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

Nate Johnston openstacknate at gmail.com
Fri Feb 12 20:58:08 UTC 2016

A new contributor's point of view...

My first summit was Tokyo, so I have no comparison between how things are
and they way they used to be.  But by the end of Friday, I and the other
people I spoke to - both first-time participants and veterans - had the
same sentiment: we wished that the conference was restructured so that the
Design Summit was reordered or separated from the OpenStack Conference and
Expo section.

I felt this way because the Design Summit was placed at the rump end of the
Summit timeframe.  The days of the summit are such an intense firehose
directed at your brain that one of the pieces of advice given to new
attendees is to make sure to give yourself downtime so your brain can
process what you have seen.

Perhaps if the Design Summit was put first, when everyone was fresh, that
might show better results than having it afterwords, when cognitive fatigue
has set in?



On Sun, Feb 7, 2016 at 3:07 PM, Jay Pipes <jaypipes at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello all,
> tl;dr
> =====
> I have long thought that the OpenStack Summits have become too commercial
> and provide little value to the software engineers contributing to
> OpenStack.
> I propose the following:
> 1) Separate the design summits from the conferences
> 2) Hold only a single OpenStack conference per year
> 3) Return the design summit to being a low-key, low-cost working event
> details
> =======
> The design summits originally started out as working events. Developers
> got together in smallish rooms, arranged chairs in a fishbowl, and got to
> work planning and designing.
> With the OpenStack Summit growing more and more marketing- and
> sales-focused, the contributors attending the design summit are often
> unfocused. The precious little time that developers have to actually work
> on the next release planning is often interrupted or cut short by the large
> numbers of "suits" and salespeople at the conference event, many of which
> are peddling a product or pushing a corporate agenda.
> Many contributors submit talks to speak at the conference part of an
> OpenStack Summit because their company says it's the only way they will pay
> for them to attend the design summit. This is, IMHO, a terrible thing. The
> design summit is a *working* event. Companies that contribute to OpenStack
> projects should send their engineers to working events because that is
> where work is done, not so that their engineer can go give a talk about
> some vendor's agenda-item or newfangled product.
> Part of the reason that companies only send engineers who are giving a
> talk at the conference side is that the cost of attending the OpenStack
> Summit has become ludicrously expensive. Why have the events become so
> expensive? I can think of a few reasons:
> a) They are held every six months. I know of no other community or open
> source project that holds *conference-type* events every six months.
> b) They are held in extremely expensive hotels and conference centers
> because the number of attendees is so big.
> c) Because the conferences have become sales and marketing-focused events,
> companies shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for schwag, for rented
> event people, for food and beverage sponsorships, for keynote slots, for
> lavish and often ridiculous parties, and more. This cost means less money
> to send engineers to the design summit to do actual work.
> I would love to see the OpenStack contributor community take back the
> design summit to its original format and purpose and decouple it from the
> OpenStack Summit's conference portion.
> I believe the design summits should be organized by the OpenStack
> contributor community, not the OpenStack Foundation and its marketing and
> event planning staff. This will allow lower-cost venues to be chosen that
> meet the needs only of the small group of active contributors, not of huge
> masses of conference attendees. This will allow contributor companies to
> send *more* engineers to *more* design summits, which is something that
> really needs to happen if we are to grow our active contributor pool.
> Once this decoupling occurs, I think that the OpenStack Summit should be
> renamed to the OpenStack Conference and Expo to better fit its purpose and
> focus. This Conference and Expo event really should be held once a year, in
> my opinion, and continue to be run by the OpenStack Foundation.
> I, for one, would welcome events that have no conference check-in area, no
> evening parties with 2000 people, no keynote and powerpoint-as-a-service
> sessions, and no getting pulled into sales meetings.
> OK, there, I said it.
> Thoughts? Criticism? Support? Suggestions welcome.
> -jay
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