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Re: [802SEC] Final venue choices for our March 8-13, 2009Plenary Session for your review

Hi -

I've been reading a fair amount about how SEC members wish the world were,
but not much discussion about how it is. For me, the recent venue discussion
thread is missing significant points - 

Heinlein may have said it best:
"What are the facts? Again and again and again - what are the facts? Shun
wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars
foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the
unguessable "verdict of history" - what are the facts, and to how many
decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your
single clue. Get the facts!"

I'd like to form my opinion re non-NA venues from some facts. I think 802
has the desired data, let's see what it tells us.

1) attendance vs. locations - what is the data?
802 is an organization that depends on volunteer labor. What are the facts
wrt to attendance at various categories of locations? I don't have the 802
attendance data or I'd have done the exercise myself. I'd like to see some
simple analysis of 802 attendance data. A starting idea: a simple 2 bar
graph - one bar is average attendance at NA location for some period (say
the most recent 5 years) and the other bar is the average attendance at
non-NA locations for the same period.

I suspect there is a significant difference between the two bars. Further I
suspect that the NA bar will be the higher one (that's just what my
experience over 17+ years of participation tells me I would expect - but
again, what are the facts?)

2) what does this data tell us?
Set aside the discussion of how SEC members "want" 802 to be perceived in
the world (and then asserting that this justifies non-NA venues), and let's
spend a little bit of time considering what the membership is telling us
about what they want for locations. 

The requested data is likely to tell us something significant about what the
aggregate membership is (and has been) willing to support wrt to venue

For each session the members have voted with their time and dollars - and I
suspect the reality is that there is a real, significant, manpower cost to
non-NA venues. Take the difference in the bars from the graph, and do the
math - add up the delta man-hours and apply an average burdened manpower
rate (between $200 and 4250/hr the last time I looked) to convert to $ -
this will be a first estimate of a real $ cost from venue dependant manpower

If the membership has been willing to pay the direct costs of non-NA venues
for the time period for which we have data, the bars will be very close in
magnitude. If the bars are not close, that also tells us something.

802 offers a product - standards. 802's primary customers for the product
are it's members. The members use the product to create products for their
customers. I suspect we have a case of a company's (802's) customers (802
members) speaking pretty clearly. 

The venue/price issue has elasticity. I personally suspect that a
significant number of members have been telling the organization that they
are not willing to pay the costs of non-NA venues (the Rome situation would
just another example that corresponds to the data we already have). As the
802 participation costs go up, attendance goes down. As attendance goes
down, organization productivity also goes down (the work doesn't get done by
people that don't show up).

Perhaps a bit of consideration is also in order as to why we hold sessions? 
When I read comments of the form "I've already been to location XYZ", I have
to wonder: Is the 802 business to produce standards products or to provide
interesting travel locations? 

Now I finally come to the sub-topic in this thread which tipped me into
writing this email... 

When you see people staying elsewhere, they are voting with their wallets.
Personally, I've stayed 99% of the time in the session hotel. That is not
usually the lowest cost option. There are reasons this works for me - it's a
matter of ROI - and the balance that works for me may not be the one that
works for others.

Attempting to "penalize" attendees by charging them what someone thinks they
"should have paid" had they stayed where "you wanted them to stay" (not
where they wanted to stay) is doomed to failure. You won't get the "extra"
$, you'll just eliminate some more attendees - resulting in even lower
income to 802 for that session. That's the nature of the concept of

Like it or not, the reality is that 802 simply does not have the ability to
reverse the economic forces in play. Increase the costs of attending (time,
hassle and/or $) and less attend - doesn't matter how you allocate the $
between hotel, reg fess etc.

802 doesn't have to like the facts, The facts are simply what they are - and
the facts don't care if they are liked.  But.... IMHO 802 management would
be wise to pay attention to what the data says. 

Personally, I think the best business decision is to do what maximizes the
productivity of the volunteer labor pool that creates the 802 product. 

If the DATA supports more non-na venues, so be it; if the data says zero
non-NA venues so be it. If the data says all meeting should be in Timbuktu,
so be it.

So what does the data say?

David Bagby

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-stds-802-sec@LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG
[mailto:owner-stds-802-sec@LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG] On Behalf Of Carl R. Stevenson
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2007 4:22 PM
To: 'John Hawkins'; 'Bob O'Hara (boohara)'; STDS-802-SEC@LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG
Subject: Re: [802SEC] Final venue choices for our March 8-13, 2009Plenary
Session for your review

Better judgments/earlier adjustments for attendance can likely be obtained
by making the early registration period open sooner and the "ratchet up
point" occur earlier (with significant steps up for later registration).

I also liked the suggestion (I think it may have been Buzz's, but don't
recall for sure) to have a 2 tier registration ... With a "surcharge" if you
will that would cover the "fair share" cost of meeting space and other
things for folks who choose not to book hotel rooms in our hotel/block.  To
me, that is fair, because those who stay in other hotels are impacting our
costs for other things that are provided (and in EU charged for) by our
meeting hotel.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-stds-802-sec@LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG
> [mailto:owner-stds-802-sec@LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG] On Behalf Of 
> John Hawkins
> Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2007 4:43 PM
> To: Bob O'Hara (boohara); STDS-802-SEC@LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG
> Subject: Re: [802SEC] Final venue choices for our March 8-13, 
> 2009Plenary Session for your review
> That ability certainly exists. We have a healthy reserve at
> the moment,
> and we have time to add to it if deemed necessary for the Rome session
> (or any other one for that matter). Note that any session defict by
> definition comes out of that reserve. Where else would it 
> come from? So
> the trick is being able to predict attendance. This was the case w/
> London, and will be the case going forward. It's hard to predict how
> many folks will show up, and how many rooms they will book. 
> john
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ***** IEEE 802 Executive Committee List ***** 
> [mailto:STDS-802-SEC@LISTSERV.IEEE.ORG] On Behalf Of Bob O'Hara
> (boohara)
> Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 3:14 PM
> Subject: Re: [802SEC] Final venue choices for our March 8-13, 
> 2009Plenary Session for your review
> Even with all the uncertainty about attendance and cost, I
> support going
> to the Rome venue. 
> I would like to hear John Hawkins' thoughts on the ability to use a 
> growing reserve to partially offset the large meeting registration 
> fee.
>  -Bob

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