[volunteers] (forw) Re: [sv VERY OFFLIST lug] State of the speaker program, and venues: not good

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Mar 11 18:12:17 PST 2016

Thank you, Steve.

Some of these are things we've done in similar situations and might
indeed do in the near future.

In the recent past, too, I was quite confident that between my friend
Jesse Monroy's and my own ability to spin up a Linux talk out of a
grab-bag of ideas, we could keep SVLUG supplied with presentations
immediately.  The one thing that's changed about that is Jesse's moved
to West Texas, so he's a candidate speaker only rarely when in town.

I _can_ still invent a decent talk out of just an idea and an evening two
of research.  I _might_ be able to keep doing that for a long time,
though members would get tired of hearing my mellifluous baritone.
If you look at my talks' posted slide presentations, there's _always_ a
concluding slide saying I pulled this talk out of /dev/ass in X small
number of days and merely researched the topic until I knew enough -- 
and that _you can do a better job_.

Strikes me as a vital message:  Nobody need be an expert just to give a
presentation.  Speakers need only have an interest in the topic and feel
they have something to say.  Which is the truth!  Last thing we want to 
do is intimidate hobbyists into not offering.  We're hobbyists, too.
None of us is an expert.

That one suggestion of showing a good DVD, that's the only one SVLUG 
really can't afford to try, because we're too high-profile and because
we can't afford to create trouble with Symantec:  Without securing
public performance rights, showing (e.g.) Revolution OS is a copyright
violation and can lead to serious legal trouble.

I expect I'll have more energy to drum up series of 10 minute
presentations, or find in-house enthusiasts for something, or to write a
presentation on something I don't know yet -- as soon as I'm over the
flu.  At the moment, any of those things sounds exhausting.

Mailing list this is going to is the volunteers' working list.  In past
years, we'd _insist_ that discussion of SVLUG internal matters be on it,
to not add to the already overflowing main list.  Because both lists are 
now ghost towns, that's no longer an issue, and sometimes I raise
organisational matters on the main list because of its _much_ larger

----- Forwarded message from Steve Litt <slitt at troubleshooters.com> -----

Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2016 20:55:01 -0500
From: Steve Litt <slitt at troubleshooters.com>
To: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Re: [sv VERY OFFLIST lug] State of the speaker program, and venues:
	not good
Organization: Troubleshooters.Com
X-Mailer: Claws Mail 3.13.2 (GTK+ 2.24.29; x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu)

On Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:51:55 -0800
Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> SVLUG's meeting and lecture series, active for 28 years, is in real
> danger.
> And the other part of SVLUG's meeting program that's in danger is
> finding speakers.  On February 8th, just as I was about to get on a
> month-long cruise across the South Pacific, I heard our March 2nd 
> speaker was obliged to cancel, and put out an urgent appeal for _any_
> SVLUG volunteer to step up to the plate and find a replacement talk.
> http://lists.svlug.org/archives/svlug/2016-February/061727.html

Rick, feel free to forward this to any SVLUG volunteers who crop up, I
just didn't imagine it would be appropriate for the main list...

Its first few years, which admittedly were more Linux-enthusiastic
years worldwide, GoLUG had a website where people would vote for three
or four topics that already had volunteers. The presentation getting
the most votes won.

It could be my imagination, but I think the competitiveness led to more
people raising their hands and saying "let me speak!" I'm almost
positive it led to bigger, more enthusiastic attendance. I've been
thinking about reviving it.

Some other things GoLUG did when we found ourselves speakerless:

* Screen a DVD of Revolution OS or Office Space or something

* Have a round table discussion on something, and just fill the round
  table from people who show up.

* Have a bunch of 10 minute talk/demonstrations, populated by people
  who show up. People who would die of fright giving a 1 hour
  presentation often find it easy to do an impromptu 10 minute.

* Get an "expert from afar". One time we arranged for Red Hat's Kyle
  Gonzalez to drive 100 or so miles to give a joint GoLUG/LEAP meeting
  --- the only joint meeting those two ever had.

* I don't like this, but in a pinch it's always possible to get a
  Linux-related commercial vendor to give a dog and pony, hopefully
  showcasing things that don't require any non-free software.

* Presentation on Puppet, Chef, Salt, and all the rest of them. Every
  LUG has experts on them.

* Software development presentation. Every LUG has programmers, and
  they all like to show off their favorite languages, algorithms,
  projects, etc.

One other thing...

In the long run, LUGs need to be more relevant to people under 40, or
we're going to end up having our meetings in assisted living homes.
GoLUG has already lost one member to the graveyard (he was in his
80's), and we rarely have anyone under 30. We're trying to form
stronger bonds with the maker community: They're all young, we're all
old, and we can all learn from each other. But so far we've had limited

Without a continuous influx of new members, it's hard to get volunteers.



Steve Litt 
March 2016 featured book: Quit Joblessness: Start Your Own Business

----- End forwarded message -----

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