[AUUG-Talk]: Re: AUUG: Time to pull the plug?

Enno Davids enno.davids at gmail.com
Wed Sep 20 14:10:29 EST 2006

On 9/20/06, David Newall <david.newall at auug.org.au> wrote:
> > VIC - unknown

meeting tonight, our usual 3rd wednesday of the month. We've been pretty
slack this year though having had only 2 other meetings than this. Not to
mention that our website is down (server failure) making chapter
communications more problematic. The past few years have been better with
few if any monthly meetings not taking place. Finding speakers for the
technical meetings remains a problem and enthusiasm for some of our other
activities (notably the pre-christmas go-karts) is essentially zero... i.e.
find something else to offer in its place.

> Thinking out aloud here: business managers cost, say, $60,000pa;
> conferences see around 200 attendees;  don't replace the business
> manager and the conference fee could therefore be reduced by $300.  Just
> back-of-the-envelope calculations, but you see where it could go.

I'm afraid the piece missing from the jigsaw here is that Liz was fairly
pro-active in soliciting financial support from the vendors. To the extent
that her employment at AUUG was always seen as a revenue-positive thing by
the boards of the past. Sure you're not paying her wage any more now, but
you unless you take some action to replace the missing income you may in
fact be worse off than before. Given that the volunteers currently replacing
Liz will likely not have the same time to devote to the task, some revenue
short-fall may in fact be inevitable. Ergos far from beong able to reduce
the cost per head, it would have to increase...

You might want to re-visit your conference numbers too. Its been a while
since an AUUG conference attracted 200 attendees. And whatever it attracts
you have subtract the speakers, all of whom get their conference attendance
for free. So maybe 120 attendees of whom say 40 not only don't earn you an
income but actively cost you extra seats at the dinner, sets of proceedings,

Quite frankly, the biggest money saver for future AUUG confderences lies in
our intent to go back to our technical conference roots. The biggest current
expenses come from using CBD hotels to host the conferences. That in the
past was driven by the need to accomodate the associated exhibiton and
various other things. If we're going back to our roots we may well also go
back to using the much cheaper venues like the various University campuses
or University college facilities and see much more benefit there than
anything else we might do.

All in all, if you really want to play these what if games, you should sit
down with our treasurer or any past conference chair and think about costs
and income more formally. There are too many things that get missed
otherwise IMHO, robbing many of these public thought exercises of much

as ever, just my 2c...


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