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Posts Tagged ‘ploneconf2009’

Plan Ahead So You Don’t Miss A Minute!

I’m getting really excited – Budapest is going to be an awesome Plone conference!! (if you haven’t yet, then go register – we need you there!)  You know how it’s going to be, right? Tons of awesome content, for three solid days, plus the trainings beforehand and the sprint afterwards. And that’s just the official program! So many conversations to catch up on and beers to be drunk…it takes a lot of energy! So, I recommend that everyone get stocked up on stimulants for the conference…in particular yerba mate!

Huh?

I’ve been totting my gourd and yerba to Plone events since I started going in 2005. It comes it incredibly handy, since it’s nice to be coherent at 8am, noon, 8pm…2am…Yerba mate is a tea traditional to South America’s Southern Cone (did you know we have a Plone group there?). It gives a “healthy energy”. It’s got caffeine (and other stimulants…or the legal variety!), but it also has loads of Vitamin C, B, magnesium, potassium.

Yerba mate is traditionally drunk out of a gourd that holds the tea and has a filter straw you sip out of. It’s a social drink, so goes great for conferences (you have to be careful drinking by yourself as you can get reaaaally wired!). It can be used in a French press if loose leaf and also comes in tea bags. It can be drunk hot or cold, bitter (natural) or sweet.

Let me at it!

I recommend you go with Guayaki as a provider. Their yerba is organic, fair trade, and shade grown (I’ve visited the farms, met farmers, and seen the whole process). Their company is able to preserve thousands of acres in the rainforest by the sale of yerba mate!

To sweeten the deal, I’m offering to help in 2 ways:

1.If you live outside the US, you may not be able to get it in time and it may be really expensive to ship to you anyway. I’ll have some extra space in my bag and will be able to use it to haul Guayaki mate to Plonistas (until I run out of space). If you are interested, leave a comment and let me know how much stuff you are getting so I can plan the space. First come, first served! Do this soon because it takes a while to get to me!!

2. I got a coupon for you :D. 10% off the whole order. Just click Guayaki to start exploring mate goodness.

  • If you want to go traditional, you will need a gourd (check out the 50% off sale on gourds!), bombilla (filter straw), and the loose leaf yerba mate
  • On the site, you can learn more by clicking “All About Mate” and get info on the tradition, ritual, and properties of mate.

Hope to see you soon – and bien mateado – in Budapest!

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This Sunday concludes the voting by Plone Foundation members for the venue of the 2009 Plone Conference, and I am sitting down to the proposals and a glass of wine so I can do a bit of web research. Having been to three Plone conferences now, I have an appreciation for the process and the Plonistas who make it happen somewhere in the world. I hope to use what conference organizing intuition I have gained over the years (been to way too many conferences in last 5 years…plus organized 3 local events of 250+ people) to place an intentional vote as a new foundation member. I am finding myself with some questions, and figure I would document my thinking about the proposals and hopefully find some more answers before I have to vote:)

In general, 2 solid proposals for the conference in October/November 2009. One for hosting the conference in Budapest, Hungary in a spot on the Buda side of the Danube River (literally looking over it) that is part of a large university. The other proposal is to host the conference in Barcelona Spain on the campus of a large university.

Let me first say that this is totally my subjective experience here and I have never been to either of these venues…I am taking the information given to me and trying to process it to make a choice. I can’t say that my interpretations of the proposals represent what was intended to be communicated…as such is the challenge with communication! Please be sure to read the proposals yourself!

Some items that made an impression on me:

Budget and Conference Management

Sounds like the Budapest team has a serious track record in event/conference organizing, and I appreciate that. Organizing conferences is a huge undertaking. Barcelona organizers also have experience in organizing (though all references seem to be “geek” conferences…I only state that because Plone conference is really the only one of those I go to!).

One important part of financing, apparently the university is willing to provide the cash upfront for organizing the event in Barcelona. That is huge and seems a bit understated in the proposal. One question I have for organizers there – what happens if you don’t come up with enough funds to pay back the funds from the university – what would conditions be? Not sure how Budapest would deal with financing the event (or if this is something the Foundation helps with), but that would be a question for the organizers there.

Team Barcelona – 20,000 Euros for t-shirts?! Perhaps you could outsource that to Hungary if you get the event and shave an order of magnitude off the cost.

Costs

Team Budapest definitely emphasizes the desire to keep costs low as a priority, though both conferences come in close in projected costs. Another cool thing about the Budapest proposal is they would actually be offering scholarships to attendees, especially from E. Europe area. One distinction, Barcelona proposes to have speakers be free, whereas in Budapest they would pay half the registration cost. Most of the costs will be outside registration anyway, so here are some notes on other items:

  • Airfare: Cheapest airfare today for both events from Atlanta, GA USA: Budapest US$725 (15 hrs, 1 stop) or Barcelona US$905 (25 hrs and 2 stops…yuk!) or US$1098 (12 hrs, 1 stop) or $1126 (direct, 10 hrs)
  • Hotel: From what I could tell, this is cheaper in Budapest (hope you get a nice hostel for 40 Euros per night in Barcelona!).
  • Taxi to airport: cost is equal for both places (note: one says “to” airport and the other “from”, which general are different prices…).
  • Burgernomics: The Big Mac Index suggests Hungary would be a cheaper place to eat rainforest-clearing-hormone-laden burgers, if you were so inclined.

Plone Community

Barcelona and the host university have a clear presence in the proposal – the university itself has over 100 Plone sites and 5 years of history in Plone! On the other hand, Budapest/E. Europe have the most to gain in terms of fueling the Plone community there. Tough call here…

Language and other travel issues

I can’t make heads or tails of magyar, but can only muddle through catalan (even though I speak castellano). The Barcelona proposal doesn’t really mention the issue of language for foreign travelers. Doesn’t seem I need a visa to visit either country, which is nice.

Location and Venue

I don’t know either of these places, and I think both would offer great experience, exploration, and sights. I get the impression that Barcelona is more in the middle of things, though I really can’t say because I don’t know either of the places.

The Barcelona proposal has better pictures of the venue, which make it seem like a very professional facility. I worry about acoustics in the big hall, and the picture from the Budapest conference makes it look like just has chairs set out in an enormous hall (sounds quality with 400 yacking plonistas??), though perhaps these pictures are from there too, which suggests a nicer facility.

I was surprised that both proposals referenced the time it would take to get from conference location to city centers (and other points), neither of them clarified by what means of transportation they assumed!

Muscle

Lots of heavy lifting involved in conference organizing! Barcelona has more people and potential support groups mentioned. Budapest has some seriously committed people (including OSI, which is ready to put cash on the table for scholarships), which is positive, but numbers are important.

Legacy

What will the impact be of holding our annual event in one of these 2 places? This is what I call the “legacy” of the conferece. In this area, I think our legacy would be much more interesting in Budapest, because (a) we fuel an emerging community, (b) the OSI’s funding of participants from the region is a great stimulus and (c) our economic impact is probably more notable in Eastern Europe.

Weather

Though not my highest priority, I do enjoy being outside, and hopefully the conference organizers will remember that to incorporate life outside the box into the conference :). In this regard, I have a feeling Barcelona, right on the Mediterranean, will be hard to beat. Sounds like Hungary is getting cool and gray this time of year.

Well, I don’t think I have settled anything for myself here…but getting closer. If this generates any response, hopefully I can wrap up a decision before the deadline :D.

Check out the proposals

Foundation members: please remember to vote!

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