We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby

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We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Brian Cardarella 6/24/14 9:39 AM
It was for one glorious year but our hearts are just not in it. Rather than half-ass a conference we've decided to cancel it. All tickets will be fully reimbursed. I've already reached out to those that have purchased with how that will be done.
Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby tom 6/24/14 10:14 AM
Bummer.

But thanks Brian for having a "high bar" and bringing so much to the Ruby community over the years.


On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM, Brian Cardarella <br...@dockyard.com> wrote:
It was for one glorious year but our hearts are just not in it. Rather than half-ass a conference we've decided to cancel it. All tickets will be fully reimbursed. I've already reached out to those that have purchased with how that will be done.

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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Amal Hussein 6/24/14 10:24 AM
Brian, 

Would you mind sharing what some of the issues are? Why would be it be "half-assed" per say? Location, logistics, speakers, number of attendees? I think it would be important for the group to know. 

Grazie, 
Amal
Amal Hussein
SkypeID: amal.hussein.
 
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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Brian Cardarella 6/24/14 10:43 AM
Sure, and take these for what they are worth.

1. Zero sponsors. Perhaps I have rose colored glasses but I thought we did a pretty good job last year. Overall we got positive feedback. I was shocked when we nobody stepped up to actually sponsor. I had 2 companies inquire about sponsorship. One asked to sponsor but never paid the sponsorship invoice after 82 days. Perhaps some of the sponsors from last year were not happy with how we ran the event, if that is the case I never heard any feedback to that effect from them.

Last year we lost $15k. In order to made it worth our effort this year we needed to make a profit. The conference we had in mind required a $50k sponsorship budget with an overall budget of close to $100k. (last year's conference cost about $125k) Consider to date, after 6 months, we have received $0 in sponsorship the financial risk was too high.

2. Zero women. I realize that this is the aspect people will have the most feedback on as it is such a hot topic in Ruby. But we had 79 speakers submit talks. No women. I reached out to 12 women to invite to speak (all expenses paid) they either were no interested or did not get back to me. I reached out to many of the international women's groups to advertise the event. I sent free tickets to Rails Girls Summer of Code in exchange for promotion. Nothing. Considering how crazy everybody gets over the gender issue in Ruby I really did not want to subject myself to that drama.

3. Last week we ran Wicked Good Ember. It was an awesome event, I don't see us running WGR with the same enthusiasm. When I announced the venue at BostonRB I really didn't get any feedback from the crowd. Perhaps people didn't like last year? Perhaps people really didn't like the venue or that it was a night conference? We were trying to do something different. Perhaps that was the failure, but I'd rather fail doing something original than get by with mediocrity.

All of these reasons added up lead me to make the decision. As I said at BostonRB. The first year of a conference is not the test if Boston can sustain a conference. It is the second year. TBH, I was really shocked with the zero sponsorships. We could have gotten away with the other two if the conference was not going to turn into such a huge financial loss. Ticket sales were good. We were over 1/3 sold out. (91 of 250 sold) 

Some of things I mentioned could easily blow up into a debate on this list. I'm not really interested in one, if people want to reach out to me one-on-one I'm happy to answer any questions.
Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Brian Cardarella 6/24/14 10:48 AM
One last point I'll add. Since announcing this a few hours ago I've been contacted by 3 other regional conference organizers. They are all having similar issues this year. Sponsorship is incredibly difficult to come by, two others have had no women agree to talk as well. I didn't get the sense they were going to bail but I think this is a larger issue than just Boston.
Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Brian Del Vecchio 6/24/14 12:07 PM
Brian, thanks for this detailed write-up. I really enjoyed WGE and appreciate the thoughtful and creative effort you bring to organizing these conferences.


Brian Del Vecchio  |  617-899-0798  |  @hybernaut  |  2LunchCrew.com
Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Linda Julien 6/24/14 12:31 PM
Hi Brian,

Let me give you what little feedback I can...

For what it's worth, I would have attended last year if I hadn't been
triple-booked for most of the weekend.  I fear that holiday weekends are
challenging in general, for exactly this reason.

I had hoped to attend this year, but to be completely honest, the
weekend/holiday weekend/evening time frame made it much less appealing.
  I don't want to be a stick-in-the-mud or anything, but honestly, I'm
not 25 any more.  I have a family and a busy life outside of my job.
While some of my personal hobby time is spent writing code, lots of it
is spent doing other things.  My weekend and evening time is precious to
me, and when I suggested to my just-learning-Rails coworker that he
might consider the WGR conference, he was very straightforward in
telling me that he felt the same way.

Sometimes I feel like the Ruby/Rails community, at least locally, is
very geared toward young people who are interested in spending every
waking moment writing code.  Don't get me wrong, that was totally me
back in the day...but it's not me now, and it's not my coworkers.  I
fear that you are losing some of the more experienced people because of
this, and catering a little more to the people who have been around for
a while might help with sustainability.  If you had a conference that
took place in the middle of the work day, right here in Boston, I'd be
first in line to strong-arm my boss into sending me.

As for attracting women to the conference, let me suggest, both as a
woman and as someone who's spoken at plenty of conferences, that being
approached to attend primarily because of your gender is...icky.
Depressing.  Everyone wants to be valued for their work, but no one
wants to think that their work is being valued or noticed solely because
they fill some sort of perceived minority quota.

I'm really sorry the WGR conference didn't work out for you.  Maybe it
really could succeed with a few tweaks, and if so, I hope you can find
the enthusiasm and the sponsors to make it work again in the future.

Good luck,
Linda
>     <javascript:>> wrote:
>
>         Bummer.
>
>         But thanks Brian for having a "high bar" and bringing so much to
>         the Ruby community over the years.
>
>
>         On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM, Brian Cardarella
>         <br...@dockyard.com <javascript:>> wrote:
>
>             It was for one glorious year but our hearts are just not in
>             it. Rather than half-ass a conference we've decided to
>             cancel it. All tickets will be fully reimbursed. I've
>             already reached out to those that have purchased with how
>             that will be done.
>
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>     Amal Hussein
>     SkypeID: amal.hussein.
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>     /brain /empties”
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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Linda Julien 6/24/14 12:34 PM
OK, I just re-read that.  I sure do sound negative.  I didn't mean to.

I know how hard it is to run an event like this.  I'm glad you tried.
I'm sorry it didn't go the way you'd hoped.  I hope you can find a way
to make it work in the future...really!  It would be great to have a
local conference.

Linda
Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Chris Patti 6/24/14 12:43 PM
On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 3:31 PM, Linda Julien <le...@mit.edu> wrote:
Hi Brian,

Let me give you what little feedback I can...

For what it's worth, I would have attended last year if I hadn't been triple-booked for most of the weekend.  I fear that holiday weekends are challenging in general, for exactly this reason.

I had hoped to attend this year, but to be completely honest, the weekend/holiday weekend/evening time frame made it much less appealing.  I don't want to be a stick-in-the-mud or anything, but honestly, I'm not 25 any more.  I have a family and a busy life outside of my job. While some of my personal hobby time is spent writing code, lots of it is spent doing other things.  My weekend and evening time is precious to me, and when I suggested to my just-learning-Rails coworker that he might consider the WGR conference, he was very straightforward in telling me that he felt the same way.


Ditto.

I REALLY enjoyed last year, as did pretty much everyone from my company who went, but when we saw the announcement come out - 6 to midnight, on a holiday weekend, sitting on wooden benches, it was just too much and I was out.

I too am sorry it didn't work out, but ultimately, yeah, I think you pushed the envelope a little too hard.

That said thanks a TON for putting on last year, and all the work that I'm sure you put in to this year as well.

-Chris



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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Brian Cardarella 6/24/14 12:50 PM
Ticket sales weren't the issue here.

As far as approaching women to speak. (I know I wasn't going to get into this but that comment just pissed me off) This is a unbelievable thing to say. Tech conference organizers are under fire for not have gender balanced speaker panels. Then the population is Ruby is less than 10% women the *only* option we have to to approach women to speak. Otherwise we get destroyed publicly. Sorry, but you cannot have it both ways.
Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Patrick Robertson 6/24/14 1:27 PM
As an organizer of Ruby related stuff, I have to +1 Brian on this. The representation of women in Ruby events and the number who consider speaking is really really low. If you were passive in your endeavors in regards to speaker diversity the end result would be a full roster of 30 something white dudes that generates outrage from the community.

There are organizations and individuals within the Ruby community who explicitly ask organizers to reach out to them to help increase the representation of women in events and that’s what Brian did. Being called out for doing so seems to be unnecessarily harsh in my opinion.

- Patrick
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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Janet Riley 6/24/14 2:08 PM
Linda, you're putting Brian in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" position here.  He saw the gender ratio for proposals was lopsided and tried to balance it by explicitly inviting presenters.  Is there a better way to approach it?  

I hear what you're saying about being valued for one's work, and not [ gender | connections | increased ticket sales | etc ].  Until more women speakers are the norm, we'll wonder if there are additional motivations.  People will stay through our talks for their content.

Cheers-
Janet

Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Nat Budin 6/24/14 2:19 PM
I'm curious to hear more about how the invitations to potential speakers were framed.  It's certainly true that in any instance, one might wonder about the true reasons one was being invited to present at a conference, but there are certainly some things an organizer could say that would influence that question, such as mentioning one's past work, or on the flip side, mentioning one's gender.

Nat
Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Brian Del Vecchio 6/24/14 2:28 PM
I, on the other hand, feel entitled to zero post-facto criticism after contributing absolutely nothing to this effort.

Can we just appreciate the work that Brian & Dockyard have done, and show appropriate respect for his business decisions and the openness he has showed throughout?  I think that would be nice.


Brian Del Vecchio  |  617-899-0798  |  @hybernaut  |  2LunchCrew.com


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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby JesseWaites 6/24/14 2:29 PM
This entire thread is evidence enough that Wicked Good Ruby is more trouble to put on than its worth. The guy goes out of his way and puts a lot of effort into looking for a diverse group of speakers, a great venue, etc and people want to complain about every single aspect of it such as, in this one thread alone: 

-the chosen (holiday) weekend, 

-the speakers, 

-the wooden seating, 

-the evening hours... 

Well, we got the conference we deserve. 

Thanks anyway, Brian.
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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby C. Valentine Rogers 6/24/14 2:31 PM
This has no effect on Wicked GOD Ruby right?


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Re: [boston.rb] We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Brian Cardarella 6/24/14 2:33 PM
I appreciate the thoughts and concerns. I think at this point Johnny, Mark, or Dan should lock this thread. There really isn't much more value to come out of it.
Re: We've decided to cancel Wicked Good Ruby Patrick Robertson 6/24/14 2:34 PM
I was thinking the same thing Brian! Locking the thread.


On Tuesday, June 24, 2014 12:39:20 PM UTC-4, Brian Cardarella wrote:
It was for one glorious year but our hearts are just not in it. Rather than half-ass a conference we've decided to cancel it. All tickets will be fully reimbursed. I've already reached out to those that have purchased with how that will be done.