FOSS4G 2011 Denver Attendance Projections

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Attendance Projections

My best "guesstimate" based on looking at each of the top 20 countries resulted in a three tiers:

  • Low: 426
  • Mid: 839
  • High: 1431 (capped at 1200)

"Accurate" attendance projections are extremely important to the early success of a conference the size of FOSS4G.

+ Past FOSS4G data
Year Country Local CAN USA Other Total
2006 Switzerland 156 37 52 320 565
2007 Canada 253 253 265 203 721
2008 South Africa 321 17 31 178 547
2009 Australia 218 24 28 166 436
2010 Spain ??? ??? ??? ??? ???
  • Overall, FOSS4G is a highly "local" event with at least 57% of attendees from the host region and 25% of attendees from the host country.


Brain Storming

Guesstimate

The formula (below) doesn't seem to be working out. The identified variables have no correlation to the number of attendees. The best solution would be, on a country-by-country basis, try to guess how many would come.

This table gives some "best guesstimates" on a per-country basis with justification. Note that the host country attendance (including the US for 2007) has been changed to the average of the other years.

Country Population 2006 2007 2008 2009 Average Pessimist Optimist Guess Notes
USA 307212123 52 37 31 28 37 265 800 500 265 attended '07 in Canada.
CANADA 33487208 37 26 17 24 26 26 250 125 253 attended '07
SOUTH AFRICA 49052489 2 5 3 2 3 2 10 5 Need to carry energy from '08
AUSTRALIA 21262641 4 4 2 3 3.25 2 10 5 Similar to SA, carry energy
ITALY 58126212 54 21 17 12 26 12 25 18 France, Italy & Germany are strong supporters. How can we increase attendance?
FRANCE 64057792 43 18 16 9 21.5 10 20 15
JAPAN 127078679 8 11 7 15 10.25 8 25 18 Japan is same distance as Europe with large tech population.
GERMANY 82329758 50 11 11 13 21.25 11 20 15
SOUTH KOREA 48508972 0 11 0 17 7 10 25 20 SK is like Japan only hungrier
UNITED KINGDOM 61113205 20 15 9 6 12.5 10 25 15 Why is UK so under-represented?
SWITZERLAND 7604467 10.3 11 17 3 10.3 10 20 12
SPAIN 40525002 16 12 12 4 11 12 30 12 Should carry energy from 2010
NEW ZEALAND 4213418 0 3 1 25 7.25 1 15 2 Definite Kiwi interest. Need to bolster
NETHERLANDS 16715999 16 12 0 8 9 8 20 10 Why doesn't Dutch like SA?
NORWAY 4660539 8 6 10 4 7 4 15 7
BELGIUM 10414336 10 5 10 6 7.75 5 10 6
SWEDEN 9059651 3 4 9 7 5.75 4 12 6
BRAZIL 198739269 5 4 5 4 4.5 4 30 12 Brazil is another hungry hot spot
AUSTRIA 8210281 4 5 5 2 4 4 6 5
NAMIBIA 2108665 0 2 8 0 2.5 0 4 2
INDONESIA 240271522 1 3 3 3 2.5 1 3 2
ROMANIA 22215421 1 2 6 1 2.5 1 4 2
CZECH REPUBLIC 10211904 9 4 2 1 4 2 6 4
PORTUGAL 10707924 3 2 2 2 2.25 2 3 2
FINLAND 5250275 8 3 2 0 3.25 2 5 3
POLAND 38482919 1 2 3 0 1.5 1 3 2
CHINA 1338612968 0 3 0 2 1.25 0 25 10 China is big on Geospatial
NEW CALEDONIA 227436 0 0 0 4 1 0 4 2
TAIWAN 22974347 2 1 1 1 1.25 1 6 2
MEXICO 111211789 2 3 0 0 1.25 2 30 10 Mexico is very close and hungry
Totals 418 1431 839

Survey

An alternate method would be to use a short survey that is widely publicized. This could generate good numbers for the FOSS4G community but would miss the non-community members.

Formula

A = ((P * I) / (D)) * 1/E

Where

  • A = number of attendees from a country
  • P = population of a country
    • Seems to be too many contradictions, e.g., Switzerland is consistently over-represented and Japan under-represented.
  • I = Industrialization
    • GDP of the country
    • HDI may be a better measure... but...
      • Top 10 countries by average attendance (except South Africa) have high GDI
      • Top 20 adds Namibia and Brazil with "lower" HDI
      • 90% of attendees come from high-HDI nations, cannot account for variation
  • D = Travel Cost Distance from country
    • Proxy - air travel distance from largest city to destination (except hosts) using TravelMath
    • Price of airfare in local currency?
    • Effort in getting VISA?
  • E = Some unknown general economic factor
    • FOSS4G 2009 realized very low numbers due to the economic crisis
    • DJIA?

Will this work for States within the USA? Assumes consistency across countries

  • Is there some factor for USA/CAN?

Correlating Factors

  • Economic Crisis

By Country

  • Population
  • Industrialization
    • GDP as proxy
  • Distance
    • Local vs. Distant
    • What is "local"?
  • Number of Code Contributors
    • Which projects?
  • Should most countries be "ignored"?
    • "Top 10" countries provide 75% of attendees
    • "Top 20" countries provide 90% of attendees
    • "Top 30" countries provide 95% of attendees
  • Calculate for the Top 10 and extrapolate as 75%

By Region

  • Distance
  • Industrialization
  • Oddly, Europe

Attendee Profiles

There is no one profile that fits all attendees. This is the nature of FOSS. Most significantly, the "heart and soul" of FOSS are the contributors who often are people who are "financially challenged". Here are some common traits:

1. Technically sophisticated

   a. Event needs WiFi everywhere
   b. Power outlets are good - people will be using laptops in plenaries

2. Generally like caffeine and beer


Profiles

Low-income Contributor

This person may be a student, come from a developing nation, or just be under-employed. She will be paying out of pocket for the conference. She will not stay at the conference hotel and may even be interested in a hostel or "couch-surfing". She will use public transportation or borrow a bicycle (highlight the new Denver bike share program). Despite her low income, she will come armed with at least one laptop and a smart phone. She will use the conference WiFi and power outlets heavily.

   a. Low conference fee with extras being optional
   b. Very low cost accommodation options
   c. Heavy use of wifi and power
   d. More likely to lead a workshop than attend one.

FOSS Professional

This person may be a consultant applying FOSS for customers or work for a large company integrating FOSS into the company's systems. Consultants will be paying out of pocket (as consultants always do) and others will have their employer either pay for or reimburse costs. She may likely stay at the conference hotel to increase networking opportunities. If she doesn't stay at the conference hotel, she will stay at a nearby hotel. She will come to workshops with a laptop but may only carry a smart phone to presentations. She will rely on public transportation or cabs. Most US government employees fall in this category. Many of these people like to self-identify with the "Low-income Contributor" as there is a certain romance to being heavily involved in contributing to FOSS.

   a. Will pay for extras, especially if the conference fee is low.
   b. Likely stay at conference hotel if the rates are good
   c. Likely to attend many workshops

Business Leader

This person will be in upper management or an officer of a company. The company may be an established utility or a tech startup. Her time is more valuable than the cost of the conference. She will stay at the conference hotel but will likely only stay for a one or two days. She will rely on taxis rather than public transportation. May have a laptop but more likely will use a smart phone or a tablet with 3G rather than depending on WiFi.

   a. May appreciate an "everything" registration option.
   b. Will stay at the conference hotel
   c. May attend a workshop or two but won't want to choose until she is here.

Colorado Front Ranger

This person is from the local area and may fit one of the above profiles. Her company may give her one or two days off to attend workshops or key presentations but may not pay for registration. She will not stay in a hotel and will either drive or use public transportation each day to reach the event. She will have a laptop and a smart phone and will use WiFi and power. May attend one social event but not all.

   a. Would appreciate single-day registrations
   b. Will not stay at the conference hotel (or any hotel)
   c. Will likely attend many workshops - and may skip the rest of the conference.

Percent Makeup

Profile Percent Low Mid High
Low-income Contributor 15% 62 126 180
FOSS Professional 30% 124 252 360
Business Leader 5% 31 63 90
Colorado Front Ranger 50% 213 420 600
Totals 100% 426 839 1200

Venue

One of the biggest decisions is what venue to hold the conference. Venues with larger capacities have a higher per-attendee cost. If we can come up with a reasonable range of number of attendees, we can make a better decision about the venue. The availability of a particular venue can also impact dates.

In Denver, there are several prospective venues:

Sponsorship

Sponsors (and exhibitors) like to know how many people they are reaching by investing in the conference.