[AUUG-Talk]: AUUG2007 speakers [Why AUUG Conf. was once so successful]

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Fri Feb 9 14:28:36 EST 2007

Adrian Close wrote on 7/2/07 2:53 PM:
> On Wed, 7 Feb 2007, Arjen Lentz wrote:
>> Nor can one keep leaning on past accomplishments. What is happening NOW.
> <snip>

Sorry to go off-topic. I've never seen anyone discuss why AUUG
conferences were stellar-ly successful in the 80's/90's.
Both technically and financially.  Was the high point the one in
Melbourne [97?]. Approx. 10,000 attendances?

The idea here is "those who don't understand/learn history are doomed to
repeat it".
If we understand why past conf. were so big, then we can draw on those
strengths or look for current ones.
[Stop reading now if you are past navel gazing.]

80's success conditions:
* Only game in town
* Well connected, small community.  Very technical, very interested,
very motivated.  Very Good?
* A few good leaders, organisers.
* ACSnet email and Newsgroups
* Incorporated in good time and found a good event organiser that grew
with the business.

90's success conditions:
* New hardware, new vendors - lots of public interest in both. "IT" is
now 'wallpaper' and relatively boring.
    -> Trade show unlikely to flourish. CEBIT seems the only venue left.
    -> In the sixth-decade of computing, we are contemplating the *end*
of the Silicon Revolution by 2010
    -> Moore's Law for raw CPU speed changed in 2002. Commercial IT is
    => We have achieved a Commodity Market. iPod's are cool. Yet Another
Flaming PC/Box/... isn't.

* "Networking" - keeping up with new, cool stuff.
    -> The Web changes everything.
    -> Linux is *perceived* as "Where it is at" these days.
    -> Linux.conf.au is touted as one of the Big 3 global Linux
conf's... Hard to compete on that turf.

* "Networking" - meeting new people, catching up with old
    -> Nothing beats face-time!!!
    -> But you have to value it and know that it's happening.
       -> Letting students know about AUUG & other 'useful' User Groups
was behind the "Associations Day"
           I organised in 2003
<http://www.do.cse.unsw.edu.au/industry/market/>. The 2004 event run by the
          faculty staff alone was 'disappointing'
    -> This one effect, and the lack of active marketing to 'Gen. New'
are why AUUG has been the "usual suspects"
         for nearly a decade. [Counter proof welcomed!]
    -> Corollary: Early AUUG conf. were accessible to individuals [cheap
enough]. LCA still is.
        Running 'commercial prices' means either Corporate Sponsorship,
Speakers Freebie or Rich Indulgence attendees.
        How do you convince a PHB to stump up for a week + $K so you can
'catch up with mates' and 'make new friends'.
        It's not going to happen.

* Content, Content, Content. [like Real Estate: Position, ...]
    -> International 'Names'
    -> Broad and Deep. Technical, Management, Business, Proprietary
    -> Current Hot Issues.  Oracle vs Ingres TPC benchmarks, Security, ....

    Australia has a habit of "punching above it's weight" in certain
fields holds true for 'early Unix'.
    The reason we could get Big Names to Oz are twofold:
    - free trip and holiday in Exotic Location!
    - Direct, credible personal invitation.  John Lions, Piers Lauder,
others - _worked_ in 1173 (?) in Bell Labs.
       And from that "Dirac Number = 1" experience led lots more contact
and Oz being well respected

    AUUG cast a shadow much, much larger than you'd expect... Very well
known in the Tech Community.
    Many (all?) conferences were put together by a small, well connected
band. Just pleading for papers
    (and later whining about it) doesn't work.  Fronting up to people
and asking for something (specific)
    both flatters the author and get many more people...


Which leads to my question:
    Who do people know well enough to invite and not get an automatic

> Now, please, can I get some speaker/theme suggestions?  The
> debating-about-running-conference phase is over.  The
> suggesting-conference-content phase is on now.

Sorry for the diversion.  We now resume proper programming.

> Adrian.
> _______________________________________________
> Talk - The AUUG discussion list.
> Talk at auug.org.au
> http://www.auug.org.au/mailman/listinfo/talk

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://www.canb.auug.org.au/~sjenkin

More information about the Talk mailing list