[nycbug-talk] Student Discounts
chris at chrisclymer.com
Thu Oct 12 22:04:17 EDT 2006
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G. Rosamond wrote:
> Quoting Tim Allender <techneck at goldenpath.org>:
>> Practically all professional organizations have them. Certainly,
>> a "User Group" organization such as the New York City BSD User's
>> Group should as well.
> Know any groups, user or other, that charge $95 for a two day
> conference, including four meals and significant speakers from as
> far away as Latvia?
> I somehow doubt it.
> Name a conference, ANY conference, and you will find nothing close.
> I don't think it's useful to compare this to last year, if that's
> what you're doing.
Disclaimer: I'm an Ohio Linux Fest organizer.
Ohio Linux Fest has been free to attend every year, this year being
the 4th. We had around 1200 attendees this year, and have increased
attendance significantly every year. This year featured names such as
Jon Maddog Hall from Linux International, Chris Dibona from Google,
and Jeff Waugh from Gnome. Both speakers and attendees came from as
far away as Australia.
I would strongly argue that a large factor in the event's success has
been the decision to make it, and keep it, a free event. Its also
been kept to a single day, which means that many can, and do commute
there in the morning, and head back home at night. I myself attended
the first time 3 years ago only because a group of us could pile into
a car and attend so cheaply. I know of numerous college students who
came, and still come, for exactly the same reason.
How is such a big event free for the attendees? Sponsorship. IBM,
Novell, Digium, Red Hat, Astaro, Sybase, and scores of small
companies and personal sponsorships. The events cost is tens of
thousands of dollars, and with these donations the cost is able to be
kept at zero for anyone interested.
I offer this up only as proof that it can be done. The low cost has
driven attendance, which has made sponsorship more enticing for
sponsors, which helps make the event better, which drives more
attendance...one big positive feedback loop. This year we were able
to provide food, live penguins, and even free beer!
I attended NYC BSD Con last year and had a blast. Being unemployed at
the time, I made the decision to go largely because myself, and
several friends could come for $40 a piece. We drove there and back
from Ohio in a single day to avoid paying for a hotel.
Can I afford a hotel and the cost of your event this year? Yes. Is
what you're charging this year still an insanely reasonable price for
all that you are offering? Absolutely yes. But don't underestimate
the difference between "fair price" and "dirt cheap". Those students
scraping together cash to make the event are going to be your biggest
evangelists. They will bring back all of their friends the next year,
and may very well end up being valuable future contributors to your
event, or BSD projects in general.
In my mind, there is a big difference between community-driven events
like this, and Ohio Linux Fest, and events like Linux World or LISA.
What is your ultimate goal? If it is to evangelize BSD, than keeping
it cheap and getting more butts in seats is likely going to serve that
Thats my two cents. Its obviously too late to drastically rearrange
how your event is structured this year. Perhaps just keep this in
mind for next? I would happy to share what we've learned in putting
on Ohio Linux Fest. I'm a huge fan of what you guys are doing, and
I'd like to see as many people there as possible :D
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