What is Longhorn PHP?
Members of the Austin PHP Meetup, the longest-running tech meetup in Texas' capital, want to make sure Texas and surrounding states get a world-class conference for the PHP community: Longhorn PHP Conference.
Why now? Why Austin?
Texas has had an amazing community PHP conference for the past few years with Lone Star PHP in the Dallas area, but this was its final year. We're picking up the mantle and moving it a few hours down I-35, to what's arguably the hottest startup town that's not on a coast, with a vibrant tech scene and a strong PHP community.
Plus, we have great tacos...and you've probably heard about the live music.
The main conference will be Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, 2018. We'll also host a tutorial day on Thursday, April 19th.
We'll be hosting the conference and tutorials at the University of Texas Commons Learning Center. The venue is an easy drive or bus ride from downtown (even easier once our latest toll lanes finish construction!) and just south of The Domain, a vibrant new shopping district. The Commons Learning Center gives us plenty of space for talks and tutorials, a big open area to mingle, plentiful parking included in the price of admission, and nearby accommodations that are high-quality without breaking the bank.
Our main goal as a conference is to equip attendees to be better developers. If you work with developers or alongside developers, we'll showcase tools and techniques to level up your ability to solve the problems you face every day.
You'll get to learn from and alongside a diverse group of developers from all over the region, country, and even the globe. Whether you're a junior developer or an experienced programmer, you'll be learning alongside your peers.
You'll get direct access to experts in all aspects of modern web development: security, programming techniques, devops, architecture, database administration, and more.
Potential topics include:
- PHP & Programming Concepts
- Security Essentials
- Database Administration & Performance
- Emerging Tools & Technologies
- System Architecture & Devops
- Testing Strategies & Tools
- Consuming & Writing APIs
- Communication Skills & Career Development
- UI/UX & Front-End Development
- Working With Open Source
By the way, to ensure that our conference environment is respectful of, and safe for, everyone, we'll have a Code of Conduct.
Our goal with this campaign is threefold: generate interest, presell tickets, and get initial sponsors. If you want to help with that last point, look under the Why Sponsor? heading.
Once we complete this campaign (assuming we meet our funding goal), we'll start selling tickets through Tito (you used them if you bought tickets to Lone Star) and we will announce a call for papers to ensure that our speaker lineup is nothing short of amazing.
Note that our goal ($5,000) is an order of magnitude smaller than we'll need to put the conference on. This is because:
- At this point in the planning process we just need to make deposits on some items and cover some smaller expenses like branding and promotion.
- We want to set a goal that we can knock out of the park, so feel free to keep contributing after we meet our funding goal!
- We'd like to give the PHP community a chance to support this event early on.
Where does the money go?
Roughly in descending order of expense:
- Speaker travel + hotel - We believe that prep time for a high-quality presentation is the only financial sacrifice we should ask of speakers, following the standard set by other PHP community conferences. In return, attendees will get multiple tracks of world-class talks
- Conference venue
- Catered meals, plus beverages and snacks throughout the event
- After-hours events, both at the event venue and elsewhere, including food, drinks (both alcoholic and otherwise), and entertainment
- Badges, lanyards, tee shirts (or maybe socks!) and other per-person swag
- A/V equipment, tables, chairs, signs
- WiFi and Parking (we'll pay a discounted rate so y'all won't have to worry about these charges)
- Branding (including our awesome logo) and Promotion
The degree to which we spend on some items (meals, snacks, after-hours events, swag) will be a direct function of the level of sponsorship we get. We're looking forward to giving those sponsors full credit for helping us put on a memorable event.
Which brings us to...
Because you want to support the PHP community in our region, and in doing so gain exposure to a set of talented developers and employers who are investing their time and effort into bettering themselves, and their companies, at their craft. You'll be joining the likes of
- ReviewPush (Bronze)
- PHP Town Hall (Community)
- Nomad PHP (Community)
- Voices of the ElePHPant (Community)
- Day Camp 4 Developers (Community)
- The Development Hell Podcast (Community)
If you employ, recruit, support, or serve web developers in general, PHP developers specifically, or companies that use PHP to solve problems, you want to get in front of these attendees and increase your visibility in the community at large. You'll find an important audience whether you're looking to sell tools or acquire dev talent.
We have a set of sponsorship tiers from $300 to $5000 that encompass a solid suite of sponsor benefits, as well as a la carte options available on request (e.g. speaker dinner sponsorship). We recognize the importance of sponsor contributions for leveling up our conference experience, both this year and in future years, so we'll work to provide a solid ROI for companies supporting our event.
Here are some highlights of the sponsor tiers (benefits listed are additive); contact Ian Littman at firstname.lastname@example.org for a full sponsor prospectus:
- Bronze ($300) - Mention in the sponsor section of our website and via our social media accounts + a code good for one ticket discount post-Kickstarter
- Silver ($1,000) - Mention on the front page of our website, shared table space, a conference ticket for managing that table space, option to raffle an item after the conference closing keynote, and another discount code
- Gold ($2,000) - A table to yourself, your logo on the conference entry sign, multiple items in the final raffle, plus another conference ticket and another discount code
- Platinum ($3,000) - Exclusive sponsorship of a conference meal or after-party, coffee, or snacks, plus another ticket and a couple more discount codes
- Diamond ($5,000) - Guaranteed speaker slot (we'll work with you to make sure your talk is on-topic with the rest of the conference; sponsor is responsible for speaker accommodations), dedicated post-conference thank-you email, plus extra-exclusive sponsorship opportunities above what's available at the Platinum tier
For community projects and podcasts we also have a special $50 tier that allows you to show your support for this conference while providing an avenue for cross-promotion of your project.
Risks and challenges
1. Not Enough Sponsors
We've had sponsor interest (even excitement!) since mentioning that we'll be running this conference. Between this interest, attractively priced sponsor tiers, and other conferences' success in covering expenses, we believe we'll be fine here.
2. Not enough ticket sales
We're expecting 175-200 attendees, many of whom will be buying tickets post-Kickstarter. We'll be marketing the conference aggressively in Texas and the surrounding states, via PHP user groups in those areas, as well as contacts of both the conference organizers and those of Austin's PHP user groups. Our plan is to make the conference attractive enough to bring in folks from outside the region, and maybe even outside the country as well. Hopefully Austin's reputation will help with that!
One thing to note here: if we see minimal interest in the tutorial side of the conference, we'll drop that day from the lineup to make sure we're providing a super solid conference experience to everyone who attends. In that case, we'll refund tutorial tickets, or apply them as a discount to a full conference ticket. But getting awesome speakers to present to packed tutorial rooms is by far our preferred option!
3. Unforeseen event costs
We're in touch with other similar conference organizers, and one member of our organizing team has helped organize LASCON here in town. As such, we've already nailed down many of our costs and will continue to remove uncertainty from the equation as we get closer to the event.
4. Raising too much money
File this one under "good problems to have" :). If we massively overshoot our funding goal, we'll use that money to upgrade aspects of the conference (food, evening events, swag, better signage). If we still have funds left over after that, we'll use them as a seed fund to make next year's conference an even bigger success.
- (30 days)