Committee Meeting - 19th April 2016

Ruby Australia Committee Meeting Minutes

19th of April, 2016 - 7:00pm AEST

Held via GoToMeeting

Committee Members Present

  • Leonard Garvey (President)
  • Melissa Kaulfuss (Vice-President)
  • Jo Cranford (Treasurer)
  • Rebecca Skinner (Secretary)
  • Rob Jacoby
  • Lauren Hennessy


  • Amanda Neumann
  • Angus Scown

Actionables from last meeting

  • Mel has contacted a freelance designer about redesigning the Ruby Australia website, but does not yet have a concrete spec to give them, of work we want them to do. Was going to sit down with Amanda and flesh one out but has not had the opportunity. Will set that meeting down as an actionable for this month.
    • Ideas will be shared on Slack also, so it’s a real team effort!
  • Use of the Ruby AU-related Twitter accounts has been good!
    • Kylie has been amazingly awesome in digging up relevant articles to be shared with the community! Big props! <3
  • The call has been put out for more volunteers to help with RubyConf AU, but for now the main goal is to get buzz started, talking about the event.

Sponsorship prospectus update

  • Envato and REA have both put their hand up for a Ruby sponsorship, and were told they could share it for $35,000 each.
  • REA agreed, Envato are still holding out. James (contact at Envato) has been away, so progress has stalled.
  • CultureAmp and Lookahead have both requested Emerald sponsorships.
  • Nothing heard back from reinteractive after the counteroffer made, about a sponsorship mainly consisting of covering InstallFest running costs.
  • Someone to hurry Envato along would be good!
    • Len is happy for REA to “win” the Ruby sponsorship battle, but it would be better if the community won by having more money available for awesome events, of course!
  • Jo has been doing an amazing job of haranguing people to make sure we get money coming in!
  • reinteractive’s sponsorship proposal was a bit of an oddball.
    • Rebecca to chase up Mikel, restarting the discussion about reinteractive’s possible sponsorship of Ruby AU. (Done!)
    • Everyone appreciates what reinteractive does for the community, but at the same time we need to make sure we have the cash moneys to make events possible. We’re not out to make money here, just cover costs!
  • Once the major sponsors are locked in, it would be good to look back and see how things could have been done differently if any, because this is such a new concept for us.

Railscamp Radelaide Update

  • Fine, good! Ticket sales plodding along slowly.
  • Lots of people known to be coming but have not yet bought tickets. Like Len. gasp
    • For a morale boost, prompt these people! People are super lazy and will leave it to the last minute!
  • The activity course - how not-hungover will people have to be to do it?
    • Wait, is it on Saturday or Sunday morning? (Saturday morning!)
    • The website said Sunday morning! To be fixed!
  • The domain name for the website needs to be fixed - Len to help Lauren with that.

RubyConf AU 2017 update

  • A group has formed, of people willing to take on this momentous challenge.
  • The group is meeting next week for dinner, to start throwing around ideas and making plans.
  • Deb, the event planner from the last Melbourne conference, has been enlisted again.
    • At the moment she is looking at venues and their costs.
  • Conference may be slightly larger, and be dual-track for one of the days.
  • Lots of this discussion is taking place in a Slack channel, which anyone in the committee is welcome to listen in on. (Not for public access, sorry!)
  • Date looks like being sometime in February, again.
    • Moomba, Labour Day and the Grand Prix are all in March in Victoria, so March is probably not going to work.
  • Catering is surprisingly expensive in Melbourne!
  • Definitely need to make the conference accessible - to university students, to people new to the community, to people who may not be working and might not have the money for a full-priced ticket.
    • The number of RubyConf Assist and concession tickets has been increased, in the budget
    • This is all still up in the air at the moment, to be discussed by the conference group when they meet next week.
  • Rob will be looking after the website for the next conference.
    • Looking at the possibility of having a design sponsorship for the conference - offering an Opal sponsorship in return for design and build of the conference website, posters, T-shirt, lanyards, etc.
    • Can see if there is some leftover design time for camps as well.
    • Reminder that US conferences operate on an entirely different scale to our little conference - 1600-1700 people attending over there!
    • The group will put it out for tender if they decide to go ahead with the design sponsorship idea.

New website and membership database!

  • Ed has already rebuilt the existing website in Rails.
  • We have a domain name set up that we can use for the new site
    • If Ed can deploy the new site to Heroku, then we can point the beta CNAME at it.
    • Len to sit down and figure that domain name stuff out too!

Possibility to hold AGMs online?

  • It was a thing that was discussed at the last AGM, so are we going to try to do it?
  • Nominations before the camp are definitely a great idea.
    • Ruby NZ had nominations open until 1pm on the Saturday, then the AGM on the Sunday
    • Saves time in the AGM, and also you don’t have to attend camp to be nominated.
    • Also gives people time to think about who to nominate, vote for, etc.
    • Nominees have time to discuss the responsibilities, etc. with existing members
    • A couple of weeks before the camp, we can open up nominations via Slack, Google group, etc. Detail the roles, outgoing members, etc.
    • How will we accept nominations? To be brainstormed and decided at the next meeting.
    • Do we need to have a second for nominations?
  • Holding an AGM online may not be feasible yet, but publishing an agenda before the AGM to prompt people to start thinking about things to discuss in the meeting definitely would be.
    • ‘A-ha’ moments and people discussing whatever pops into their heads is valuable, but giving people time to think about it beforehand is also good.
  • Rebecca is a bit unsure about how AGMs are typically organized and run (and that would be her duty to do, so here come the knowledge bombs)
    • They typically have a more set structure than these informal committee meetings
    • Ratification of the last minutes, reports from various committee members such as treasury, then voting in of new committee members
    • Pat Allan has run them successfully in the past, also having been secretary before
    • Usually a lot of stuff that gets talked about afterwards that is not on the agenda - these are what people should be thinking about beforehand
    • We want to avoid the “3 hours of discussion” part, but still give anyone who wants to turn up the opportunity to ask any burning questions on their mind
    • A couple of weeks before Railscamp, Rebecca will open up a new thread on the Google group detailing the AGM, asking for nominations, etc. Have a living agenda. Prompt people to think of things they might want to ask, which will probably start some discussion.

Railscamp 20?

  • It keeps getting brought up that we would love to have it in Tasmania.
  • If we were to select people to run RC20, at RC19, then the timeframe would be too tight (5 months).
  • It would be best to hold it in late November or very early December, to avoid being close to Christmas.
  • Tasmania would definitely be best for a summer camp - far too cold in winter for those used to warmer climes.
  • Other option is Melbourne, but the conference is also there in early 2017, so let’s spread the love a little.
  • Everyone loves the idea of Tasmania, so next step is to identify some willing Tasmanians to run it!
  • No real hurry, but we know of some to reach out to.

Moving away from the Railscamp brand?

  • Has been brought up as a possible idea, because people get the wrong idea and think it’s only about Rails dev.
  • Any change could also be exclusionary - if you change it to a general ‘web dev’ camp, you exclude people who may write Ruby but aren’t involved in web dev.
  • Maybe just let it be what it is - it seems to be working alright so far.
  • No-one actually programs in Ruby at Railscamp anyway… do they?
    • CampJS is a thing, as is ElixirCamp later this year.

Actionables for next month

  • Mel and Amanda to meet and put together initial ideas of what should be on the new Ruby AU website.
  • Envato to be chased up again about sponsorship.
  • Rebecca to chase up Mikel about reinteractive’s sponsorship
  • Len to assist Lauren with setting up a proper domain name for the Railscamp website, that can be updated for each new camp.
  • Len to talk with Ed about getting the new Ruby AU website running on Heroku under the URL.
  • Rebecca to start sending out reminders 2 weeks out, 1 week out, etc. for committee members so they don’t forget the meetings are on!

This writeup brought to you by the letters R and C, and Rebecca’s cat Scooter who appears about eight times on the meeting recording saying hello. :3