As we say welcome to a new year, we have a couple of updates to the finances and payment handling in PostgreSQL Europe, that will affect our members and attendees of our events.
First of all, PostgreSQL Europe has unfortunately been forced to VAT register. This means that most of our invoices (details below) will now include VAT.
Second, we have enabled a new payment provider for those of you that can't or prefer not to use credit cards but that still allows for fast payments.
Nordic PGDay 2014 was just over a week ago in Stockholm, Sweden, and was definitely a success. A lot more people than we initially expected had the event sell out completely a couple of weeks before it happened. A week later we've now collected the feedback forms that people filled out (a big thanks to the 25-30 people who did fill them out - a 30% "hit rate" on feedback forms gives us a pretty good input).
I'll lead with a few graphs that fairly well represents the feedback:
In particular, that every person who filled out our feedback would recommend the event to friends or colleagues is definitely a flattering grade!
It's been discussed for several years, so I'm very happy to finally be able to announce that next year, there will be a Nordic PGDay, in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 20th. It will follow a pattern that is common to those of you that have already visited other PostgreSQL event - a combination of great talks from PostgreSQL insiders, and a hallway track to meet and talk with other PostgreSQL people. As this is our first instance in the Nordics, it will be a single-track single-day event, but we hope to grow it in the future.
Our main target audience is in the Nordics, and we hope to see a lot of visitors not just from Sweden but also from our neighboring countries. Since this means the official language of the conference will be English, we will of course also welcome both visitors and speakers from the rest of Europe and the world as well!
We have not yet opened our call for papers, but plan to do so shortly. We have also not opened registration yet, as we do not know exactly what the entrance cost will be yet. This will be depending on how many sponsors we can sign up for the event - which we have also not opened up for yet (a pattern is emerging here). But the date and venue is set, so mark your calendars and start moving other events around so you can be sure to make it...
If your company is interested in sponsoring the event, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be sure to send you our sponsorship information as soon as it's available!
See you in Stockholm in March next year!
It's time to mark your calendars: PostgreSQL Conference Europe 2011 (formerly known as PGDay.EU) will be held on October 18-21 at the Casa400 Hotel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Like last year, the conference will be held in a hotel venue, combining both the conference rooms and guest rooms, so you don't have to waste any time finding your way around the city. As in previous years, the conference will include full catered coffee breaks and lunches, to make the most of the time. The first day of the conference will be a training day, and the following three days will be regular conference tracks. The conference will accept talks in English, Dutch, German and French, to benefit those attendees who prefer talks in their native language.
We are just starting our search for sponsors - if you are interested in sponsoring the conference, or know someone who is, please take a look at our sponsorship opportunities and don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to propose an alternative arrangement.
We will also follow up with a call for papers later, and in due course open for registration and post a conference schedule. For now, mark the dates, and follow the news on our website and on our twitter stream @pgconfeu.
The big change for PGDay.EU this year really was the switch from a university venue (first Monash University in Prato, then ParisTech in Paris) to a hotel venue (The Millennium Hotel in Stuttgart). We believe that much of the rest of the conference was an improvement over previous years - but it was an incremental improvement, whereas the change of venue was rather drastic. Looking at the feedback on this, I think we can conclude that this change was in general a positive one:
We're seeing a total of 75%25 who rate the venue as a 4 or a 5. Looking at the freetext comments, a large majority of them are very positive, but there are a few ones that stand out:
Amongst the positive ones we find a large number of comments saying that the "integrated venue" or "all inclusive" venue was a great step up.
Closely related to the venue, is the food. Unlike the big north American conferences PGCon and PG-East/West, we have for the past two years tried to provide proper lunches and not just sandwiches/boxed lunches. This obviously costs more money, but we believe it's worth it, and we think our visitors do. Last year we had a catering firm bring us assorted food, mainly cold cuts, at the conference venue, and this year we got proper lunch buffets (including multiple choices for dessert, of course..) at one of the hotel restaurants. I think the ratings speak for themselves - I would encourage those other conferences to look into improving their lunches as well!
A full 82%25 rated the food as 4 or 5. In the end, the cost for paying for a lunch "on ones own bill" would probably have cost more than half the conference fee - so we think we managed to provide some very good value. In fact, several people rated the food as being the best part of the conference(!)
There was, however, one person who said the food was one of the worst things about the conference - if you recognize that was you, we would very much like to know exactly why (no details were included) - please send me an email or write a comment here!
A few people commented on the large amount of food left over from lunch on at least one of the days - it is up to the hotel to decide what to do about that, but it is our belief that they do something "reasonable" with it - and not just throw it away. We know that the caterers last year delivered all leftovers to a nearby homeless shelter, for example. For next year, we will attempt to again get a specification from the catering/restaurant as to what happens to leftovers.
We feel that the overwhelming majority of our visitors found the changes an improvement, and we will therefor pursue something similar as our primary option for next year. We are always interested in improving further, of course, so if you have any other ideas - let us know! The final question we asked about the venue was where to hold the conference next year. Many were quite ambiguous in their suggestions ("big city in Europe" is in, "Hawaii" is out because we want to stick to Europe). Summarizing what we could gave us the following:
The final part of our evaluation was considering the conference website and registration:
In general these are very good rates. I'm happy to see that more than 50%25 rate the website overall experience as 4 or 5 - that's a much better rating than it's being given by the people who edit the content on it! Same for registration, with very few people rating it really low. There's clearly some room for improvement though:
In summary, here are some reasons in graphical and textual forms why you should already put attendance to next years PostgreSQL Conference Europe in your budget:
Freetext comments: "The overall organization of that event was excellent." "Very good organization, great people, interesting talks, vibrant community in general. Lots of core dev presents, high level of knowledge." "Great organization from beginning (registration at the website, information prior to the event), arriving and registering (internet access already available, great t-shirt and backpack) to the conference itself (sessions, warning speakers about how much time is left), good food and drinks at the breaks and at lunch. Kudos to the organizers and everyone who helped make this happen." "I think the organisation was perfect. There where many people and all know where they had to go to." "The huge amount of information, inspiration and positive energy. Actually I hacked my first patch on the way back." "The people especially the staff :) Both keynotes were stimulating good dsicussions with my peers" "Very good conference. I felt really cosy there. As a noob to PG, I got a lot of information and I lost the fear of asking the experts (either on the mailing list or on IRC)." "The organization was really great. Maybe the best PostgreSQL conference I've attended so far."
That concludes my summaries of the feedback from this years PGDay.EU conference. If your specific comments haven't been called out here, don't worry - we still read them all and will consider them all for next year!
Finally, thanks again to all who helped make this conference great!
See you again next year!
The next issue of my "pie-chart-overflow blog posts about PGDay feedback" is about our speakers. The speakers are, if that's not obvious, the reason that people come to the conference. Having good speakers is an absolute requirement if we want to keep up the quality of the conference. Other things like venue and price are certainly important, but nothing compares to the actual content of the conference - which is provided by our speakers.
I'm very happy to say that we seem to have manage to keep the very high numbers for Speaker Quality that we had from last year (differing less than 3%25 which is well within the margin of error). The same goes for the scores our speakers got on their knowledge of the topic - indicating that we've managed to attract some of the most skilled speakers in the world. Which is not surprising given that in many cases, we the person speaking about a feature is actually the guy who wrote it. What is more surprising is that these same people are rated as very good speaker - which we all know isn't always true about your stereotypical developer.
Just like last year, we're not going to post the complete list of speaker ratings, given that they are easy to read wrong. But here is a list of our top speakers, excluding any that had less than 5 ratings. Any speakers who have fewer than 10 should be considered a very uncertain number, and I've again included the standard deviation to determine the uncertainty. We had a lot more speakers this year, so I have only included those scoring 4 or above this time around. Each speaker has received his own detailed score, of course.
Place | Speaker | Quality Score | Standard deviation | Number of votes 1 | Dimitri Fontaine | 4.8 | 0.5 | 8 2 | Mason Sharp | 4.7 | 0.9 | 11 2 | Magnus Hagander | 4.7 | 0.7 | 29 4 | Simon Riggs | 4.6 | 0.7 | 52 4 | Simon Phipps | 4.6 | 0.9 | 45 6 | Andreas Scherbaum | 4.5 | 0.7 | 34 6 | Ed Boyajian | 4.5 | 1.1 | 33 8 | Bruce Momjian | 4.4 | 0.9 | 54 8 | Gianni Ciolli | 4.4 | 0.8 | 38 8 | Tim Bunce | 4.4 | 1.0 | 10 11 | Jan Aleman | 4.2 | 1.0 | 11 12 | Tim Child | 4.1 | 0.8 | 9 12 | Michael Meskes | 4.1 | 1.2 | 10 14 | Bernd Helmle | 4.0 | 0.6 | 6 14 | Heikki Linnakangas | 4.0 | 0.8 | 30 14 | Linas Virbalas | 4.0 | 0.9 | 10
[HTML_REMOVED] The list based on Speaker Knowledge looks slightly different, but not very much. Given that our speaker knowledge has been rated even higher than speaker quality, I've only included those who scored 4.6 or higher (which is a fantastically high cutoff)
Place | Speaker | Knowledge Score | Standard deviation | Number of votes 1 | Tim Child | 5 | 0 | 9 2 | Joe Conway | 4.9 | 0.3 | 10 3 | Simon Riggs | 4.8 | 0.7 | 52 3 | Linas Virbalas | 4.8 | 0.4 | 9 3 | Magnus Hagander | 4.8 | 0.8 | 29 3 | Dimitri Fontaine | 4.8 | 0.5 | 8 7 | Andreas Scherbaum | 4.7 | 0.8 | 34 7 | Bruce Momjian | 4.7 | 1.0 | 53 9 | Mason Sharp | 4.6 | 1.2 | 11 9 | Heikki Linnakangas | 4.6 | 0.8 | 30 9 | Simon Phipps | 4.6 | 1.0 | 45 9 | Gianni Ciolli | 4.6 | 0.8 | 38 9 | Tim Bunce | 4.6 | 1.3 | 10 9 | David Fetter | 4.6 | 0.6 | 16
A great big thanks to all our speakers - you did a fantastic job.
We will need to work hard to keep up our recruiting of speakers for next years. If you were considering but decided not to submit a talk for some reason - please let us know why, so we can improve! Or if you have any ideas in general on our processes around this. For example, we had no female speakers at all this year - we know you're out there, and we certainly want you there, so what do we need to change to make this more interesting for you as a potential speaker? The same goes for other groups that we were missing of course: now is the time to let us know so we have the time to change things before next year!
This blog seems to be turning into a PGDay blog rather than a general PostgreSQL blog. But I promise I'll get back to some more technical content soon - or at least that I'll try.
A couple of days ago we closed the feedback system from PGDay.EU 2010, and have been busy tallying the result. It turns out that my constant nagging on people to please fill out the feedback worked - we got a lot more feedback this year than last year. That also means there's a lot more work in going through mainly all the freetext comments - that's the price I have to pay, I guess. In total we had around 60 people who left "full conference feedback", which is almost double from last year. It's still only just over 25%25 of the attendees, so it could certainly be even better yet. We also had 86 people who left session feedback (this is around 40%25 and a much better number of course) for a total of 570 session feedback entries.
So what did the feedback say - time for some pie charts! We've actually seen a slight decrease in the ratings for topic importance. This may well be because we've broadened the topics more. We're still seeing very good grades for content quality, which reinforces my feeling that our speakers deliver very valuable content to the attendees, and that the conference is well worth attending. (As a note to readers - I've had several people point out to me that german people are used to rating 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest, so there may be some skewing in the voting because of this. Even though the pages very clearly stated that 5 is the highest, this is something we need to make even more clear for next year)
We spent a lot of time trying to put together the puzzle that is the schedule for so many talks over so short time. It turns out that we did a good job in general, but there was a large amount of overlap where people wanted to go to many talks at the same time. We also received a lot of comments in the freetext fields about this, and this is definitely something that we will consider for next year. It would probably have been better content-wise to have three tracks spread over three days (maybe not entirely complete) rather than four tracks over two days, but that would also have increased many of the costs with 33%25 which is a lot of money...
Of course, the "Hallway track" is a very important part of any conference like this, and this year we collected specific feedback on this side. I'm very happy to see that more than two thirds of our attendees rated the learning part of the hallway track as 4 or 5, and well over half found it a good way to connect with other people in the community!
If these numbers don't make you interested in next years PostgreSQL Conference Europe then, really, you're reading them wrong...
That's enough pie-charts for one post. I will follow this up with more feedback summary on our speakers and on our venue once it's ready.
The registration deadline for pgday.eu has been extended. Instead of ending today, the new deadline is Saturday, December 4, 17:00 CET. There are, however, a few restrictions with this extension:
Once this second deadline expires on the December 4th, you are still welcome to attend the conference - but in this case, you have to pay the higher price for a pay at the door registration. Even if you choose this, we do appreciate if you register online first (choosing that rate), so we can prepare a badge and conference pack for you.
If you have any further questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Initial numbers from our registration database for PGDay.EU 2010 is showing that we are expanding our international reach more than last year. In 2009, 60%25 of the attendees were from France, which is where the conference was held. This year the number of attendees from Germany is "down" to about 50%25, meaning we have more people from other countries. The total number of countries is down one though - we have no registration from Nicaragua this year! Even our attendance from the US is up to three more people.
Pardon my horrible openoffice.org chart, but here is the current spread of attendees. Where does your country stack up? If it's not Germany, then it's not high enough - time to suggest/encourage/force/trick your friends and colleagues to register and attend! (And if it's Germany - hey, can you really let the French get to 60%25 last year and not beat them this year?)
Registration for PGDay.EU 2010 closes soon! Don't miss out on the biggest PostgreSQL event in Europe this year, and all the great presentations!
PGDay Europe 2010 is drawing closer - only two weeks until kickoff! Some of the training is filled up, but we still have space for some more people on the general conference (and some of the training sessions). It's not too late - go register!
I'll be spending much of the time working with the conference administration, hopefully making things flow. But with a schedule like this, there are some sessions that I'm definitely not going to miss:
With this much great content, it's hard to choose - but those are my choices for PGDay. (I of course reserve the right to change my mind, depending on how late the speaker left from the party the day before)
What are yours?
And if you haven't registered yet, you still have a few more days. Don't miss your chance to attend the biggest PostgreSQL event in Europe this year! Registering is easy and quick - not to mention cheap!