noticed, no matter how small or large it is, is to get the word out everywhere as many times as you can and in as many places. There are so many avenues for this so lots of choice and it might be an idea to give members of your community tasks to spread the work and also get them familiar with how to promote events.
  21 [22:02] <czajkowski> and twitter are great tools, if you have an # tag advertise this in advance so people know what to tag an event with or follow if they can't be there.
  22 [22:02] <czajkowski> Mailing list and IRC are 2 of the avenues I heavily use to let people know about our events as I've found them very useful. If there are similar groups in your area or members belong to other groups get them to drop an email about your event.
  23 [22:02] <czajkowski> Blogs - if you don't have access to getting your blog post up on the planet.Ubuntu ask someone would they post an article you've written. I'm sure others would like to hear about it and attend if they were holidaying or may even visit just for this event.
  24 [22:03] <czajkowski> Podcasts - they're popping up everywhere and there are a lot of them out there that look for content so why not talk to them and get some coverage for your event.
  25 [22:03] <czajkowski> is another site I help to maintain and it has all oss/foss events on it so do add yours there. We've made it easier to submit events, and we're still working on maps, and ical feeds for LoCos
  26 [22:03] <czajkowski> Media coverage - local and national papers, write to them and let them know what you are doing and why they should come and see what you guys are doing they may be interested, curious and only looking for an invitation to come along.
  27 [22:03] <czajkowski> you get to meet media, if you go to events, not just oss ones, web conferences are a great way to meet more people and make the connections, they'll also help spread the word on your event
  28 [22:04] <czajkowski> again this is just stuff I've come up with in the past
  29 [22:04] <czajkowski> the list is no where complete but it may help new locos or old ones get some ideas
  30 [22:04] <czajkowski>  
  31 [22:05] <czajkowski> How to find a venue:
  32 [22:05] <czajkowski>  
  33 [22:05] <czajkowski> Will depend on your event and also size of audience. If you're near a college, they are the best avenue for help, small classrooms and large rooms if needed. Plus the added larger bonus of usually having a good internet connection which is ideal for running global jam sessions. They also usually won't charge as they want their students to learn more. Offer to give a demo on bug triaging to the students to get the colle
  34 [22:05] <czajkowski>  
  35 [22:05] <czajkowski> Hotels may have function rooms these could be used for larger more formal days of talks, try and get these sponsored, point out X number of people in there for the day, and they will most likely eat and drink in there
  36 [22:05] <czajkowski>  
  37 [22:05] <czajkowski> don't be afraid to ask them to sponsor some food or drinks
  38 [22:05] <czajkowski> most will give you something, or at least a discount or deal
  39 [22:06] <czajkowski> I've written all of these down and will post afterwards if it helps.
  40 [22:06] <czajkowski> QUESTION: Who is a good point of contact when sending a note to the media to try and get coverage, what has worked for you?
  41 [22:07] <czajkowski> well I first try looking up the journalists in IT in maybe the newspapers or online jounrnals and getting a name
  42 [22:07] <czajkowski> if you have a name it's easier to follow up on and get feedback
  43 [22:07] <czajkowski> maybe they don't know about oss or you didn't give enough information in the opening letter to get their interest
  44 [22:08] <czajkowski>  
  45 [22:08] <czajkowski> What do to once it's been organised:
  46 [22:08] <czajkowski>  
  47 [22:08] <czajkowski> this is more of a check list
  48 [22:09] <czajkowski> if you['ve never ran a large event , don't worry, mistakes will happen, but as long as people have  agood day out, it'll be worth it
  49 [22:09] <czajkowski> Once you have the date and venue organised keep the reminders going, topic in irc channel, your loco website, create a wiki page for you events so you can keep track of them, and afterwards write up a list of things you would change or notes you've made from running the event.
  50 [22:09] <czajkowski> Remember all events can be improved on, there is no 1st event going to ever run 100% smoothly. Don't panic if something goes wrong. Have a back up plan, a back up speaker or someone you can rely on to get up and demo or talk about a topic if you need to fill a slot or while you wait on a speaker to arrive.
  51 [22:09] <czajkowski>  
  52 [22:09] <czajkowski> When running a larger event ( anything that involves more than going to the pub) things you need to do:
  53 [22:09] <czajkowski> like tonight I made a list
  54 [22:09] <czajkowski> it's what keeps me from going insane
  55 [22:09] <czajkowski> :)
  56 [22:09] <czajkowski> I'm a bit of a list fanatic, it's what works for me. Items get written down and crossed off literally! A new list is made and I work through what needs to be done. I like organising, that's me. I'm a tad bit obsessive about some things, I'll have my list done up, and saved somewhere online that I can check against to make sure things are being done, when they are done, they are moved elsewhere in the list to Completed 
  57 [22:10] <czajkowski> find something that works for you.
  58 [22:10] <czajkowski> o some simple check lists, they may seem very simple and common sense, but eh don't take simple things and common sense for granted when organising events!
  59 [22:10] <czajkowski> don't take on the whole event on your own
  60 [22:10] <czajkowski> we're a community
  61 [22:10] <czajkowski> lets put us to work and there will be members in your loco who excel at posters or writing articles
  62 [22:11] <czajkowski> uwe these people
  63 [22:11] <czajkowski> *use
  64 [22:11] <czajkowski>  Meet regularly! Email is not enough.
  65 [22:11] <czajkowski> Face to face meet ups are the only way, as you bounce ideas off one and another and come up with better ideas/solutions to problems.
  66 [22:11] <czajkowski> because in the past I've had the experience of this
  67 [22:11] <czajkowski> A useful tool I've learnt to do is if you do email people concerning the event, CC someone else on the committee so that if you get a date/time/venue or some detail off, there is hope that someone else will spot it and can be rectified, otherwise you could be organising something for September when the event locations organiser thinks it's in Augus
  68 [22:12] <czajkowski> which you can imagine leads to lots of heart failures :)
  69 [22:12] <czajkowski>  
  70 [22:12] <czajkowski> Advertise the event in as many locations as you can. Again depending on the event, but I would say hit colleges first, as many lectures, students may be interested, bonus if your conference is also located on the grounds, you can get college/staff mailing lists.
  71 [22:12] <czajkowski>  
  72 [22:12] <czajkowski> Final run up to the event, go through your check list, which should consist of a large Done/Completed list and there really should be no “To Do's ” left anywhere on it :)
  73 [22:12] <czajkowski> Have this done a week before hand to allow for things just cropping up!
  74 [22:13] <czajkowski> these would be for events other than pub/geeknics
  75 [22:13] <czajkowski>  
  76 [22:13] <czajkowski> Have the presenting laptop all set up with a separate login with all of the presentations on it.
  77 [22:13] <czajkowski>  
  78 [22:13] <czajkowski> Sticky point, dealing with speakers can sometimes be a lot of hassle, get all speakers to use the one laptop, it's set up and works with the projector. Unplugging and plugging in another one causes unnecessary time wasting for all those involved
  79 [22:13] <czajkowski>  
  80 [22:13] <czajkowski> Get all presentations a week in advance, I asked for them 2 days in advance and got all bar 2, one of which as the guy was travelling and I knew this. The other I got on the day of the event. In future I'd ask for them a week in advance, and if you don't get it, pull the person. Simple as, if one person can do it, so can everyone.
  81 [22:13] <czajkowski>  
  82 [22:14] <czajkowski> nothing worse than being in a talk and wanting to leave to go to the next one as it's run over
  83 [22:14] <czajkowski> Have a person sitting in the audience who will hold up a car with 10 minutes, 5 minutes and 1 minutes to go. It is necessary to keep time under control, and again some speakers will get the knickers in a twist at being told to shut up and get off the stage as the next speaker is due on.
  84 [22:14] <czajkowski> I've missed a few talks this way!
  85 [22:14] <czajkowski> If you are renting a venue give it back to the organisation the way you got it. It sounds simple, but you'd be amazed the way people leave their rubbish behind. Make sure everyone leaves with you, locks up and goes with you. If you leave folks behind you have no way of making sure the place is locked up and left in the correct order.
  86 [22:14] <czajkowski>  
  87 [22:14] <czajkowski> Sit back and enjoy the event. As I said, this is not a complete list, it's some thoughts and what's worked in the past for me, or I've learnt from the past events
  88 [22:14] <czajkowski> If anyone wants any help pm me or drop me an email I'll try and help and give you some feedback.
  89 [22:14] <czajkowski> If LoCos are interested I'd love to see happen.
  90 [22:15] <czajkowski> Sorry I know I covered a lot
  91 [22:15] <czajkowski> but ready if anyone has any questions
  92 [22:16] <czajkowski> I have found by going to other groups events they'll promote mine. so going to a php event , they'll send a mail to their list about our event
  93 [22:16] <czajkowski> < akgraner> QUESTION:  What are the best tips and who/what corporate groups do you tend to seek funding from 1st
  94 [22:16] <czajkowski> yeah this can be the tricky one
  95 [22:17] <czajkowski> I've found that again getting a name, rather than info@company name to be wise
  96 [22:17] <czajkowski> the HR department I've rang on ocassions and asked them who would be best to contact and I usally get marketing and they will usually be very helpful
  97 [22:17] <czajkowski> rashsystems> did not work for anyone else?
  98 [22:18] <czajkowski> so I'd like to offer to help LoCos run their own ossbarcamp
  99 [22:18] <czajkowski> the site is there
 100 [22:18] <czajkowski> and would be great to see say or take place
 101 [22:19] <czajkowski> I find if you name an event about a product/os it may not help when trying to get sponsorship
 102 [22:19] <czajkowski> the idea of getting presenters presentations before hand is to save time between switching pc's and set uo
 103 [22:19] <czajkowski> *up
 104 [22:19] <czajkowski> try and have them all on one desktop
 105 [22:19] <czajkowski> in a folder so they can just launch them
 106 [22:20] <czajkowski> 22:18 < aim1159> QUESTION: in russia we faced with the problem - people does not want to meet "unknown strangers" even if they do the same thing - wowing about ubuntu. How to deal  with such a problem?
 107 [22:20] <czajkowski> so how do you get people to come along
 108 [22:20] <czajkowski> we held out release party last week and a few showed up who'd never been active on irc or mailing lists
 109 [22:21] <czajkowski> they came because we did 2 events 1- dinner and 2 pub
 110 [22:21] <czajkowski> it's to try and find an event your loco will enjoy, not everyone wants to go to a pub
 111 [22:21] <czajkowski> so a pub quiz might be a way of getting people involved and also chatting to one another
 112 [22:21] <czajkowski> tonyyarusso> QUESTION:  Our latest event had a much worse male:female ratio than our group as a whole does.  Any idea why this may be and how to rectify it in the future?
 113 [22:22] <czajkowski> well that's going to depend on how many are active in your loco
 114 [22:22] <czajkowski> the event could be a deciding factor
 115 [22:22] <czajkowski> try to mix and match events
 116 [22:22] <czajkowski> don't stick to the same one
 117 [22:22] <czajkowski> try adn cater for your're loco
 118 [22:23] <czajkowski> I've started to use
 119 [22:23] <czajkowski> create a poll
 120 [22:23] <czajkowski> put up sugestions on events
 121 [22:23] <czajkowski> 1 geeknic
 122 [22:23] <czajkowski> 2 quiz
 123 [22:23] <czajkowski> 3 talk
 124 [22:23] <czajkowski> let your loco decide
 125 [22:23] <czajkowski> get them participating
 126 [22:23] <czajkowski> it also means more involvement
 127 [22:24] <czajkowski>  
 128 [22:25] <czajkowski> re sponsorship make sure you thank them after the event
 129 [22:25] <czajkowski> send them photos
 130 [22:25] <czajkowski> and a thank you card
 131 [22:25] <czajkowski> they'll remember that the next time or even be willing to approach you to sponsor you again
 132 [22:26] <czajkowski> 22:25 < akgraner> QUESTION:  Do you find if people have owner in planning the event then they are more likely to promote and encourage attendance?  So would handing out specific  tasks be useful?
 133 [22:26] <czajkowski> for me I like to orgnaise
 134 [22:26] <czajkowski> but I know the loco needs more than my skill set
 135 [22:26] <czajkowski> I cannot do everything
 136 [22:26] <czajkowski> there are others in the loco who can do other work and we need them
 137 [22:27] <czajkowski> so you really should be encouraging your members to step up and help
 138 [22:27] <czajkowski>  
 139 [22:27] <czajkowski> they may find it daunting, so I'd suggest pairing them up.  buddy system
 140 [22:28] <czajkowski> there is no such thing as a bad orgnaiser!!!
 141 [22:28] <czajkowski> you need attendees
 142 [22:28] <czajkowski> and with that they need to participate
 143 [22:28] <czajkowski> so try a few types
 144 [22:29] <czajkowski> simple non geeky event ye can do as a goup, go bowing/catch a game
 145 [22:29] <czajkowski> cinema - find a nerdy movie and go :) in costume
 146 [22:29] <czajkowski> loads of choices
 147 [22:29] <czajkowski> events dont have to be release partys the whole time :)
 148 [22:30] <czajkowski>  
 149 [22:31] <czajkowski> after an event ,ask you loco membembers what they'd change, date/venue/time
 150 [22:31] <czajkowski>   
 151 [22:32] <czajkowski> meant to say, when you're advertising your event, if you don't have your blog on the planet, ask someone to post your article for you, before and after the event, let others know what you['re doing, it give people ideas on what they can do too
 152 [22:33] <czajkowski>  
 153 [22:33] <czajkowski> many people have families and weekend times are hard to give up
 154 [22:33] <czajkowski> try holding events where families can come along
 155 [22:34] <czajkowski> our geeknics were a great success here, wives came along with the kids and met others
 156 [22:34] <czajkowski>  
 157 [22:34] <czajkowski> any other questions?
 158 [22:35] <czajkowski>  
 159 [22:35] <czajkowski> Are any locos planning any specific events, they'd like to ask for advice on?
 160 [22:35] <czajkowski>   
 161 [22:35] <czajkowski> < saffronlee> QUESTION: how do you make meetings more firendly for women?
 162 [22:37] <czajkowski> Well I'm a female and never really had an issue with events being friendly. But, perhaps not every male or female wants to go to a pub the whole time, so vary your event. Ask the members in your loco what they would like to do
 163 [22:38] <czajkowski>  
 164 [22:38] <czajkowski>  Michelle_Qimo> QUESTION:  Anything you've done that you would advise *against*?
 165 [22:38] <czajkowski> in 5 years doing this....
 166 [22:38] <czajkowski> a lot!
 167 [22:39] <czajkowski> don't go out the night before if I'm getting up at 8am to run  a conferenfce!!
 168 [22:39] <czajkowski>  
 169 [22:39] <czajkowski> double check the venue with the venue owners, don't rely on someone else saying it's done
 170 [22:39] <czajkowski> we lost a large venue and 3 speakers one year
 171 [22:40] <czajkowski>  
 172 [22:40] <czajkowski> Have boot up cds on standby in case the machines you're using fails
 173 [22:40] <czajkowski>  
 174 [22:41] <czajkowski>  < Michelle_Qimo> we're working on a spouses group down here - so all the wives/partners/etc. feel safe
 175 [22:41] <czajkowski> that's a great idea
 176 [22:42] <czajkowski> and it worked well when the wives/partnes came to geeknic they met fellow non techy people and enjoyed a nice afternoon - remember to inculde the extended loco
 177 [22:42] <czajkowski>   
 178 [22:42] <czajkowski> 2:41 < tonyyarusso> SUGGESTION:  If running an installfest, have a local mirror of the package repositories - much less waiting for downloads, more doing!  (Learned from the  difference between our Jaunty and Karmic events)
 179 [22:42] <czajkowski> great idea
 180 [22:43] <czajkowski> also if runing an event, make sure there are no planned outtages :~(
 181 [22:43] <czajkowski> ideally I like to run my events in a college
 182 [22:43] <czajkowski> great size rooms
 183 [22:43] <czajkowski> students to take part and become part of the loco
 184 [22:43] <czajkowski> great internet bandwidth
 185 [22:44] <czajkowski>  
 186 [22:44] <czajkowski> as I'd never done this before I didnt know what to expect  so I wrote it all up as I was afraid I'd not be able to explain it
 187 [22:45] <czajkowski>  
 188 [22:45] <czajkowski> I'll send a mail out later on with it also for loco members and also again offer if locos want to run an ossbarcamp
 189 [22:46] <czajkowski>  
 190 [22:47] <czajkowski> remember do  enjoy any event no matter how small or big,
 191 [22:47] <czajkowski> < tonyyarusso> QUESTION:  What forms of advertisement seem to have the best ROI?
 192 [22:47] <czajkowski> IRC
 193 [22:47] <czajkowski> Mailing lists
 194 [22:47] <czajkowski> blogs - my blog is on a few plannets
 195 [22:47] <czajkowski> and then I also poke the national papers
 196 [22:47] <czajkowski> and the online e-magazines
 197 [22:47] <czajkowski> somethimes they will cover events
 198 [22:47] <czajkowski> other times no
 199 [22:48] <czajkowski> but if I let them know about it, there is a higher chance
 200 [22:48] <czajkowski> I also mail all of the 3rd level colleges and let their IT departments know about an event and if they have a computer society
 201 [22:48] <czajkowski>  
 202 [22:48] <czajkowski> thats how I got involved in this.
 203 [22:49] <czajkowski> also
 204 [22:49] <czajkowski>
 205 [22:49] <czajkowski> has a lot of oss events on it
 206 [22:49] <czajkowski> postering hasn't worked as well as I thought it would have worked
 207 [22:49] <czajkowski> perhaps there are too many out there over here
 208 [22:49] <czajkowski> but again
 209 [22:50] <czajkowski> try it for your area
 210 [22:50] <czajkowski> podcasts are also good, local and international ones (ubuntu-uk podcast)
 211 [22:51] <czajkowski> think that's it folks
 212 [22:51] <czajkowski> thanks for coming :)
 213 [22:51] <czajkowski> link to notes

MeetingLogs/openweekKarmic/FOSSEvent (last edited 2009-11-03 04:23:04 by 99-21-107-94)