Here's the schedule:
- December 1, 2011: Call for proposals released
- January 1, 2012: Proposals due!
- January 2, 2011 - January 13, 2012: Plone Foundation review of proposals & due diligence with bid teams
- January 16-20, 2012: Plone community voting on qualified proposals
- January 23, 2012: Plone Conference 2012 location announced!
- Sometime in September-October, 2012: Plone Conference!
This document is the call for proposals to host Plone Conference 2012. This document contains some more specific guidance on the elements of a conference proposal, conference requirements, locations, and the schedule for the Plone Conference 2012 selection process.
Past Plone conferences have been held in Europe or North America, but we welcome and encourage bids from anywhere in the world.
For a detailed report from past Plone Conference organizers with lots of detail on logistics and organizing tips see:
- Jon Stahl's "lessons learned" document from Plone Conference 2006
- Astra Fowden's "An Organiser's View" document from Plone Conference 2010
- Matt Hamilton's "Plone Conference 2010 - The Numbers"
- Elizabeth Leddy's "Guide for organizing a Plone Conference"
Conference Vision and Goals
Plone conferences are the largest annual gathering of the worldwide Plone community. They are an opportunity for the vast and diverse Plone community to forge new relationships, catch up with old friends, learn from each other, and recharge the wellsprings of creativity and innovation that power the Plone community process.
A great Plone conference will offer useful and engaging presentations for a wide variety of attendees. As you develop your conference proposal, please pay special attention to:
- How you will attract site builders and integrators who are new to Plone.
- How you will reach out to both our "traditional" user segments (nonprofits/NGOs, educational, government, intranets), as well as to emerging customers (e.g., enterprise, corporate, publishing sites).
- How you will encourage presentations and plan events that are helpful and interesting for both programmers and non-programmers.
- How you can strive to keep the conference costs low enough for students and self-employed consultants/designers to attend.
Required elements of a Plone Conference hosting proposal
- Information about your proposed venue: capacity, rooms, multimedia facilities/support, etc.
- Plan for providing reliable wireless internet access for conference attendees.
- Information about logistics, accommodations, transportation, etc in and around your proposed location.
- How you plan to structure the conference and design the agenda, and how you will engage the Plone community in the process of creating the conference.
- Conference marketing plan.
- A complete conference budget, including all costs and revenue.
- About your team
- Key people who will lead your effort and staff the conference. Do you have enough people to do the grunt-work before and during the conference?
- Your team's history with and connection to the Plone community, including past Plone events you attended and have helped organize.
- Other past event organizing experience.
- Estimated cost per person for the conference - keep in mind that affordability is a key issue for many Plone community members. A good target is US$250-450/person.
Plone conference requirements
- Held between mid-September and mid-November
- Avoid scheduling conference events during major religious or national holidays. For example, Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holy days, sometimes falls in October. (Dates vary each year; check a calendar of religious holidays.)
- Venue must be able to accommodate 350-600 people.
- Venue must have plenary room capable of accommodating all attendees, plus breakout rooms for 2-3 tracks and informal gathering space.
- Reliable wireless access capable of accommodating all conference attendees simultaneously.
- Appropriate audio-visual support (e.g. sound, projectors, etc.)
- Venue located one hour or less from an international airport.
- Easy and affordable transportation between airport, conference venue and accommodations / food / nightlife. Conference attendees should not have to rent cars to get around.
- Snacks, coffee and lunch. (Breakfast is not a bad idea)
Suggested conference design
The Plone Foundation strongly encourages prospective conference organizers to include the following elements in their conference design:
- 3 days of conference time
- 1-2 days before the conference for training classes (past conferences have had 3-4 classes of 15-75 people)
- Rationale: Surveys of conference attendees has shown that inexpensive pre-conference training classes are a major selling point for the conference, especially among newer Plonistas. In the past few years, individuals such as Joel Burton and Steve McMahon have offered to organize pre-conference trainings, financially independent of the conference, but with some logistical & marketing support from conference organizers. The Plone Foundation strongly encourages prospective conference organizers to continue offering pre-conference training classes that are designed to appeal to a broad range of prospective conference attendees.
- 2-3 days of sprint time after the conference; a separate, inexpensive, nearby venue is fine. Past post-conference sprints have had 50-150 people. Plan to recruit an experienced Plone community member as a sprint leader/organizer.
- A plan for recording and streaming to the internet as many conference sessions as possible (see http://ploneconference2010.blip.tv/ for 2010 conference presentations). Fast turnaround of the videos is preferable to longer, higher-quality post production. Live streaming would win many fans!
- Conferences consume a great deal of energy and generate a lot of waste; we encourage you to consider and explain how you can "green" your conference by: providing recycling; avoiding disposables; using recycled materials; minimizing or eliminating paper handouts; avoiding low-quality mass-produced "swag"; serving locally-produced, organic food, etc.
How to submit a proposal
If you are considering submitting a proposal, please email the Plone Foundation board of directors at email@example.com. We'd like to hear from you early in the process so that we can offer advice and answer any questions you may have. We'll ask you to submit your final proposal via email in PDF or ODF format, to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Plone Foundation Board of Directors bears ultimate responsibility for awarding the conference to a bid team. In the past, we have weighed Plone community input very heavily in making that decision, and we plan to continue that tradition via an online vote of the membership. This year, the board will pre-qualify proposals to make sure they are complete and of high quality, and will present all qualified proposals to the community for voting.
The Plone Foundation will collect 15% of registration costs from the conference to fund ongoing Foundation and community work. This will be collected after the conference. Please make sure to incorporate this into your budget.
Please note that this is the per-person registration costs only, we do not collect any percentage of other income areas (such as sponsorship, etc.).
Please feel free to email the Plone Foundation board of directors with any questions. email@example.com!