Event report: CentOS Dojo, Brussels, Jan 31 2020

Wednesday , 5, February 2020 Leave a comment

CentOS Dojo, Brussels, January 31, 2020
Grant Place Marriott
Event details: https://wiki.centos.org/Events/Dojo/Brussels2020

Just the facts:

Registered: 125
Attended: Approx 110 (12% no-show)
13 sessions. Slides and video will be posted at the above address over the coming 2 weeks.

Event report:

We held the annual CentOS Dojo ahead of FOSDEM again this year. We were at the Grand Place Marriott for (I think) the 4th year. (Maybe 3rd?) This venue is always very helpful in supporting our event, and addressing problems as they arise. Recommend we keep doing it there for next year.

We “sold out” of our 125 tickets by 3 weeks before the event. Leading up to the event, I encourage registered attendees to cancel their tickets if they were not, in fact, attending, and I saw probably 30 cancelations, all *immediately* followed by new registrations. As a result, our no-show rate was very low. Note that the 110 attendees is an estimate based on an after-lunch count, and is *probably* low, as people came and left throughout the day.

I would consider running more tracks, except that getting talks for the event was exceptionally difficult this year. I’m not sure why that was, but I need to do more direct talk solicitation (ie, asking individuals to give specific talks) ahead of next year’s event.

We started the day with a session on CentOS Stream, which was standing room only, and generated some really good questions. People seem very interested in Stream, and seem to get the concept. Related: Facebook said, in their talk, that they are retiring CentOS 7 and moving their entire infra over to CentOS Stream. That’s *millions* of servers. So … wow.

We saw a huge spike in Twitter engagement on the 31st (roughly 9 times usual) fading a little on Saturday (roughly six times usual) and Sunday (about 3 times usual). Historically, we’ll see another spike as we start posting the slides and videos in the coming days.

During the course of the day, we arranged for upcoming CentOS Dojos at CERN (October 23rd) and Facebook (tentatively, April 24, which is *really* soon). Details coming to CentOS news channels near you hopefully by the end of this week.

We added a new feature this year - we had a room where attendees were encouraged to go to discuss their CentOS experiences with Karsten Wade. These conversations were confidential, and encouraged candid feedback about what was broken, what they’d like to see done in the coming year, challenges they face in the community, and so on. We hope to see some feedback from Karsten about this in the coming days.

Takeaways:

This event is definitely worth doing. The attendees tend to be the core of our project, and other deeply technical people using CentOS. The hallway track is always active, showing that people come as much for the interactions as for the technical content.

The struggle to find content, though, is troubling, and something that we need to work on throughout the year, rather than just during the CFP. My impression is that people don’t think that what they’re working on is of general interest. However, feedback from actual talks is that our audience really wants to see the every day stuff (here’s how I made my life easier on a normal day at work) is every bit as interesting as the cutting edge talks (here’s a fancy new thing that might be useful to you 2 years from now). So, reminder to self: Solicit these talks all year long, as you see interesting *practical* things being discussed on the lists, not just the shiny new stuff.

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