Throughout May we promoted that we had been invited to have an Apache booth at the Open Expo in Madrid. The event took place on 1st June 2017 and was the first time that we had an Apache presence there. We received an invitation to the event because of a contact made at FOSDEM (so you can see how being at one event can lead to another!)
In preparation we made sure that we had enough stickers and swag (pens, usb hubs, fandanas and lapel pins) for our booth.
Our booth staff was made up of myself and two amazing Spanish speaking volunteers (Ignasi Barrera and Jan Iversen). Ignasi had also designed a flyer / leaflet with details about the ASF, who we are and what we do on one side and some information about Incubator on the other. This was translated into Spanish as we expected that it would be a predominantly Spanish event. One hundred of the leaflets were printed and when we put the first few out, they disappeared quickly. It was then that we realised that we needed to ensure we kept enough leaflets available on the table but we ran out of them completely by early afternoon. It was a long day and Jan and Ignasi were kept very busy explaining to people about the Foundation, its goals and how it all works.
We understand that the conference attracted over 3000 visitors throughout the day and 300 of them (around 10%) stopped by the Apache booth to talk to us. We found that most people already knew about specific Apache projects and were keen to talk to us about them. Around one in every six spent around 5-10 minutes which is really great as it shows that they are very interested in knowing or finding out more about Apache.
Being part of Apache, we sometimes take it for granted and it was a little surprising to find out that many people didn't really know very much about the Apache Software Foundation and in fact most of them didn't even know that there was a Foundation behind Apache projects!. Being at the event helped us fill this knowledge gap.
We had a wide range of questions - ranging from 'I want to use the Apache Licence for my own open source project, Do I need to join Apache to do that?' to 'What do I need to do if I wanted to sponsor the Foundation?'
We noticed that people were quite selective in which stickers they took (it wasn't a grab everything!) and one attendee especially wanted the first sticker on his new PC to be an Apache one!
It was good to see and meet up with some of our Apache project contributors and committers at the event and they were also very happy to see us.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see that there were a lot of women attending this conference. I'd heard that Madrid is becoming a technology hub and it was great to see women in technology being so well represented at this event.
A main highlight (apart from the great atmosphere and conference buzz) was that we completely ran out of our flyers (information leaflets) about the ASF. To us it showed that people were really interested in finding out more about Apache.
What we learned and achieved?
These are the main things we achieved and learned by being here were:.
- This event was mainly a Spanish speaking event although the organisers are trying to bring more English speaking presentations.
- There wasn't any Apache content at the event so if we are do plan to be there in then it would be good to encourage participation in the CFP (NOTE: We need to be prepared to do this in Spanish)
- Being there brought a bit more awareness about Apache to a new audience
- Having information leaflets and flyers at events like these, is a great way to provide essential information about Apache. People were happy to take them away which showed that they were really interested in finding out more about us.
- As well as potential sponsors, we were asked about taking part in some Spanish podcasts about free software, and some people also asked about Apache meetups in Spain so have opened up some potential opportunities
- Being able to scan our booth visitors meant that we could send out a thank you message to them all (Thanks Ignasi!)
- Community development is also about going out and being active at conferences and events where people can see and speak to us, so let's keep doing it!
So was it a success?
Yes definitely! And we will be looking out for any future events to see if we can participate. Also some photos from the event have been uploaded to our Facebook page..
We are hope that we will be invited again next year and if so will be looking forward to another successful event so please come along (especially any Spanish speakers) and support us.
Once again huge thank you to Ignasi Barrera and Jan Iversen who volunteered their time and energy to come to Madrid and help out.