[openstack-dev] [all][tc] Proposal: Separate design summits from OpenStack conferences

James Bottomley James.Bottomley at HansenPartnership.com
Mon Feb 8 16:56:45 UTC 2016

On Mon, 2016-02-08 at 09:43 -0500, Jay Pipes wrote:
> On 02/08/2016 09:03 AM, Fausto Marzi wrote:
> > The OpenStack Summit is a great thing as it is now. It creates big
> > momentum, it's a strong motivator for the engineers (as enjoy our
> > time
> > there)
> I disagree with you on this. The design summits are intended to be 
> working events, not conference parties.

Having chaired and helped organise the Linux Plumbers conference for
the last 8 years, I don't agree with this.  Agreeable social events are
actually part of the conference process.  Someone who didn't dare
contradict the expert in a high pressure lecture room environment may
feel more confident to have a quiet discussion of their ideas over a
beer/wine at a social event.

Part of the function of a conference in a remote community is to let
people meet each other and get to know the person on the other end of
the fairly impersonal web id.  It also helps defuse community squabbles
and hostility: it's easier to be nasty to someone you've never met and
who your only interaction with is via a ritual communication mechanism.

>  > and the Companies are happy too with the business related side. I
> > see it also as the most successful Team building activity,
> > Community and
> > Company wide.
> This isn't the intent of design summits. It's not intended to be a 
> company team building event.

Hey, if that's how you have to sell it to your boss ...

>  > For Companies, the costs to send engineers to the Summit
> > or to a dedicated Design event are exactly the same.
> This is absolutely not the case. Sending engineers to expensive 
> conference hotels for a full week or more is more expensive than 
> sending engineers to small hotels in smaller cities for shorter 
> amounts of focused time.

How real is this?  Vancouver was a really expensive place, but a lot of
people who were deeply concerned about cost managed to find cheaper
hotels even there.  You can always (or usually) find the option for the
cost conscious if you look.  One of the advantages of large hub cities
is cheaper airfafe, which is usually a slightly more significant
component than accommodation.  Once you start looking at "smaller"
cities with only a couple of airlines serving them, you'll find the
travel costs sky rocket.

>  > Besides, many Companies send US based employees only to the US
> Summit, and EU
> > based only to the other side. The OpenStack Summit is probably the 
> > most advanced and successful OpenSource event, if you take out of 
> > it the engineering side, it won't be the same.
> I don't see the OpenStack Summit as being an advanced event. It has 
> become a vendor-driven suit-fest, IMHO.

Well, if we disdain its content and pull all the engineers away, that's
certainly a self fulfilling prophecy.  Why not make it our mission to
try and give a more technical talk at the OpenStack summit itself?  I
have ... I think most of the audience actually enjoyed it even if there
were a few suit types who found themselves in the wrong session.  The
design summits are very strictly focussed.  It's actually harder to
give more general technical talks there than it is at the summit
because of the severity of focus.

> > I think, the issue here is that we need to have a better and more
> > productive way to work together. Probably the motivation behind a
> > separate design summit and also this discussion is focused to 
> > improve that, as we see that face to face is effective. Maybe this 
> > is the limitation we need to resolve, rather than changing an 
> > amazing event.
> All I want is to be more productive. In my estimation, the Summits 
> have become vastly less productive than they used to be. Mid-cycles 
> are generally much more productive and much more cost-effective 
> because they don't have the distraction of the Summit party
> atmosphere.

"... because thou art virtuous, there should be no more cakes and ale?"
... you're implying that we all party and forget work because of a
"party atmosphere".  This doesn't accord with my experiences at all.  I
may be less usual than most, but Vancouver was a foodie town ... I
spent all the evenings out to dinner with people I don't normally meet
... I skipped every party including the super special VIP ones (which,
admittedly, I'd intended to go to).  Tokyo was about the same because I
had a lot of people to say "hello" to and it's fun going out for a
Japanese experience.  People who go to the summit to party probably
aren't going to make much of a contribution in a separated design
summit anyway and people who don't can do just as well in either

> As someone who is responsible for recommending which Mirantis
> engineers go to which events, I strongly favor sending more engineers
> to more focused events at the expense of sending fewer engineers to
> the expensive and unfocused OpenStack Summits.

As long as they mostly go to the associated design summit they're going
to a focussed event.


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