OTS Conference as topic to be discussed

Continuing the discussion from OTS review meeting:

hi @Ola just starting a new thread here on this very much discussed topic since you’re right, makes sense to address publicly!

I think it could be nice to begin by you explaining a little about it and perhaps addressing the idea of how it came to be that we never heard about it previously ? i know this is a delicate subject so please know im trying to be as neutral as possible here. do think though that many of us were wondering why it was never discussed with the broader community as it is kind of a huge undertaking and the OTS brand is central to the entire event and potential sponsors have already been approached with that in mind.

I think one thing to mention that might help you to see why some of us feel its an issue… previously (before hackership anyway) all OTS events have been free. for the most part we never wanted to have any kind of sponsorship involvement because we’ve always wanted to stay neutral and self-sufficient. even the idea of finding sponsors for food at meetings was an issue. we made them potluck instead because that was more the OTS ethos as we never wanted there to be any allegiance to any outside group or company that might have wanted their brand attached to us for whatever reasons.

we did bring up that its possible that hackership might have confused members and played a role in your thinking of deciding to move forward without consultation w/the larger community but that was all just someone’s guess. also some people noted that you had at some point mentioned the idea of organising something but i think that might have been a camping event (or something, don’t quite remember what was suggested), and not a full-blown conference.

all that to ask, perhaps you can explain the thought process that went into organising this event thus far?
I think that would probably be the best beginning and then other questions from anyone else interested could follow after.

thanks for your consideration :slight_smile:


Hey @rachel!

Thanks for opening the thread :wink:
I have a meeting tonight, so I’ll at least start with some questions and catch up later with the rest. So you don#t have to wait too long.

I’ll start with one questions, which seems to be the most important one…

… why it was never discussed with the broader community …

We actually did. The idea came up like a year ago and I started to talk to people from the OTS, which I know well and met, about the idea. When we actually started to get more serious about it, we also started to talk to Ben about it. That was in September and we kept him updated since then, because he is the chairman and for us it was super important to get the go from someone officially responsible. That’s why it was bit surprising for us to hear that the community isn’t happy about it. Especially with having the hackership in mind.

Just to make this clear, we don’t want to blame Ben here! I really think there is a bigger problem about communication which grew out of how big the OTS became. If there would have been things like Community Calls or the newsletter by then, there would definitely be more transparency about the conference from our side. But we are on it and I think, it’s a great way to deal with things in the future. :relaxed:

Why are we organizing the conference?

I’ve moved from Berlin to Dortmund several years ago. Being used to all the meetups, workshops and also the great community, I was completely out in the cold when I arrived. The community here just wasn’t existing. That’s why we started the chapter. Now after almost two years we are still struggling finding sponsors for events, our drop-out rate is about 40-50% and the people here do not value the work at the most times… the people seem to really slowly understand what community culture means. But it’s really hard to organize stuff and without really amazing coaches who travel up to 150km on own costs to voluntier, we couldn’t make this happen. It’s really different then in e.g. Berlin or Hamburg.

This is one of the reasons, we wanted to bring an OTS conference to this area. To show the people what community culture means, our values, what we are actually doing and also that we as OTS chapters would have a big event to meet and celebrate the OTS.


Helping us / involving the community

We want you to help us and get involved. As far as some things can just be organized locally like location / food / travels / hostels etc. which we need to organize, we are soon at a point, we can involve you, which is great!

The CfP will be open by mid-April and up for 4 (+2) weeks. We’ll blind vote the talks.
Voting will be:

  • us
  • early bird ticket holders (regular tickets won’t be available until we close the voting)
  • and the OTS members

There will be an app for that. We’ll keep you updated.

Please reach out to Sponsors, so we get as many Community tickets including travel expenses as possible!

  • I’ll post details on that soon.
  • Please notice the Sponsors need to align with out CoC. http://www.otsconf.com/#coc
  • All tickets the other sponsors don’t need, are given back to the community by us.
  • There will be an application process to make sure to pick people, who really need this support and our crown will be as diverse as possible.

Get the word out in your chapter

  • We want as many chapters as possible to attend

Help us coach the free workshops

  • There will be free workshops: JSFAB, DjangoGirls, Art-Node Workshop
  • It’s really hard to get free space, so there will also be two “paid” workshops (20€) to cover the location. The coaches are going this for free. AngularJS and Nodecopter.


Yes, I know it is a big concern. And I understand that pretty well.
It’s also one of the things we are thinking about a lot!

The truth is… like explained before, we need something big because people don’t get the community culture and we are sure, such an event will give them finally a taste of how it’s like… Doing something so big, isn’t working without money. Sponsors are really hard to find, especially with our demands regarding CoC and core values of the OTS. We don’t want to “sell out” the conference… So we need to sell tickets.

There will be:

  • Early Bird tickets for 170€ incl VAT
  • Regular tickets for 260€ incl VAT
  • Student tickets for 80€ incl VAT
  • OTS e.v. members will get a 10% discount
  • Community tickets will be free (you can apply)
  • sponsored Community tickets incl travel expenses (you can apply)

There will be 3 completely free workshops.
2 paid ones for 20€ incl VAT. (If we get enough regular sponsors, we maybe could manage to pay for the location, so they would be free too)

I hope, I could give you some insight. If you have any questions left, just post them :wink:

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Thanks a lot @Ola!

Ola and I had a long call about the topic this Monday and to me it really was an eye-opener that this has been discussed extensively with “the board” in advance to the extend how sponsoring should work and how the OTS e.V. could be utilized. Obviously this just falls under these communication issues we’ve had within OTS at large within the last year.

As I mentioned before, OIa told me personally about the OTSConf already in September. The topic just never made it to any organizers or community meetings.

No matter if we see this as an OTS thing or an OTS partner or sister or whatever thing, I’d love to see the global community getting involved. The opportunity for the OTS community to vote for the talks and free tickets for coaches are a great start.

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I forgot to say:

You can follow https://twitter.com/otsconf for updates.

First Early Bird Batch will be sold on Sunday, 5pm CEST.

We planed the conference as a blueprint. So there won’t be a OTSconf in Dortmund again, but anyone who wants to organize one, if free to do so! Well write down a summary after the conference, so everyone knows what they have to do. :wink:

hi @Ola

thanks for your explanation! guess at some point it could be good for @ben or @robert (someone from foundation) to step in and acknowledge the mis- or non- communication on this topic.

one thing i guess im not completely clear on as well is-- who is the target audience?

originally i thought it was a conference for all of OTS members around the world to convene but that is not the case more to the point you’re looking for other tech people in germany to come out? if this is the case, what is the conference offering that they don’t already get at other conferences? is the main thing a different location? just sayin’-- whatever people don’t get at other similar conferences even if its just location- should be highlighted as a big selling point.

ive helped organise a couple of conferences and don’t ever really want to do it again tbh but i do know its important to know who your target audience is! peers are different than getting new people in tech, they speak two different languages.

anyway, I’m curious who exactly the conference is for:)