Eclipse Ecosystem

A blog devoted to promoting the Eclipse ecosystem

Monday, July 30, 2007

Eclipse Members Meeting -- Can it appeal to committers?

Eclipse Members Meetings -- can (should?) they appeal to committers?

The Eclipse Foundation holds quarterly meetings of the membership. In June and December these are 1.5 hour teleconference calls and usually we have about 80 lines in use and about 130 people. I know from surveys and responses that committers make a good % of the attendees. The teleconferences follow a pretty consistent script -- Mike overviews the Eclipse Foundation state and activities, Bjorn updates Projects, Ian updates Marketing activities and then we have a couple of new member introductions.

Our March members meeting occurs in-person, runs a full day and takes place the day before EclipseCon. We usually have a couple of guest speakers, dive deeper into some of the newer projects, and we have a really good committer turn out there even though we loose some people to tutorials and other parallel meetings.

However, looking over the last two years, the September Members meeting has had a low turn-out of committers -- it is mostly the Company Representatives, Delegates and Marketing teams that attend. The September Members meeting runs 1.5 days and starts off with a Marketing Symposium. We have lots of great guest speakers and networking opportunities. People say that the September Members meeting is one of the best events they attend all year for a multitude of reasons, but ultimately because Ian packs together such a kick-ass agenda. Even with a 100+ attendance, if there is not a strong committer representation, we don't feel the September members meeting is all it can be. The strong mix of skill-sets and perspectives in the Eclipse Ecosystem is one of the things that make it tick.

There's a few things working against us. First, travel budgets are tight overall, and there are lots of interesting things going on in the fall like Eclipse Summit Europe, Eclipse World, OS Summit Asia and others. It seems easier to attend Eclipse Members Meetings when there is something else coincedent (like EclipsEcon) to justify the trip. Second, "marketing" is such a dirty word that I fear running a "Marketing Symposium" in conjunction with the meeting autmatically makes many committers tune out the invitation -- even though much of the content is highly relevant.

So we're trying a few things different this year -- there are going to be a couple of project meetings running in parallel with the members meeting. The Committer reps, Bjorn and I are going to be leading a break-out meeting during one of the afternoons titled "Fine Tuning the Eclipse Committer Experience". And last, but not least, I'm going to be agressive with the message that the September Members Meeting is not just for the "suits".

What are your thoughts?

- Don