and maintainer of:
I have written to a lot of sponsors and I have written to a lot of speakers, I have spoken to a lot of fellow mongers. It struck me I had really not given much thought to as why I was involved in the organization of the workshop, I am simply too deeply dug in.
I am not completely satisfied with the communication of the NPW and its intent, so I kind of started to formulate a better presentation of the whole concept, but this proved to be harder than expected, so I thought I would scribble down the history and the motivation that drove me in the past and up to now, the organizing of the 5th. Nordic Perl Workshop.
The first workshop we did it back in 2003, we did to kind of put ourselves on the monger map, we had attended the YAPC::Europe in Münich in 2002 and we had seen the German Workshops announced. We talked about it, we wanted to host YAPC::Europe one day, so we thought we would do a workshop, to sort of prepare the ground.
Ambitiously we announced that we wanted to invite our fellow mongers in Scandinavia to host the NPW (SPW at the time) in their respective countries, since all our countries are small, a the number of Perl users not as large as one could wish. The first workshop was a success, we actually had a lot of attendees from Sweden. The workshop was not a success financially, but we where covered and we learned a lot and we had a good time.
At the YAPC::Europe in Paris in 2003, we had handed in a proposal, but Belfast won the bid. I was somewhat bitter for 5 minutes, but I always enjoy going to YAPCs and I wanted to go to Belfast never having been there, so bitterness was over before it really set in.
In 2004 we organized the second workshop, we had done it once and we wanted to repeat the success. The workhop turned out super, the financial outcome was good, many sponsors compared to the first workshop. We covered the losses from the year before and the speakers really contributed, especially what seemed like the complete Fotango attending.
The name had changed from SPW to NPW in order to adapt the other countries in the Nordic region, mostly by request from some Finish Perl people, from who we have not heard since, I think they are busy with something else.
The year following this, was a bad year for the Copenhagen Perl Mongers, nothing of interest happended, no initiative, so we did not apply for YAPC::Europe this year.
Claes from Stockholm took it on his sholders to organize the NPW in Stockholm. Some of us travelled to Stockholm to help out with the organizing, the Workshop Howto was born after I had wanted to write it for two years.
The Workshop in Stockholm was very low-key, but still is one of the best NPWs I have attended, it was very intimate and you got to talk to everybody, this NPW will always seem special to me in more than one way.
We picked up on some of the rumours and saw what Birmingham was doing, so we skipped applying for the YAPC::Europe hosting. Birmingham had put much work into it and really deserved it, we could not and would not compete with that.
At YAPC::Europe in Braga we met with a lot of Norwegian Perl Mongers and we convinced them to do the Nordic Perl Workshop in Oslo.
The workshop in Oslo was magnificent, the largest turn-up in NPW history, the venue was cool, the weather was good and I had a good time talking to all the people whom I had med at previous NPWs, YAPCs and even new people from around the world.
So now we are organizing the 5th. Nordic Perl Workshop, Copenhagen Perl Mongers are back in the seat as organizers after a 2 year break.
So what has changed since we first set out.
We have had some cool workshops, they have more or less resembled YAPCs, though at a lower scale, with having Stockholm standing out as the one being the least YAPC like.
I am very much for not doing mini-conferences and more workshops, I have not attended any workshops apart for the NPWs, which would probably be a good idea. But I actually think we have the concept pretty much in place.
So what is the concept?
Well I would veery much like the workshops to be a bit less YAPC, more social, more grass root and more hands on.
Copenhagen Perl Mongers pretty much has the infrastructure and the logistics in place. So things are running quite smoothly. So we want to provide the framework for this workshop to take place.
So the sponsors are making it possible via sponsoring the speakers and the speakers are delivering the content.
The business-case is set up in such a way that people are paying for themselves (food/drink/t-shirts), using a variation of tickets, we are able to cover the expenses of regarding the speakers as attendees (food/drink/t-shirts).
So just having attendees could actually make a workshop financially, but who would attend a workshop without speakers?
So sponsors are important, we need them to get speakers. I have made an ambitous goal of raising 50.000 DKK, I do not know whether this is possible at all. I have written a number of people/speakers, who I know can deliver some good content and can bring something else to our workshop.
So I want to make it understandable to the sponsors that we cannot give them exposure to the extend other sponsorships might, but our sponsors use Perl. So what they sponsor go beyond a single speaker travelling from anywhere to Copenhagen.
They sponsor exposure between authors and contributors to Perl, they invest in the future of Perl and present Perl maintainers. They contribute to new ideas, modules, systems, frameworks being born.
If you compare the price of Perl training or any other course to 2 days of Perl with a wide variety of Perl from all corners of the Perl world, I think the payback in the long run will be bigger. Since these workshops and YAPCs, in my opinion, keep the Perl community going.
All speakers I have heard from have responded positively, however some are not able to take our offer due to other obligations, or so they say, but at least they have responded so I can focus on the speakers from whom I have not heard or which need my attention in order to organize their trip to Copenhagen.
We have written in our Call for Papers that we might ask the speakers to do BoF as natural prolongings of their talks and at the same time we try to limit talks to 30 minutes.
So we have a lot of brief exposure, instead of monolithic one-way communication, we people to talk in the breaks and do BoFs after the official programme, we do not any hands-on sessions schedule, nor tutorials, but we hope by setting the frames that the symbiosis for these activities will present itself.
An opportunity to sponsoring something as beautiful and constructive is this is hard to turn down, but I am not sure I am getting this message through to the potential sponsors.
I think we are getting through to the people who have attended YAPC or similar before, since the diversity in attendees and speakers are not only regional.