[clug-talk] InstallFest - changing the face of CLUG (long post)
kwong at csa-pdk.com
Thu Dec 6 10:07:36 PST 2007
Had a brief discussion at last nights meeting on the purpose of CLUG, getting more membership, get people more active, getting more people out to the meetings, Installfest and COSSFEST.
COSSFEST is a huge undertaking which can zap you of energy for a couple of months. It has always been technically successful but we have always lacked both the time and avenue to promote the event. The intro track has always been almost an after thought. (For a nube, enough to get started but not functional.)
InstallFest is not as a big undertaking but the attendance can vary from a few knowledgeable faces to a healthy group of Linux explorers. The outcome is a gamble. (For a nube, not enough to even to get started.)
General meetings - we have had dwindling numbers for years now and we face losing the gurus in the group if there isn't anything for them. We won't get new blood unless there is something for the nubes.
Draw yourself a pyramid with the nubes at the base and the gurus at the top. That means for some of us mere mortals, we are somewhere in the middle. If you are attending the regular meetings then you are probably interested in bring out people like Mad Dog, Linus, Aaron, etc. We can only do so if the base of the pyramid is health. By focusing on what we can provide to the general public, we will be able to more for the balance of the pyramid.
Change the face of InstallFest so that there is more structure. Instead of just dropping by and having the techies sit around all day - have 5*1.5 hr talks. Why use Linux and Open Source, installation of Linux, how to print and play multimedia (including codecs), etc. The whole idea is that the techs are only up for a couple of hours at a time, the subject matter is more or less standardize so that we are saying roughly the same thing, the topics are repetitive so that you don't need a huge amount of time for preparation and the whole thing is transferable - someone with peripheral knowledge would still be able to give the presentation in a pinch.
Charge a price of $15-$20 - not to make money but to have commitment from people who what to attend (nothing worse than to throw a party and have no one come - also a waste of good talent). Provide lunch and a t-shirt (good advertising for the group).
Minimize on administration - other than getting the ball rolling and determining content, there is little funding required, no large hall to book, just pick a date and roll with it. We can start small - maybe 4 days in a year and build up to once a month. Devry would be an ideal location with free parking. A single room would not be a logistical issue. Topics can be changed out to make things interesting.
Promotion is the bane of pulling off an event, especially when you don't have endless amounts of money. But you don't have to have a lot of money, just energy. For the size of CLUG, if members are willing to spend even 5-10 minutes of their normal schedule to post a poster in their office, school, library it would go a long ways. But we need to know way in advance what we want to do and when.
We also have to have mini-events that feed into InstallFest and InstallFest to COSSFEST. Tag along on not-for profits that have great coverage like the Calgary Public Library and do free one hour presentations on topics like Gimp, Open Office, etc. 1 in 10 will come to a InstallFest. 2 in 10 will come to our regular meetings. 4 in 10 will come out to COSSFEST. Another promotional opportunity is the Chamber of Commerce breakfast meetings for small business or the not for profit societies of which many are in a single building downtown.
This has been brewing in my mind for a while now and since COSSFEST is over and I had a bit of time to think, I know this is doable. Election platform - not really, I am considering not continuing on the exec (it isn't allot of hard work, but personally it takes too much time and not delivering the satisfaction of what I like to see in the community). Am I committed to Linux and Open Source -- yes, but as usual looking for the bang for the buck whether it is money or time.
I am sincerely hoping that people will jump on this thread and help flush this out. Is it the absolutely the solution - no, anything can be improved upon. I neither think that I am the smartest in the group nor the dumbest, but like many have the heart in the right place but still failing to find an avenue to turn it into something better.
For all of you that are looking at what's in it for me - absolutely nothing if that is the first thought and everything if it is successful. Informing begets adopters, adopters begets evangelists, evangelists begets decision makers -- all of which creates a better environment for both the community, the environment and CLUG. Like I have said to some of you before, it doesn't change things in my working lifetime, it will be a start in the right direction for my kids.
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