YAPC::EU::2012, what I missed

YAPC::EU is over. It was a nice conference, but there were a couple of things I've missed. The first one is obvious: air conditioning. We had a too hot weather. I understand that Germany is used to cold, not hot. Nevertheless, next YAPC::EU users, remind that 300 or more people in a room, half with their laptops and gadgets turned on, produce a lot of heat. So, be sure at least the main room has a decent air conditioning system.

The second miss was Josette Garcia, from O'Reilly. This year's O'Reilly bank was a delusion. First, more than half the books were in German. This doesn't just limit the people that will buy a book to half, but it also shows lack of consideration for the remaining attendees. Also, the books that weren't in German, were the basic Perl books that most people have. Perl hackers like to learn other languages, like to read about other technologies. They even like to buy books not at all related to technology. I imagine Josette has a lot of work on every YAPC, with the amount and diversity of books, but I also imagine that she would have a higher revenue on sold books.

Finally, I missed the auction. Not sure about you people, but I don't look to YAPC's auction as just a mean to get money. It is a social event. Without the auction, and with my experience dealing with O'Reilly, I wonder how was the sponsorship. They usually don't give money, only books. If we didn't have an auction, how was the sponsorship? It is just strange. But that doesn't matter. I just missed the auction. Please, bring back the tradition.


Please... No! - the auction sucks the soul out of people... you are the first person in 5 or 6 years with something positive to say about it (and I've discussed it with quite a few people over that time).

For many years it has felt like a negative way to end the conference - everyone sitting there whilst someone trys to make an extra 5 EUR on yet another t-shirt or book (slight exaggeration, but not much).

Even when they try and do bigger items it's laborious and dull.

From what I understand there was lots of financial sponsorship so the money wasn't needed, if you want another social event then take everyone to the park for a picnic or another cafe or bar, but please please please lets not ever have another auction.

BTW, I though ending with MST's and then lightening talks was really positive, and makes me look forward to next year.

Completely agree - over the last few years the auction has changed from a bit of fun to a rather dreadful situation where everyone is basically just sitting around waiting for it to finish, which results in the conference ending on a low note rather than a high.

I really hope that we've seen the last of it.

> The second miss was Josette Garcia, from O'Reilly.

AFAIK Josetta is not allowed to attend German-speaking events (on behalf of O'Reilly) she's not working for O'Reilly Germany, which seems to be a semi-distinct business entity. So the fact that she wasn't there isn't a fault of the orgas, but of some DVD-country-code-like stupidity in O'Reilly's business setup.

> Finally, I missed the auction

I also miss the crazy auctions, where people collect insane amounts of money to decide on t-shirt "colors", haircuts, website languages, or PM meeting dates. I definitely do not miss wasting half an hour (or more) of cheap book/t-shirt selling. I don't know of any way to incorporate the crazyness back into YAPC::Europe, while keeping out the boring. But if somebody has an idea, please voice it!

I agree with Albie, I miss the auction. And more people missed (yes, Albie, we are not alone...)

Now, Ranguard, let me tell you something, there is no such thing as too much money when you are organising an YAPC::EU. I know it because I organised 2 of them.  Organising an YAPC::EU is not only organising the event, it doesn't need to stop there. With the money that is left you can give it to the community: you can sponsor other YAPCs and workshops, you can create scholarships, you cam even create official entities that support  the Perl community in your country (Portugal did that in 2005). So, an YAPC organiser needs to think about how the event can help the community, during and after it happens. 

About the auction, I missed it. It usually makes me smile and it's another social event were you can play some pranks to next years organisers. And you don't need to auction a thousand stuff, you can auction ten or twenty. That would shorten the time. And believe me, many people there buy stuff, just to give some money away to the community.  

So, I don't think that finishing the auction is a good idea. I think a better idea is see how to improved the auction quality. My idea is considering a limit number of objects to auction. Or maybe not, I'm open to hear more suggestions.

I also think that is something craziness missing. Actually, it might be my head, but it seamed that people were a little bit apart from each other. I mean, it seamed that new people didn't really mixed with the 'old gang'. But the hit didn't help people socialise. What do you (guys) think about that?

PS - I also missed air condition very much; Josette and a nice selection of books to buy.

In fact, Josette doesn't participate at events in Germany - it's just a basic agreement between our offices to share our work efficiently. Therefore we tried to organize another opportunity where YAPC participants can browse through our books. Since we at O'Reilly Germany don't have the resources to sell books personally at conferences - actually we are supporting 50+ conferences a year - we were looking for an experienced and professional bookstore that could realize a booth for us. Additionally, an independent bookstore is able to sell books of other publishers, too. For these reasons we've been really really happy to got one of the best stores of tech books in Germany to manage a booth - although we know that Josette is a very well-appreciated guest at conferences, especially YAPC, and can't simply be replaced. That's why our booth at YAPC 2012 was a bit different from YAPC 2011 and maybe 2013.

Corina Pahrmann / German O'Reilly office

I've got to agree with Alberto and estrucida regarding the auction. I (along with other folks, of course) organized the 2012 YAPC::Europe in Pisa, and what I can say is that we raised roughly Eur 3000 from the final auction, which we more or less donated to the 2013 Riga organizers promptly after the conference (and I'm sure that money was useful for them); these extra 3000 Euros also allowed us to still have some money to give back to YEF. The previous year, the organizers of the 2009 YAPC in Lisbon donated us several thousands Euros after their conference, which were VERY (and I mean VERY) useful for us (and I can't stop thanking those folks in Portugal): I can't tell (estrucida or Alberto can), but I'm sure the money raised with the auction was very important for them to allow such a big donation to next year's organizers.

Now to the auction itself. I think it became boring (at least in part) because it became too long: too many things to sell, no (or not applied) time limits for auctioning items, etc... besides that, the auction was really fun as it was crazy (like others said). I think we should really try to get some of that craziness back. Some random ideas are:

  • Don't do it on the final day of the conference: many people have to go to the airport etc, so it's better to end the conference not too late

  • Maybe do 2 short auction sessions (like 20 or 30 minutes) on the first and the second day of the conference

  • Auction only "fun & interesting" things, and leave the rest (books, ...) for a silent auction on a table in the hallway

  • Try not to have a single auctioneer: 3 or so per session would do - people would get less bored.

Michele 'arthas' Beltrame

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About Alberto Simões

user-pic I blog about Perl. D'uh!