Ruby Australia AGM - 14th June 2015

Ruby Australia Annual General Meeting Minutes

14th of June, 2015 - 2:00pm

Held at Rails Camp 17 - Hawkesbury River Camp

Committee Members Present

  • Sebastian VonConrad - President
  • Pat Allan - Vice President
  • Matt Allen - Treasurer
  • Mikel Lindsaar - Secretary
  • Luke Arndt - Committee Member
  • Rob Jacoby - Ruby Conf Organiser

61 Ruby Australia members present at AGM

Alex Braoner            Amanda Neumann
Amy Simmons             Andre Vidic
Andrew Jennings         Ben Turner
Brenton Annan           Catherine Jones
Dan Cheail              Doug English
Dylan Lacey             Elle Meredith
Elliott Hilaire         Freibius Orth
Garrett Heinlen         Greg McIntyre
Hayley Harvey           James Ottaway
James Saddler           Jason Crane
Jason Weathered         Jo Cranford
Joel Hampton            John Barton
Jonathan Yeong          Josephine Hall
Joss Paling             Keira Hodgkison
Keith Pitty             Kevin Yank
Kym McInerney           Lachie Cox
Lachlan Hardy           Lauren Hennessey
Leonard Garvey          Liam Esler
Liv Galendez            Mario Visic
Melissa Kaulfuss        Merrin Macleod
Michael Kempster        Nicholas Chmielewski
Paul Millar             Perryn Fowles
Phil Oye                Prasanna Joshi
Rachelle LeQuesne       Rebecca Skinner
Richie Khoo             Rob Jacoby
Robert McNeil           Rufus Post
Ryan Bigg               Ryan Pauley
Samuel Cochran          Shevaun Coker
Silvio Montanari        Steve Gilles
Tim Lucas               Toby Hede
Wayne Robinson

Introduction by Vice President - Patt Allan

Apologies - Keith Pitt and Melanie Sherrin

Motion previous minutes proposed by Pat Allan, Seconded by Mikel Lindsaar. Unanimously passed.

Treasurer Report - Matt Allen

Treasury is in healthy state. Ruby Conf approximately $30k profit. Tried to break even. About $100k in the bank and we are thinking about ways to put some of this back in the community. Trying to run events as neutral as possible.

President Report - Sebastian VonConrad

Time for Ruby Australia to take the next step and start to expand the reach of Ruby in Australia.

Want to get to 3 focus areas to spend time and effort on.

a) Get better at running events. It’s hard work to do camps. People who have done previously tend to not want to do again. I think we can do a better job at running events. First focus should be better knowledge transfer from one event to another. Not good at the admin (and accounting) side. Doing OK, but can do better. Lots of services the committee and organisation can provide to event organisers to make it easier to run.

b) Help new people get into the community. People want to do Rails Girls and other events. We need to help them get a good result on that. Help them get it setup. Also to help co-ordinate and run meetup groups. Meetup is used for invoicing in Melbourne and using the platform, to help do this around Australia instead of just Melbourne. We need to help do this.

Robert Jacoby: Is there something we have an official list of all the meetup groups in Australia?
President: Yes.
Vice President: There is something on the website already.

c) Focus on promoting Ruby to businesses. May seem counter intuitive, due to the senior developer supply and demand problem. So why would we ask that more companies use Ruby? Want to make sure companies in the future continue to choose Ruby over other technologies and not run into a supply and demand problem. There is a place for Ruby Australia to promote Ruby. Traditionally Ruby Australia has been internally focused.

Joss Paling: What languages are they switching to?

President: “PHP, .Net.”

Secretary: Have had 3 prospective clients of ours move to .Net, Java and PHP.

Elle Meredith: At my consultancy when we finish project we help place a developer. Also new people getting and having juniors can be solved by having apprenticeship program bringing in new members.

President: Yes. Can be solved many ways.

As President, I want to propose the 3 things we want to focus on in 2015-2016. One of the cool things about these conversations is we get a lot of people asking to help more than we have committee posts open. Good and bad. So we are going to put together working groups to help out on these things without having to be committee members to be part of helping on these 3 things (events, community, business).

We have 5 positions open today. Please stick your hand up. Want to set expectation that we are having a more active and more purposeful expectation. Should have the expectation of 1-2 hours per week over the term on average.

One of the things we have had previously is a tradition of the camp organisers on the committee. I would like to change this. I think it would be better to have the committee to be focused on Ruby Australia and camp and conference organisers be focused on the camp and conf work. 6 months is camp work and is intense and 6 months after don’t seem to be super keen.

John Barton: I am formally retiring on Melbourne Rails Camps.

Lachie Cox: I agree with the camp organisers not being committee members, but is there any real overhead? Can’t we just add more slots?

Treasurer: It’s hard to organise 6 individuals already, adding more makes it harder

President: Better to keep camp and conf stuff in one focused chat

Luke Arndt: Put hands up to one or more working groups, will we allocate that now?

President: I don’t think we need to get that accurate. Election is what we should focus on.

Secretary: Working groups / sub committee will be ad hoc and people wanting to help on that.

Andre Vidic: Talking about leading structure, is that going to be happening today? Will the structure be set?

President: There is no structure change. There are still 4 office holders and there are 3 areas we want to focus on. So the people nominating should be part of that.

Andre Vidic: Those 3 areas are national right? So the focus should be national?

President: Correct.

Lachie Cox: There’s a lot of things about transparency in the charter, how does this work?

Secretary: A committee member will chair the working group / sub committee, which then keeps the transparency is in place.

Len Garvey: On the point on getting it done. Was very stressful. I think the committee could give more support on this.

President: Agreed, this camp is not the model on how this should happen and Ruby Australia should definitely push more and this is the first focus.

Andre Vidic: How will it get done and how would it work? Sounds like we would have the committee supporting in those areas, how do the decisions get made? How does that individual get supported? How do they call on the committee on how to support?

President: Specific example?

Andre Vidic: Help the individual making the different decision about an event?

President: For specific events, event organisers have almost complete control, committee decisions will be reserved for key overall decisions. What we are talking about is camp organisers have as much support as possible to get it done.

Treasurer: To add to that, this first step is documenting in a specific way in how to do it, timeline for how to launch an event etc.

Rob Jacoby: “Little experience with running the conference, how to get access to the twitter account / Github account.”

Rufus Post: Why haven’t we used a professional events company?

President: We have for Ruby Conf.

Rufus Post: But Rails Camp?

President: Maybe, personal opinion, if these were organised by pro companies, the personality and magic might be compromised. I think we come down to what are the things we want to be super easy and how do we alleviate that pain? We should get professional help now that we are financial. For example we are now getting a bookkeeping service in place.

Elle Meredith: In a different group I am involved in, they have a google docs guide books and a basecamp for each thing and a 1 password account for sharing.

Vice President: There is some of that and we should formalise it further.
President: We can do much more, we don’t suck completely, but we can improve.

Luke Arndt: Speaking about working groups and focusing on specific areas. Would it be worth having specific committee members?

President: That is the plan.

Richard Khoo: How many people are we electing?

Vice President: 5 roles, Vice President and 4 general members.

Vice President: If we are not having camp organisers in the committee, should we make the same choice with conference organiser? They have a lot on their plate already.

Treasurer: We ran a conference and the committee got no love while the conference was on.

President: Yes, though the camp organiser can choose to also run for committee, but they need to understand it is two roles.

Dylan Lacey: Is the plan to put together a working groups with 3 well defined working goals?

President: Yes. But not at this meeting, first order of business after today.

Secretary Report - Mikel Lindsaar

Briefing on Installfest and DevHub. Since the Ruby on Rails Installfest was created by reinteractive in April 2013, we have introduced 755 people to Ruby on Rails, some of which are here today, and of those 171 were women. I see this as a significant achievement, however we need to take this a step further.

reinteractive will be relinquishing control of the Installfest and Development Hub and instead these will be run by Ruby Australia with reinteractive remaining the principal sponsor. It is hoped that by doing this, we can reach even more people, helping them find out about Rails and get things started.

Treasurer: I want to formally acknowledge Mikel Lindsaar and reinteractive on making this early stuff with Ruby expansion in Australia happen, I want you to know we really appreciate it.

Mikel Lindsaar: Thank you

Event Reports

Ruby Conf 2015 Report - Pat Allen

Ruby Conf 2015 - it went well. Approximately 480 attendees including volunteers and speakers. Sold out with approximately $30,000 profit.

Ruby Conf 2016 Report - Rob Jacoby

Ruby Conf 2016 will be on the Gold Coast. Things are going well. Launch website July 1st. CFP to launch Aug 1st with ticket sales. CFP closes end of September. Announce speakers mid October. We started at 450 total tickets, venue will take up to 1,000, we have big potential to increase if need be. Please contact with information about what you want to hear speaking wise.

Rails Camp Perth - Pat Allan

Keith Pitt is not here, it went well, ice cream truck was awesome. Successful event.

Rails Camp 2016 Hawkesbury - Len Garvey

Some of this is preliminary. Last time run, we were making a $2k profit, looks like we will break even though as purchased extra drinks. This is the largest Rails Camp ever at 170 people, logistics were a challenge with no road access. Sponsorship was handled by Keith. Would have been good to get ticket prices down further, but the cost of the event prevented this. We helped mitigate it by several sponsors stepping in to do discounted tickets. Learnt about many things which we can help future camps with and would like to pass on this knowledge.

Luke Arndt: Heartfelt thank you.

Rails Camp 2016 Canberra - Josephine Hall

Being put on by Josephine Hall and Tim Riley. December 11-14 in Canberra. Venue organised. Same venue as 2010. Have a slide for tomorrow morning.

Next Rails Camp - Vice President

We try to share camps around Australia. The two locations we have never done is Northern Territory (we don’t know anyone there). Adelaide and Tasmania are arguably next. We need people from those areas to step up, if not enough interest, then possibly Melbourne. Does not have to be done now.

John Barton: Lord Summers camps very interested in continuing holding Rails Camps in Melbourne, will hand over the relationship.

Dylan Lacey: I want to speak about John’s point. Relationships with camp sites are really important. Was hard to get across the idea on how it works to the venue managers. Existing venue makes it easier.

James Sadler: Staff at Hawkesbury said this was really easy and cool.

Richie Khoo: Perhaps get camp references.

John Barton: Lord Summers camp said they would be a reference.

Greg McIntyre: So much wisdom, we really need to write this up, would help tip me over the edge on running another camp.

Joss Paling: Does running the event at the same venue reduce costs?

John Barton: Yes. But the bar is always raising on RailsCamp quality and facilities which pushes costs up.

Lachie Cox: People get burnt out, best intentions. But someone needs to help capture the information.

Keith Pitty: Need a working group to do that. Committee has needed to do that. First time Ruby Australia has said they would do this.

President: Ruby Australia’s job will be to extract this, this is part of the first point I want to handle this year.
Elle Meredith: Suggest using Github for Rails Camp guide and conference guide.


Vice President Role plus 4 general members being elected. Process, Nominations: Ask and then get a second. All the committee members will be involved in working groups. Are allowed to abstain

Nominations for the VP role.

  • Len Garvey self nominated - Pat Allen seconded
  • Rob Jacoby self nominated - Freibius Orth seconded
  • Melissa Kaulfuss - nominated by Liam Esler and seconded by Amanda Neumann
  • John Barton self nominated - Dan Cheail seconded
  • Pat Allan nominated, but is stepping down and refused nomination

Each of the nominees gave a briefing on what they wanted to achieve in the role.

Silent vote held by a show of hands.

Lachlan Hardy: I am opposed having two people from the same company. Want to raise this as a modification for the next AGM.

Highest count in silent vote was in Melissa Kaulfuss as the Vice President role.

General Member Permissions.

All three people who stood for Vice President nomination also asked to be general member nominations:

  • Len Garvey - Pat Allen seconded - NSW - Want to make events easier to run
  • John Barton - Dan Cheail seconded - Melbourne - Interested in business / external
  • Rob Jacoby - Freibius Orth seconded - Gold Coast - Events run well and better
  • Amanda Neuman - Nomination by Luke - seconded Liam - Melbourne - Getting people in
  • Merrin McCleod - John Barton seconded - NZ / Sydney - Started RG in Wellington & Auckland and RNZ committee member
  • Dylan Lacey - Steve Gilles seconded - Brisbane - Ruby community in general and commercial
  • Ryan Bigg - Garrett Heinlen seconded - Melbourne - Camps and community and new people
  • Toby Heade - James Saddler seconded - Sydney - background for higher education, universities to do Ruby
  • Andrew Harvey - Mikel Lindsaar nominated, seconded by Sebastian Von Conrad - Sydney - Wanted to step up and help the community grow
  • Rachelle LeQuesne - Rob Jacoby seconded - Brisbane - Involved in building the community & Rails Girls Brisbane
  • Garret Heinlen - Elle Meredith Seconded - Sydney - Involved in events, help get sponsors
  • Andre Vidic - Michael Kempster seconded - Melbourne - Treasurer of Young Engineers Victoria Assoc. help bring more interest
  • Brenton Annan - Lachie Cox seconded - Hobart - Tasmania is under represented, want to help expand this
  • Rebecca Skinner - Mikel Lindsaar seconded - Perth - Want to change the reach in WA
  • Dan Cheail - Pat Allen seconded - Melbourne - Strong feelings about increasing numbers commercial
  • Jo Cranford - Kevin Yank seconded - Melbourne - Worked with Rails Girls, passionate about juniors and get roles

Voting was held with everyone’s eyes closed in a silent vote. Votes were counted both by the Vice President and Secretary.

New General Committee Members voted in were:

  • Amanda Neuman
  • John Barton
  • Len Garvey
  • Rob Jacoby

General Business

Mikel Lindsaar: Perth Installfest - need location and help. Please contact Rachelle if you have any ideas.

Liam Esler: Would like to do a survey of all developers in Australia, to help target, is happy to helpanonymised external, motion to create a proposal on this point, passed and approved

Secretary: We will make the process public, representation and company. Mikel Lindsaar to take it on, via Github.

Lachie Cox: What can we do to improve transparency?

Secretary: Committee meetings will be public and available for anyone to dial in and minutes will be publicised on github.

Elle Meredith: Mailing list is better place for community to raise and increase discussion.

Greg McIntyre: Acknowledge Lucy Bain, has done a lot of work with Rails Girls. Could be helped used to train juniors.

Elle Meredith: This camp was quite a lot more expensive - to keep rails camps to $260-$270.

Len Garvey: I agree. There were many reasons for the price including access and location. Agreed we could make this better in the future.

Mike Robinson: Lots of cash in the bank and every one is a volunteer. Perhaps some of the money could be used to pay for staff.

Treasurer: Sure, but there’s only $100k in the bank, once you start paying for staff that will evaporate very fast.

Dylan Lacey: Would like to pass a motion to allow for members to suggest ways to improve the community?, seconded and approved.

Richie Khoo: President prepare a Mandate statement for each of the sub-committees. seconded and approved.

Secretary: Move to end this Annual General Meeting, seconded and approved.

Meeting finished at 5:15pm

Post AGM New Committee Meeting

Brief meeting was held, and initial allocation of committee members to each of the 3 broad plans was decided:

  • Business Development: John Barton and Mikel Lindsaar
  • Conference & Camp Knowledge: Len Garvey, Rob Jacoby and Melissa Kaulfuss
  • New People into Ruby: Mikel Lindsaar, Len Garvey and Melissa Kaulfuss

Also agreed to hold dial in call on Wednesday nights around 7pm. Exact date in July to be confirmed, will advertise the dial in number on the mailing list once confirmed for any Ruby Australia member to dial in.