[openbeos] Re: Waltercon 07

  • From: "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 08:34:54 -0700

Hi Simon,

Simon Taylor wrote:
Hi Koki,

From: "Jorge G. Mare (a.k.a. Koki)" <koki@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: 2007/04/30 Mon PM 05:19:09 GMT
To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [openbeos] Re: Waltercon 07

Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, when organizing an event, you first think about what general goals you want to achieve with it, and then figure out what you need to do to pursue those goals. IOW, your goals for the event should determine it's content and tone, and not the other way around. This is critical to build perceived value beforehand, something that is in turn critical to attract potential attendees beyond the circle of regulars. So instead of taking a let's see what we can get approach, I think Haiku needs to set at least a general direction for WC first.

IMHO it's still too early in the lifecycle of the project for a professional, business-style 
conference. There is not much of interest - if representatives from software companies are 
interested in developing software for Haiku there is not a lot we could say to them besides 
"develop for BeOS, that dead operating system from about 6 years ago, as we use the same 
API". Attracting the wrong people too early with a professional-style conference will put them 
off attending when we do actually have a reasonable proposition for them - in the same way 
releasing "before it's ready" might put off casual users.

Who talked about a professional, business-style conference?

What *is* very useful work to the project right now is the activity that has 
been going on raising the awareness of Haiku - through events like SCaLE and 
the Google Tech Talk. That allows us to reach the interested-geek audience that 
is more than capable of looking to the web and finding more information about 
Haiku and BeOS.

Yes, definitely. But awareness alone does not work. Please, read below.

Those same interested-geeks will not really be attracted to any event on the 
basis of the talks on offer IMHO. Personally I would attend WC/BG/TLA for the 
opportunity to meet and chat to the people behind the code rather than on the 
basis of the program of presentations.

I think you misunderstand the basics of what I am proposing. The target audience for WC should not be based purely on geekiness; that's one aspect of your target profile, but not the only one, not even the most important one if you make expanding your developer base one of the key goals of WC (this is the premise of all I am saying).

If Haiku wants to leverage WC as a tool to grow it's developer base, then it has to target people beyond the usual existing developer base. Regardless of their geekiness, people not familiar with Haiku have different educational/informational needs and expectations from those regulars who have been around for years. Your program needs to include content that suits their needs if you even want to have a chance to attract such an audience. It's about building value that your potential target audience will find worth. Having the people behind the code is definitely a start (which is why, at least at this point, Europe is definitely a better place than the US for WC); but that alone is not compelling enough.

In marketing you talk about the process of awareness > understanding > acceptance, and how one thing will not work without the other. The awareness activities such as SCaLE, Google Tech Talk and others have to be followed by activities that pursue the understanding that can lead to acceptance among the audience that you were able to capture in your first step of the process. Acceptance is the *ultimate* goal, and if you don't pursue it, you have wasted your awareness effort for the most part. WalterCon can and should try to fulfill that important role of providing the understanding part as a way of converting awareness into acceptance. It is one of the most suited tool to do so, if its focused and planned that way (instead of planning it as a get together for the regulars).

A well structured program with the *right mix* of people plus educational, informational and some social activities *adequately and pervasively* articulated through the *right* channels can definitely grow your target audience. I have no doubt that geeks can find their way through documents on the internet; but I think you miss a fundamental point: attending a conference can give them the opportunity to absorb knowledge much faster and directly from the source; additionally, it gives them a chance to meet the people behind the code and to integrate into easily find their way into the community. It is that mix that counts, and if carefully planned and articulated, it definitely has the potential to give the desired results.

It's foolish to think that we have a proposition that will lead professional 
business people with no Haiku knowledge to fork out large sums of money to 
attend any event. It really doesn't matter what talks there are, how organised 
the event is, etc - the core problem is that Haiku is not ready for that 
audience yet. The people who will attend are those who care about the project 
(the core regulars) or interested people who happen to be nearby. Even with all 
the will, marketing budget, and time in the world I don't think that will 
change until Haiku has had a release and is a platform people can use to build 
3rd party stuff on top of.

Again, I think you totally misinterpreted what I wrote. Where did I say anything about professional business people?

Cheers,

Koki


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