A very long time ago, and on a planet very unlike the earth we are on now, Thierry sent this email  proposing that after Barcelona, let’s split the OpenStack Summit into what have now come to be known as the Design Summit and a Forum. The email thread that resulted from  was an active one and had 125 responses, along the way Thierry also posted , a summary of the issues and concerns raised.
I had my reservations about the idea, and now, after returning from the first of these, have had some time to reflect on the result.
On the whole, the event was very well done, and I believe that everyone who attended the feedback session had positive things to say about the event, and my congratulations to Erin Disney and the rest of the team at the Foundation. The attendance was a solid 500 to 600 people (I don’t know the exact number) and Thierry must be psychic because he predicted almost exactly that in February .
I did not realize that the foundation had gone as far as to get Starbucks to customize a blend of coffee for us, and to get the Sheraton to distribute in our rooms (image courtesy of Masayuki Igawa, @masayukig).
The format gave attendees the opportunity to get a significant amount of work done both within their own project teams, as well as with other project teams, without the interruptions and distractions of the summit.
I particularly liked the fact that I could attend two days of cross project sessions and then two and a half days of sessions with other projects. By giving projects two or three room-days instead of four or five room-hours dramatically improved the amount of time that projects could focus on their own discussions, and spend on cross project discussions.
Personally, I think the PTG was a success, and seems to have delivered most if not all of the things that it set out to do. Some things outside of our control, certainly outside the control of the foundation have cast a small shadow on the proceedings and we need to seriously consider the consequences of where the next summit and PTG’s are. The location has implication for many attendees, and I think we should seriously consider having remote participation at future events.
From my recollection of the feedback session (unfortunately I don’t have a link to the etherpad, if someone has it, please post a comment with it) everyone had good things to say about the event as a whole. The consensus was that the food was good but cold sandwiches get boring after day 3, the air handlers were noisy, the rooms were too cold (or hot), the chairs were uncomfortable, and there was no soda. That feedback is consistent with organizing an event for 500 people in a hotel or convention facility anywhere in the world. And if that’s all that people could put down in the “needs improvement” section, the event was a huge success.
I think the award for the best picture at the summit (thanks to Thierry for the tweet) goes to the Designate team. I should’ve thought to get a Trove team photo while we were there!