2010Q3 Grant Proposal: SF.pm Funding

Category: Grants

Comments (15)

Hello, Fred.

While I understand your request I do not think that TPF GC or the Community will support it. Namely, because there are hundreds of PM groups that would love to request the same support.

In any case, let us wait for comments :)

If this grant is accepted, then we can expect dozens of similar grant proposals next round. What will be used to decide which group deserves funding and which are on their own?

I think this would be a very bad precedent to set.

I agree that funding this would be set a bad precedent.

If TPF wants to fund Perl Mongers groups, I think that should be done as a separate program, with a separate funding pool.

I can see funding for PM groups being useful, but I imagine this would be a smaller amount ($200-500 per group) for kickoff meetings, small amounts of advertising, etc.

Also, it might be more economical for TPF itself to advertise many PM groups (perhaps with an adwords campaign).

I agree with the comments posted by Ricardo and autarch. No other Perlmonger group is subsidized by the Perl Foundation. If we were to subsidize such a group, it should be a group in a poor country, not a group in the heart of the most affluent part of the high-tech industry.

Moreover, I know of no other Perlmonger group that subsidizes the cost of food and beverages for its meetings.

At various times london.pm has managed to get sponsorship (ie free beer!) from firms or recruitment agencies keen to raise their profile and lure in better interview candidates. For example, Net-A-Porter have sponsored techmeets and socials. Are there really no firms recruiting in SF who wouldn't be up for some highly visible sponsorship?

My local PM was down to intermittent meetings with only six or seven people at the beginning of last year/end of the year before. We were able to build a strong schedule and improve attendance to averaging 30 some-odd people a meeting by changing around the meetings. We diversified our meetings to talk about additional topics (Git, Mercurial, HTML 5, etc). Additionally, we found a couple agencies in town that were willing to fund the occasional set of pizzas. We found a better meeting place. Now we have stronger attendance from both Perl and non-Perl developers and that is actually helping us to monger Perl.

While I realize that San Francisco is a considerable tech hub, there are PM groups all over the world that could use help too, and for much cheaper. If I remember correctly there was even a BOF at YAPC this year that was setup to talk about how to improve attendance at PM meetings. It would not be reasonable to try and fund them all or just specific ones through TPF grants.

However, it would be nice if the TPF could help PM groups get in touch with possible sponsors in their coverage area and have tips and tricks for running a PM. Perhaps hosting a forum for PM groups to use to talk about what talks are and aren't drawing interest in their area would also be nice. I don't know how much of this is plausible.

I'd like to address the comments concerning that this grant could set a bad precedent, and cause additional groups to seek subsidization from TPF.

SF.pm has grown significantly over the past couple of years, and is getting beyond the means that I can provide to support it. I consider this growth to be a success metric for SF.pm, and want to continue that growth. If you visit our hub website at http://www.meetup.com/San-Francisco-Perl-Mongers/, you can witness that growth and see that we are becoming largely successful there.

I don't expect this grant to set a bad precedent for any other PM group to seek funding. I do expect it to set a good precedent for other PM groups who have shown exemplary growth and success with their groups to seek funding. The ones that go forth and build up a group significantly using their own resources, and then seek help from TPF to grow the group additionally, should receive funding in my opinion.

Fund success, not speculation. The recent change in TPF policy to only issue funds after success has been shown for a project are 100% relevant here. I'm not looking for perpetual funding here for SF.pm; this is only one grant application for a modest amount. I think that the success we have demonstrated is worth backing. If this does result in a number of other PM groups growing themselves significantly over the course of a couple of years, and then coming to TPF with a grant proposal to help get over that growth stage to other sponsorship, isn't that an even bigger win for the Perl community?

Hi, Matt Lanier, SF.pm founder, here. Thanks for considering Fred's proposal.

I fully understand, respect, and agree with the concern that providing funding to a PM group opens the door to funding requests from other PM groups. As a parent, if I give a cookie to one child, there is indeed pressure to give a cookie to my other child as well.

The risk of relying solely on that reasoning, though, is that no cookies will ever be distributed unless there are enough for everyone, now and in perpetuity; in this case, that means that because insufficient Perl Foundation funds exists to support all *.pm groups, no .pm group will ever receive any Perl Foundation support. That would be a decision to withhold support from one of perl's foundational and successful outreach programs, and would be quite unfortunate.

Alternatively, Fred proposes (and I agree with this proposal) that reasonable criterion could be established for supporting a .pm group, such as:

(*) longevity
(*) growth in attendance
(*) vision for outreach programs beyond periodic meetings

Having created SF.pm when I asked BDFoy where the SF group was to be told "you're it!", seen literally thousands of dollars donated/not recovered by its chain of leaders (me, Quinn Weaver, and now Fred Moyer), and helped it hang on during perl's hard years, I can personally attest that this is a successful Perl Mongers group that is and will continue to be instrumental in maintaining an active perl presence in the Bay Area. I humbly request that the Perl Foundation evaluate Fred's request for support via well thought out criterion that aim to further success by supporting success.


Matt Lanier

I agree with both Fred and Matt that saying "if we approve this grant then lots of people will make similar grants" is a bad way to go about judging a proposal. That same attitude can apply to any other grant that TPF does and should fund.

If you don't think the grant would help the Perl community or that it's a waste of money, then those are valid arguments.

One criticism of this grant that I have is that it doesn't seem to have a long-term view. Instead of just asking for money to fund SF.pm for the next year, how about asking for funding to help SF.pm acquire more funding (like Nicolas Clark mentions). This might involve helping SF.pm to continue to function for a few months, but should ultimately result in SF.pm not having to come back to TPF to ask for more money next year.

One of the major reasons for this grant is to get more visibility and growth for SF.pm, and get it to a level to where it is attractive to corporate sponsors. Right now the group is about 200 members; which is a good number, but not entirely attractive to a recruiter or corporation who wants to get in front of a really big audience. They look at us, then they look at the SF Ruby Meetup group (2,000+) or PHP (1,000+), and they see much larger groups which are better choices for sponsorship.

Funding from TPF helps us grow to that level of being attractive to sponsors. And in a way it puts a big stamp of approval on SF.pm and makes us legitimate in the eyes of those who would seriously consider contributing to the group in a supporting role. If SF.pm were a startup, we're gotten through the stage of 'friends and family' funding, and are now looking for a seed round to grow to the point where we can attract major sponsors and establish ourselves as a serious tech presence. Our success or failure there I think would establish a watermark on whether or not this type of grant would be useful to other fast growing PMs also.

Just wanted to say a big Thank You! This will speed up my work rate.

Hi, I'm a current sf.pm member from before Fred's time. Just before his tenure, we were an informal gathering, generally around half-a-dozen people, with occasional speakers boosting attendance. Fred's done a great job of making the meetings more appealing and valuable to a wider audience, with smart, interesting industry and CPAN luminaries presenting nearly every month. It's a good trajectory and should be nurtured. And, in the big picture, pm groups get more people spending more time working effectively in Perl- which eventually feeds back into TPF.

I suggest that this proposal not be rejected out of hand. Once a pm group reaches a certain size, it needs help getting to the next level.

Please think about how TPF can help Perl mongers organize and further community growth.

I understand why some people do not like this idea. Ideally, Perl Mongers' meeting should not use TPF money, rather it should be a place for TPF fundraising :)

That said, I feel Fred Moyer's pain. And If I were Fred, I would have done the same thing--asking TPF for support. It should be also considered that Fred and co. already have helped SF.pm financially.

It is a bad thing if TPF is using donated money to let people drink beer. On the contrary, it is certainly a good thing if TPF is using the money to grow Perl user community.

I suggest that TPF should approve this proposal and similar proposal in the future after measurable success criteria are defined (such as "50 people on average attend the meeting in 2011"). If the success criteria are not met, payment will not be made in the same way as other failed grants.

Several times a year, I drive two hours to attend my "local" Perl Mongers group in St. Louis. Why? Interesting speakers on interesting topics. See Matt Follet's post above.

How about setting up a "Perl hub" fund, instead? Something that can be made available to all .pm groups that have reached a certain set of (easily measurable) criteria?

That would limit the expenses somewhat, and (with luck/careful planning) help as a motivation for other .pm groups to grow and thrive. And when the eventually reach a level of activity that is good enough, the extra funding might help to take it a little further (e.g. by allowing the group to organize events, host speakers or buy marketing material.)

FWIW, I'd love to se SF.pm work as a pilot project for a scheme like this. :)

- Salve (Oslo.pm)

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