[maemo-community] Organizing Maemo Summit 2009

From: Quim Gil quim.gil at nokia.com
Date: Fri Feb 13 11:17:08 EET 2009

ext Sebastian 'CrashandDie' Lauwers wrote:
> The way I see it, is that Nokians who are on the Maemo project
> can actually commit time to managing this. The time constraint on
> these kind of events is a lot more important. I can't take an
> afternoon off to call venues. And they don't like working on weekends.

Another way to see this is that precisely Nokia employees are busy and
perhaps a liberated community member is much better to coordinate a
community event.

I coordinated the first Summit and in that case it was (imo) important
to have a core Nokia guy there to set the path and the style, getting
the company committed at the same time. I'm happy getting involved this
time as well, and it's part of my role to do this but as full time
coordinator again...

> The other thing is that Nokia has the administrative platform to
> actually support these kind of operations, which is something Maemo
> does not. I'm not saying we can't manage a budget, I'm just saying
> that having people crunching through the numbers and approving it will
> be easier if Nokia remains in the picture. I wouldn't mind seeing
> budget proposals going through in both directions.

Nokia has a good platform to handle big payments and arrange corporate
travel and accommodation. But it is less prepared for handling dozens of
"small" payments (non-carrier cheap flights, affordable accommodation in
hostels and non-concerted hotel chains...) Actually a big % of my time
was invested dealing with those things. Now imagine that we would agree
a single payment of €€€ to [local organizer] and they would handle all
this + invoicing for the extra work.

>> Do you expect just the same this year or would you prefer to have a
>> community driven committee (with people from Nokia volunteering but not
>> deciding alone) that would agree the sponsorship fund with Nokia and go
>> away with the execution?
> Again, I don't know if anyone would dare taking on such a
> responsibility. Also, even though the idea displays how much you (as a
> Quim, the human, not Nokia) trust the community, I'm not sure Nokia,
> as a corporate entity, would assign the same level of trust.

In practice (and simplifying) how this works is that Nokia trusts me to
organize a Maemo Summit and then it is up to me to organize my trust on
the community.

For instance, if Niels and Kees agree recommending a venue in Amsterdam,
the local org sounds confident after a first chat/visit, Dave agrees
taking the role of coordinator, the community thinks it's a good plan
and Peter (my manager) nods, I will consider that we are 49% done.

Actually this was more or less the schema of things that lead us to
Berlin and c-base.

> If the
> community and Nokia can achieve a consensus on budgeting, execution
> should follow suit smoothly. I do not wish to see money go through
> anyone's hands in the community. Nokia's budget should go directly to
> the end-entity payees, eg hotels/venues. Sponsoring indivials is
> another problem.

And a big problem that can go easily above 50% of the budget. I wish
Nokia would handle the big & critical funds guaranteeing free entrance
(location, equipment, wlan and perhaps even some food and night life)
and then make a one time donation to cover the sponsored participants
and whatever else going in the low amounts (e.g. when organizing GUADEC
I had to find out in the last minute where to rent a drum set).

> Talking about this other problem, by the way, I noticed last time that
> a few people were having expenses reimbursement issues. Now, in my
> company, the employee pays for everything (excepted travel, which is
> done booked/paid by our assistant/company credit card), and then
> submit expense reports which need approval, they then get reimbursed
> on a date at the discretion of our administrative people. I also
> understand some people were having a hard time paying for the expenses
> first, and waiting for reimbursement. As most sponsored people will
> not be Nokians, I think it is only fair to assume that we should try
> to polish this procedure just a bit.

Sure, my priority as well.

> Do you think it is possible to have Nokia book/pay for travels
> beforehand, as this would take away a big chunk of the money people
> will have to produce? Same idea for hotels. This will also allow for
> more fine-grained bookings, and even better, maybe even get reductions
> (if Nokia books 20 people in a hotel for 5 nights, it's a lot easier
> to ask for a %). This does raise an issue though. If someone got
> sponsorship but couldn't make it, Nokia didn't incur any costs,
> whereas in this scenario, money would be plainly wasted.

Nokia paid travels beforehand to those having no other choice than
flying through regular carriers (mainly the intercontinental flights)
since Kaleva Travel could handle those. But using the travel agent for
many European flights would have been a lot more expensive, since they
can't work with Ryanair and etc.

Same for accommodation, no problem if we want to send people to
concerted **** hotels or make a big single package anywhere else, but
the travel agency has no way to deal with scattered people landing in
all kinds of cheap accommodation.

>> In any case I think you care about how much money we spent sponsoring or
>> paying food, chairs, and etc since from a Nokia point of view all comes
>> from a same intial budget agreed. If we agree on 100€ then someone (not
>> Nokia) will need to decide whether 10% or 90% goes to sponsor people.
> Agreed. I think Nokia should still have a say, and possibly give
> unformal approval of how the budget will be managed (I think Nokia
> will always have an opinion, we could get a luxurious hotel and
> sponsor 3 guys, or sleep in the streets and cause an immigration
> problem, and that opinion should be heard). But yes indeed, I think it
> would be very interesting to see some figures, only to have a very
> rough overview of what needs to be done, and what kind of decisions we
> are talking about.

Following the good practices followed by community projects like the
GNOME Foundation, I'm happy talking about budget plans in a somewhat
private context (e.g. with the Council or an organization committee) but
I don't feel comfortable discussing about money in a public mailing list.

Quim Gil
open source advocate
Maemo Software @ Nokia

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