PowerShell Summit City Selection Criteria

As you may know, we're in the process of putting together a PowerShell Summit Europe for Fall 2014. It's a big task, with a lot of financial risks, so we try to get it right. Folks have been helpful on Twitter in offering city selection ideas... but there's a bit more involved than just tossing out a city name. With that, here is the selection criteria!

Given the information below... AND the fact that Germany/UK/Netherlands (in that order) have been getting the overwhelming majority of "in what cities would you attend the Summit" votes... what cities would YOU recommend we consider?

(BTW, this is TOTALLY a chance to "sell" your suggestion - so do so! The criteria below are what's really important to us, so help us understand how a given city helps meet all of that criteria! And, if you're willing to help be our local 'person on the scene' to help organize, mention that also!)

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City Selection Criteria for PowerShell Summits
This guide is intended to provide a framework for selecting an appropriate city and venue for a PowerShell Summit.

Understand that a PowerShell Summit is meant to be a continent-level event, meaning the attendance of international speakers and attendees is a given. A PowerShell Summit is conducted primarily, if not entirely, in English, that being the "de facto" language of the technology industry, and the most-common language spoken by expert presenters in the field. A PowerShell Summit is open to everyone, and is not intended to fill the need for regional, culture- or language-specific events of any size. PowerShell.org recognizes the need for, and value of, those more-regional events, but the PowerShell Summit does not seek to full that need or provide that exact same value.

Throughout this guide, note that "venue" does not refer to a city. While in casual discussions we may refer to a city name or metropolitan area name - like London or Munich - our venue may not in fact be within the legal limits of such a city or area. "Venue" refers to a specific facility, which may be a hotel or a conference center or other specific location.

Our expectation is that most attendees will arrive at the event via common carrier - typically, train or airplane. Some may drive, but our focus is on providing good access for those who do not have their own personal transportation during the event.

Criterion 1: Airport Access
The first criterion is easy access to a major international airport. This is intended to accommodate the wide variety of attendees expected. In general, the venue should be either within a 15-20 minute drive from an airport by private car (including taxis and shuttle busses), or within a 30-minute ride via mass transit rail (specifically excluding public bus service, but including all levels of rail access).

Exception: The airport service area may be widened in instances where a venue offers significant other advantages in other criteria, or where the venue offers specialized access to expert presenters - e.g., using Bellevue for its convenient access to the PowerShell team, despite the fact that it is a ~30 minute ride by private car from SEA-TAC airport and lacks public rail access to the airport.

Criterion 2: Local Transit
The venue must be well-connected to the local area by mass transit rail (tram, train, metro, etc.). Alternately, the area must offer a variety of amenities within walking distance. Our goal is to minimize the need for rental cars to travel to the event venue from local hotels, restaurants, and other amenities. A 15-minute walking radius is a good "maximum" guideline. Due to this criterion, local parking fees are explicitly not considered during venue selection, although the organization recognizes than some local attendees may be impacted by parking fees.

Criterion 3: Evening Amenities
The selected venue must be accessible (via local rail transit or short walks) to evening amenities, including hotels, restaurants, and so forth. While the PowerShell Summit will often include evening events, attendees must have independent access to these kinds of amenities.

Criterion 4: Price, Quantity, and Quality of Lodging
The selected venue must be accessible (via local rail transit or short walks) to hotels of at least 3-star quality (as listed on travel Web sites such as Expedia or Orbitz), with as reasonable a price as possible given the choices of venues under consideration. When possible, the organization will reserve a room block for at least 1/3 of the expected attendance number (with the understanding that room blocks carry significant financial risk, and the organization has a primary goal of mitigating such risk). Additional hotel capacity meeting this criterion must be available, but may not necessarily be reserved, for the event.

Criterion 5: Language
The selected venue must be in an area where English is commonly spoken, at least by hospitality workers. English need not be the dominant language in the area, but as it is the "common language" of PowerShell, English must at least be commonly understood as a "lingua franca" in order for a maximum number of attendees to be able to navigate the area. Venues that do not meet this criterion may still be viable locations for a regional, cultural-specific event, but might not be qualified for a PowerShell Summit.

Criterion 6: Centrality
Given all of the other criteria previously listed, it is desirable to have a venue that provides equitable travel access from the majority of the target area. However, the organization recognizes that central location is often the most difficult to achieve in combination with the other criteria listed.

Criterion 7: Accessibility
The venue must conform with a general international standard of access for disabled persons, and must provide at least basic ability to meet common dietary restrictions, such as vegetarianism. The organization accepts that extremely specific dietary needs, such as cultural or religious needs or allergy concerns, might incur extra costs that would be passed along to the concerned attendee(s).

Criterion 8: Appropriateness
The venue must provide appropriate meeting facilities. This means the venue must be able to accommodate the expected number of attendees in a comfortable and safe surrounding, and attendees must be able to access the venue without undue overhead (e.g., extensive security checks in an office building, etc.). In multi-track events, meeting rooms should be able to accommodate a 15-20% offset (e.g., in a 300-person event with 300 attendees, each room must be able to handle 120 attendees, to deal with the fact that some sessions will be more popular than others).

About the Author

Don Jones

Don Jones is a Windows PowerShell MVP, author of several Windows PowerShell books (and other IT books), Co-founder and President/CEO of PowerShell.org, PowerShell columnist for Microsoft TechNet Magazine, PowerShell educator, and designer/author of several Windows PowerShell courses (including Microsoft’s). Power to the shell!

9 Comments

  1. Hi Don,
    this is @sysadm2010 and I'm here to develop what I said on twitter.

    European are laid back, they tend to work less than their american fellows, and are in love with the GUI and prefer to leave on holiday rather than learning new stuff. I work for one of the bigger EU companies (sort of european Intel) and nobody, believe me, as yet put his hands on Powershell. And our IT infrastructure is made of thousands of servers.

    Look, as an example, there is only one italian MVP on Powershell (Efran) and three in France. None in Spain.

    Germany in a country apart. Productivity is their motto. that's why they have a community for almost any technology.

    Sorry, but making it in Netherland is not going to make it a continent-level event. Europe goes from Romania to Portugal, from Iceland to Malta. there is Greece, there is Croatia, there is Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Albania, Serbia and so on

    IMHO the aim of the Summit must be change minds and open to a new audience which is not yet aware of what are the features and strengths of Powershell.

    VMWare does all its events is Barcelona because the town is lively. For me, Milan is the best bet, not because I am italian, but because this opens the Summit to all eastern europe, while being of easy access from the northern hubs. There are the Alps, there are lakes, there are venues, hotels, trains, airports and it is of easy reach for any European. And people there speak English, this region being the economical engine of southern Europe.

    Another example: the E2EVC takes place next november in Rome. This is the most important Virtualization Conference across EU, and you can look here for see how they organized it: http://www.e2evc.com/home/

    Doing it in London is like saying that all Europe goes on a remote island while it shoudn't be so. And it's so expensive (I was there less than one month ago for a training on VMWare vCloud).

    hope my comments help. of course count on me for any local help.

    Cheers
    Carlo

    • I totally agree with Carlo : I'm scared when I see how french IT guys are behind around PowerShell, and partly even refractory to new technologies and especially with scripting (for the Windows guys). It's been over than 6 years that PowerShell is available and half of the IT guys even don't know what it is. The other half prefers doing (boring) things manually or in the best cases with an old and dirty batch.
      I think an european submit could change this a little bit by promoting how cool, easy to learn and amazingly powerfull Powershell is!

      Regarding the location of the summit, I'm from Paris, so I'd vote for Paris, but Carlo is right again: in the south of France could be a better option but there is no big and friendly town, so maybe Milan is the best option..

      • It'd be nice to see people voting based on the criteria I outlined, and less based on where they personally live. We can only hold the event in ONE place, after all. I'm a lot less concerned about the state of PowerShell adoption in specific countries - we're looking for a city that meets the criteria outlined in my post. You'd need to help me understand how Milan, if that's your suggestion, meets that criteria.

    • To be clear, the aim of the Summit is not to open new audiences or to change minds. It is to create deep dive-level engagement with people who are using PowerShell intensively.

  2. Thoughts on Geneva? Well, the city is middle sized and has an international airport. It can be expensive since they are not in the Euro zone, but organizing things there is easy since they are punctual and used to hosting such events. Switzerland has historically taken advantage from its position to be a neutral partner to surrounding (and more important countries). Anybody can feel at home there since they are German in their way of thinking, but with influences from France and Italy, so a good mix.

    Milan is perfect city from all the points of view, apart from the fact can it can be expensive. The city is lively, and lies in a middle of a huge plain with the Alps and beautiful lakes north. It's max a two hours flight from anywhere in Europe, just like Geneva. Being the city the economical and commercial hub of northern Europe, people are very dynamic and open to new stuff. Many big companies have their headoffices there.

    Lyon is smaller then Milan, probably cheaper, but the airport is growing fast. France is investing much money on it to make it become exactly an alternative to Geneva/Turin/Milan. This is because for the moment France = Paris is the rest is like a big coutryside with sheeps and trees. The problem with Lyon is that it is unheard of by most europeans, but apart from that it's good alternative.

    Vienna in Austria could be good as well and many people would like the idea of a Summit there, since the city is beautiful and more or less centrally located. Just like Milan.

    Lyon and Geneva are probably less appealing for fun/fiesta.

    My two cents,
    Carlo

  3. Well, how about Brussels, Belgium?
    Some venues:
    http://www.square-brussels.com/

    http://www.kinepolisbusiness.com/fr/produits/evenements-sans-film/ (only in Dutch or French), but Microsoft BE used this venue several times for events, its a cinema and presentations can be given on IMAX screens

    http://www.eventbrewery.eu/

    http://www.tour-taxis.com/en/

    All possibilities:
    http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/BE_en/meeting/venues.do?page=1&maxPage=28

    Criterion 1: Airport Access
    The airport is located in Zaventem, not to far from city center and has a train station.
    Trains go to the city center every 15min. (3 stops, Brussels North, Brussels Central and Brussels South). All major airlines accommodate flights to the airport.

    Charleroi airport is a smaller airport, frequented by low-fare companies and a shuttle bus services can bring you to the Brussels South train station.

    Criterion 2: Local Transit
    Trains, Subway, tram, Taxi, public bikes, you name it, all available within the cities boundaries

    Criterion 3: Evening Amenities
    Brussels is not that big of a city (compared to some other European cities). So public transportation can bring you quite fast to any Amenity

    Criterion 4: Price, Quantity, and Quality of Lodging
    From 3* to.... (like almost any 'international' city)

    Criterion 5: Language
    Official languages include Dutch, French and German (not commonly spoken), but within Brussels, because of the European council,... the 2nd most spoken language is actually English

    Criterion 6: Centrality
    localed in the city center, next to train station, subway station, taxi's and other public transportation

    Criterion 7: Accessibility
    All venues in Belgium have a legal requirement to provide easy access for the more disabled people.

    Criterion 8: Appropriateness
    see website

    Hope it helps,

  4. Munich, Germany
    Specific venue: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=145

    1. Munich has a major international airport. Public transport train rides are 40 minutes to downtown.
    There is an additional short hop on the subway (U-Bahn) to the hotel
    Many Europeans travel by train. Munich is a major rail hub with the central railway station
    just a short subway ride from the venue.

    2. Munich has one of the best public transport systems I have seen.
    Inner city map: http://www.mvv-muenchen.de/fileadmin/media/Dateien/plaene/pdf/Netz_2013_A4_.pdf

    3. The entire inner city (pedestrian only zone) with shops, restaurants, cafes etc. is just a few
    subbway stops away.
    Schwabing, a party of the city known for bars night life is also just a few hops on the subway.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwabing
    A 3-day pass for inner city transportation (get on and off as you please) is 14.30 Euros.
    If you want to get around more, a 1-day pass for the entire network is 11.20 Euros.

    4. The hotel and conference facilities have been used by Microsoft Munich in the past.
    I would guess you could find a contact with MS in Germany to get preferred pricing.

    5. Every single person in Germany has English in school. They may not want to speak it
    or do so with a horrible accent (hey, leave me out of this) but they will at least understand.
    Hotel staff in general is required to speak English proficiently.
    I would bet that you can find a number of MS employees in Munich who'd be eager to hang
    with PowerShell team members. These folks usually speak English fairly well.

    6. Munich and Germany are central Europe. I bet there are places more equidistant to all other
    corners in Europe but all things being equal I prefer Munich. Disclaimer: I grew up around there
    and went to college in Munich.

    7. Its a major hotel. Modern. I bet it has all that jazz and more.

    8. http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/meetings/overview_map.html?propertyID=145
    I guess that should fulfill that requirement.

    I haven't been back in Germany since 1997, but if you put the summit there, I will attend and help out.