[hackerspaces] [hackerspaces-announce] BruCon in Brussels, Sept. 09

Bkay hacking at security4all.be
Mon Jul 6 01:41:44 CEST 2009

> OTOH  there is a  significant gap  in even  higher prices  for BruCon,
> lasting 2 days only with a 300 EUR slam at door.
> so my  curiosity sounds  kindof "what the  hell are you  preparing for
> that  to cost  so much?"   - because  if it  is something  really THAT
> special i wanna come too :) but unfortunately that wasn't obvious from
> the program.

Did you ever ask for a price for a venue in Brussels? Let me present to you
an example of the offers we got:

  Conference package    Club Package for 250 persons and 2 days € 39,000.00
     Meeting rooms    1 Breakout room at € 975 per day, for 2 days €
1,950.00       Technical equipment    Flipchart Included  Screen Included  LCD
projector in plenary room Included       TOTAL € 40,950.00

Let's say that if 100 people actually show up which is our test case for
this year. And this is only the venue. Potential travel costs of speakers
not included.  That bill is still for the organizers to pay. Yes, I tried to
find a "free" venue, but our time and resources are limited. It is the first
time. We might succeed better if we get some help!!! I reached out to a lot
of the local hackerspaces.... I'm glad that by the day, we're getting more
and more support from people which make this event a really (Belgian)
community event for which I was hoping for.

> allright, what exactly  motivates people to do this  on the long term?
> i mean  if there  will be a  large amount  of money gathered,  how are
> general intentions for investment?
>  i'm  also  on  the board  of  a  dutch  stichting  BTW, which  can  be
> translated to english as non-profit  foundation indeed. so i guess you
> also have a statute? just to save you some time...

I actually had to laugh during the panel discussion when I heard the mention
about the CCC. I also contacted them just to learn from their congress and
maybe better prepare us help for BruCON with a similar goal. I didn't even
want to ask them for financial backing to start this, although that would
have helped us a lot. I prefer help from kindred spirits instead of
"commercial support". The answer was: "we will think about it". So BruCON
started with 0 euro. I'm taking the help where and from who I can take it.

Brucon vzw was founded: vzw is a statute equal to your BTW I guess. We *have
* to publish our financial results each year and the goal of a vzw is not to
make any money. I actually don't know the implication if it does repeatedly.
I think you will loose that statue. I have to check.
 If there is any profit, I want to keep a small bit as an emergency cash?
Why? Because if I lower prices and there will be a bad year, it won't hurt
us that much and nobody will have to need to sell his house. As a vzw, banks
are not allowed to give us any loans and we cannot go negative. If there is
any large profit besides for lowering our prices, we will donate it to the
hackerspaces and the EFF.

The statue of the BruCON vzw was published in the Belgian State Journal and
should be available online somewhere.

*Vereniging zonder winstoogmerk
abbreviated **vzw) or Association sans but lucratif
abbreviated **asbl) means 'non-profit
For international organisations, the equivalent is
It is a formal designation under Belgian<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgium>
law <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law>, and organisations are entered in a
register and allocated numeric identifiers.


> and how much discount that gives?


> the venue is the problem?


> it is not  the first time i  hear that. but then why  don't you detail
> that publicly? that's  what Geert Lovink did at  the opening speech of
> the WinterCamp  this year  (Institute of Network  Cultures), lamenting
> that a venue  in Amsterdam is so extremely expensive  that we will end
> up doing our things somewhere else.
> i think you  are entitled to publish the costs  and to highlight these
> problems, then more people will acknowledge and it will hopefully be a
> step to make things better and more reasonable for everyone.

See above. We have to publish our accounting books publically by the end of
2009. No secrets there. I spend a lot of my time networking for the 2010
edition (if there will be a second edition at all) to improve on it. I'm
trying to make a deal with one of the universities, but it's all highly

> i got a sip from Astera and Philippe. cheers :) i like Duvel, still my
> favourite export is Chimay ;)

I promised Philippe to have a Belgian beer tasting stand at the next HSF. I
will include Chimay!! ;-)

> Just a quick reply to say that this point deserves to be repeated again
and again : A non-profit event/organization has a lot of interest into
disclosing its incomes/costs publicly. I remember being a student and
thinking that everything ought to > be free. Show us the cost problems you
need to solve. Make your problems our problems, it will help us make our
money your money ;-)

Like I said to Jaromil, a Belgian vzw has to disclose their books each year.

> I think that detailing the cost structures can really help make it lower.
People lending things instead of renting them, offering couch-surfing,

Well, people are bringing in network equipment themselves like switches and
cables and the organizers and volunteers are putting some money into it that
they won't be able to recuperate. If you can find me a venue in Brussels
that is

   1. free but guaranteed (a fixed date for sure, even if we don't have a
   contract, don't forget, it's free and you often get what you paid for)
   2. can house 100-200 people
   3. has possibilities for internet connectivity
   4. has some breakout rooms for workshops
   5. has a lounge or cafeteria where people can eat or relax together

Then you have solved 70% of our costs (and thus income prices). If you have
a teleport device which can transport people to Brussels in an instant,
there are no travel costs and it can be completely free!! ;-)

Yes, there is a lot of room to improvement. No one in Belgium has ever tried
to do this before. I'm starting to learn a lot from some of you which I have
met in these last months. And this has given me new insights and maybe
possibilities. If I could go back into the past, I could change some things
for the better. But we have to play with the cards which we have been dealt.
I don't know if I'll have the energy and the courage to do a 2010 edition.
I'm not the only one organizing this of course, but I do a lot of the work.
Hopefully someone will take my place.

I have the dream to start a hackerspace in Antwerp and I want to spend some
time on that dream.

Feel free to brainstorm and comment away!!

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