Interview with Orv Beach @ SCALE

SCALE (Southern CAlifornia Linux Expo) is an event that shouldn’t be missed by anybody who is serious about Linux. Let’s hear what Orv, one of the event’s organisers, has to say!

The interview

Can you explain, in a few words, what SCALE is?

SCALE is a grass-roots free software show, with an expo floor, and several tracks of presentations for attendees. By grass-roots, I mean that the focus is on educating the end user. This year SCALE is happening on the 11th and 12th of February at The Radisson Los Angeles Airport

How has the general public responded to the event?

Our demographics are a bit spotty, but it seems like PC club members (ie, users of mostly Windows) are about 20% of our attendance every year. As far as the free software crowd goes, it’s becoming a big event for them in Southern California. And increasingly we’re getting attendance from out of state, and out of the country.

What’s it like setting up an event of this nature? Has everything been pretty straightforward, or has it been arduous?

This is our fourth Linux expo; we thought we were getting a handle on it until we were forced to shift venues; the move from the Westin LAX to the Radisson LAX caused us to scramble a bit. However, we’re developing a reputation as a good Linux event. As a result, every year it gets easier to attract quality sponsors and speakers. That makes our job easier.

What has been the most exciting moment while organising SCALE?

I think the hotel shift; we were scrambling big time for a few days.

Are there going to be any “surprise speeches”, or unscheduled important events?

Yes, we’ve scheduled one unscheduled important event. ;-)

Come to SCALE and have a blast!

What are your expectations, for the events? What are your goals?

Obviously our goal is to put on a quality event. Generally we achieve that. This year we’ve got some seriously good presentations. Over and above that our goal is 15-20% growth year over year. We’ve come close to that every year.

I think the bottom line is we want everyone that comes to have a great time. And they do—the energy on the expo floor is evident from start to finish.

So what’s changed since last year, how has the show grown?

The move from the LA Convention Center to a hotel venue—we felt a hotel venue would be more intimate and more convenient. And, we’ve expanded our publicity and marketing efforts to try to better get the word out.

SCALE has grown both in the terms of speaker sessions and exhibitors, but also in terms of how we run it. Each year we’ve learned how to do things better, learned from our mistakes and built on our experiences.

Orv Beach

What exhibitor and/or speaker are the event’s chairs most excited to see attend SCALE?

Well, both Aaron Seigo and Dan Kegel will have very pertinent things to talk about when it comes to GNU/Linux on the desktop; they’re must-see speakers. And the distributors of four major GNU/Linux distributions will be there: Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, and Novell (NLD). So you can shop and compare!

Book Competition!

This week we are giving away a copy ofWeb Mapping Illustrated by Tyler Mitchell.

All you need to do to enter is check out the latest book competition announcement on our blogs page.


Thanks go to O'Reilly for providing this fantastic prize.

SCALE is about to start... I guess the countdown has started! Is it getting pretty hectic right now?

There’s always a few exhibitors and speakers who have to cancel at the last minute. Fortunately, we have a few on standby and can generally guarantee filled speaker tracks and every booth in the expo floor filled. Now the rush is on to get the programs and signage printed. And to get the word out! Thanks to the Free Software Magazine for their assistance! Come to SCALE and have a blast!


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