[LGM] Pledgie results [was: LGM-organiser meet in Madrid]

Alexandre Prokoudine alexandre.prokoudine at gmail.com
Wed Apr 17 07:19:35 PDT 2013

On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 3:22 PM, ale rimoldi wrote:

> in my eyes the "proof" lies in how "well" the pledgie did: it has
> been spread in more channels but no significant results.

It couldn't do any better, but it has nothing to do with organizers' interest.

Here's some food for thoughts.

1) Flagship projects that are big parts of LGM lost momentum. They
don't move forward as fast as the public expects them to (except
Blender and, recently, Krita). Teams have 3-4 times as little
participants as they should, dev cycles for Inkscape and GIMP have
doubled. And given their stance towards paid development people simply
stopped feeling like giving money to teams is going to fix things (and
rightfully so).

2) The very same flagship projects don't participate in LGM as much as
they could or used to.

Case in point: Inkscape hasn't had team meetings at LGM since what
year? I'd say, 2010. Latest GIMP or Inkscape workshop was when? I'd
say 2011.

GIMP team also had nothing new to demonstrate this year. The Q/A
session would work a lot better if it was a kind of workshop where
people could come with laptops and ask questions about using tools or
accomplishing various tasks they have problems with. 7 team members
who were on stage (+ Jimmac, the 8th) would do a lot more good in a
workshop. Instead all that attendees got were answers to a couple of
popular questions, and two questions from audience, one of which
didn't make any sense whatsoever.

3) The way LGM is marketed doesn't explain how exactly users would
benefit from helping teams to meet. Best examples of getting stuff
done for mutual benefit of teams and users, like LensFun or
OpenRaster, are _years_ old. Stuff like the recent brushpack file
format thing would aid that, but LGM has no track record of spreading
the word about tangible results of the event. In fact, at some point
in the past LGM page in Wikipedia was on the verge of deletion due to
lack of verified information about its usefulness (there's some
special Wikipedia lingo for that, I just can't recall it).

4) The way information about the event is spread is far, far from
perfection. I extensively covered that in the "media planning" thread
back in December, however I didn't do as much work as I could myself.
Guilty as charged. I think Medialab did a nice job locally, but LGM
was barely promoted even in major open source media.

In fact, the "it has been spread in more channels but no significant
results" phrase alone explains the failure of Pledgie. It's never
about quantity. It's about quality and the context.

So there are things that are out of our control, but could be worked
around, and then there are things we certainly could do if we
organized our work differently.

OK, the bitching part is over :)

What can we actually do? For this Pledgie -- not much already. For the future?

1) Keep people updated about outcomes of the event. Think about what
you could do, how your own team benefited from participating in the
event, find a way to share it with a bigger audience. Look-up blog
posts about LGM from attendees and post a press-release with just
excerpts from blog posts.

Personally, I've one interview in the pipeline, one news item posted
(today) and some more stuff in plans. I'm also quite sure that Nathan
has something in the works.

The idea is that the conference is never over until you stop talking
about it. It's unrealistic to expect people to donate if you try
maintaining their interest at paying time only.

2) Plan the media campaign in advance. Talk to online magazines that
focus on open source and free software and find out if they are
interested in a cover story.

3) Talk to online communities about the way they could promote LGM and
ask them about workshops they would be interested in.

4) Ask attendees of LGM2013 for feedback: what was great, what sucked,
what should've happened and was completely missed by organizers. If I
get it right, you have emails of everyone who attended the conference
(or, at least, intended to). You can post a poll one the website, mail
them a link to it and ask for two minutes of their attention.

I guarantee you that even if 30 people answer the questions, you will
get a much better understanding how LGM went and what was really
missing. It's a bit late, because things like that are best done on
the last day of the event or at least within the next 1-2 days of it,
but it still could work if done fast.

If we end up with Montreal in 2014, we should expect lower attendance
overall and lower percentage of users. It would be worth thinking
about a few things:

1) Whether we should try to get more users and what we should do to
make that happen.

2) If we absolutely cannot get more users, then how exactly we should
market LGM to help the community understand that the event will have
tangible outcomes for the benefit of all.

That was a long read. Thanks for doing it.

Alexandre Prokoudine

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