Subzero1037

Chicago-a-con

90 posts in this topic

I would like to come. I live in Indiana, but I have been to Chicago and it definitely owns anything we have. Any con close to me would be awesome.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be down for helping out with setup and whatnot before/after the con. I don't live nearly near enough to attend/help with logistics, but I could make a few trips out if you needed the help.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I support you 500%. Being here from st. louis that'll be an east trip up 270. If ya need any research done let me know.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in Kalamazoo, MI (about 2 hours away) and would be willing to come\help. Let me know via email ryan dot r dot cummings at gmail dot com

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would definitly go, but I'm still trying to convince my parents to let me go to the 2600 meeting...

BTW: I live in the palos orland area if anyone is curious

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I'll have updates for everyone about this soon... I think the idea has shifted a bit to make it different than other Cons... Every con follows the same guidelines so I gotta mix it up if I have one, Im tired of having the same old thing at every con.

SO once I sit down next week with some planning people at the McCormick Place here in Chicago to talk logistics, I'll know what Ill need to get this going.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, whats the word?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh hell yeah man I'd totally goto something like that. Its always pissed me off that there is no cons what so ever in the midwest. The nearest one Ive seen is that one in Ohio (I forget the name)

Considering I'm an hour Metra train ride from Chicago (thats how I get to Chi2600 for the few times I've gone) it would definetly be up for something like that.

Definetly keep me posted as to how I can help out. I can always bring some type of equipment or assist in organizing the event.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm defiantly down. I'd be willing to help out with whatever I could too. I'm about a half hour south of Chicago myself, so travel isn't an issue.

Edited by Blooregard
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally forgot about this topic. I'm still very interested in a Chi Con and am more than willing to help out however I can.

Have you got a location figured out yet, or at least have it narrowed down? I think the loop would be great but I know it's going to cost quite a bit more than having it somewhere else in the area. Keep us updated.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WELL.... the original idea of the CON has switched a little... in the meantime, Im trying to see how many rich people can give me money to do this because it is going to be expensive unfortunately. BUT I promise im still working and looking into things. The way we have it planned... We are looking at either the McCormick Place or Navy Pier Convention area to hold this...

Thanks again for everyones support and I'll deffinately be needing all your help when its said and done.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

McCormick would be nice. I set up for a boat show there 2 years ago. I don't know if all shows are the same, but the Internet access they offered was quite expensive. My boss was cheap and did serial over PSTN so I don't know about the HSD quality but from what I remember it was expensive. Also, the Teamsters bitch if you try to do your own wiring...even low voltage.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You sure you want to hold it at one of those places?

I'd say for the first year at least, to go with a hotel near O'Hare, maybe the Hyatt/Rosemont Convention Center. I'm sure the cost would be much more reasonable.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've looked at different hotels and places to hold this. MY problem is this... Nothing that I do, I do small... It went from the original CON idea to this new morphed idea of probably one of the most kick ass conventions the world has yet to see... the only problem is finding some funding :)

BUT like I said Im working on it.

Why do things if you can't do them right... :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Chicago. I'd be glad to help in any way I can. I know some people here in Chicago and in the suburbs who are very involved in the planning and running of conventions, mostly anime and sci-fi cons, but though the fan bases are a bit different, the basic principles are the same.

The main reasons I'd go with a place in Rosemont are:

The first year will probably have a smaller attendance than most of your well-established cons. You have to have a large enough attendance to pay for the con's overhead, so for the first year you want to keep costs down. I believe that holding the con at a hotel in Rosemont would be less expensive, so it'd be less work to raise the necessary seed money.

Also, large cons tend to attract a lot of out-of-town attendees and guests (especially hacker cons--a lot of people to travel long distances for those) and the Rosemont area is right next to O'Hare International Airport so the trip from the airport to the con would be very short--the el stops within half a mile of the Hyatt Hotel/Rosemont Convention Center.

The Hyatt hotel and Rosemont Convention Center are attached, so that would eliminate further travel hassles. Most of the guests could easily stay right at the Hyatt.

If you hold the thing at, say, McCormick, it'd be in a very busy yet sort of rough neighborhood, several miles south of the Loop. McCormick Place has few hotels nearby, and people would have to take taxis to and from the Center from the hotels in the Loop. Not to mention that everything is more expensive downtown, from hotel rates to fast food to entertainment. That situation is fine for businessmen who are traveling on big expense accounts, but for your average hacker on a budget it would be rather cost-prohibitive.

Rosemont has many other hotels besides the Hyatt, with a wide variance in price. Most of these are well within reasonable walking distance from the Rosemont Convention Center. If some people can't afford a room at the Hyatt, for instance, the Double Tree is nearby and even a Holiday Inn is right across the street.

Also, if you have the con at a hotel you can have 24-hour programming. McCormick and Navy Pier both close at night, forcing the guests to split up and taxi it back to their respective hotels, miles away.

Besides, McCormick is kind of a dinosaur. Too big to be really useful for a hacker con, the security there are known to be complete dickwads. Also, you'll be prohibited from selling any food or refreshments in the place (same thing goes for Navy Pier), forcing the con-goers to buy their ridiculously overpriced food and drinks.

Believe me, holding the con downtown would be more trouble and expense than it's worth. Rosemont is like an hour from downtown Chicago by el, so if people want to go downtown, it's still very easily done.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being at Navy Pier would be really nice for all the people that would be visiting Chicago for the first time. But as URL said it really doesn't seem like a solid idea to have it at either McCormick or Navy Pier. A hotel is really what makes the best sense, something preferably away from the "wrong elements" of Chicago. Something downtown (loop) is going to be outrageous in cost for people who are getting rooms unless you get some sort of deal for reservations. I like the idea of staying at the same place, or very close, to where the convention takes place.

As much as Navy Pier or McCormick sound cool, and give the con a "BIG DEAL" type of image, I don't know how feasible it really is.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah... I totallly agree with everything you said... AND to be honest I've already talked to several people as far as pricing for hotels conventions around the rosemont/ohare area.

THE only thing is that... The convention kinda took a turn. Hacking conventions are cool and all but we were looking for something to set it apart from every other hacking convention out there... and its hard to do since there are several now.

SO in order to do this we had to switch the whole convention idea around a bit. NOW its kinda evolved a ton... to this new idea we have, in which the only place we'd be able to hold something like this would be at Navy Pier or McCormick place. Im not worried about filling up the space... I can do it hands down

On the plus side... public transport from either of the airports is cheap as shit. $2 can get you all the way to where you need to be. Secondly, the appeal of the big city is that its in a big city. I could hold a convention in the middle of Illinois or in the suburbs for hella cheaper. HOPE and Vegas are both way more expensive as far as convention prices for food and entertainment opposed to Chicago prices. If you want, we can get together sometime and start planning some stuff out.

As of right now Im going to appologize for not giving more details about the convention. When I say were pushing for big budget i really mean we're looking at a couple hundred thou+. Like I said before, If im not gonna do it right Im not going to waste my time on it....

The one thing I can promise... This is going to be probably one of the biggest conventions the hacker world and internet have seen :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does seem that most of these con's take on the same basic pattern. When considering going to a Con I don't even consider what will be there as far as the Con anymore, it's about who is going to be there. This is mostly because they all seem the same to me. I'm definitely like the idea of something new, and BIG, and hope that funding will come along. Hopefully since your a world famous love expert people will be interested in handing you suitcases full of money so you and your hacker friends can have a good time.

I'd love to hear some of your ideas, if even privately (not in forums) and you know I will lend hand with anything I can. It only takes me a few hours to get over to Chicago.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Chicago area hackers, I am one of the volunteers at the dai5ychain hacker space in Chicago, which is an events platform with a full open source linux computer lab, projection rooms, and a storefront, all of which occupies an old greenhouse flowershop building in the PIlsen neighborhood of Chicago.

Although the space holds regular hacker workshops, (amongst other alternative community projects), the computer lab is open to the public from 11 to 6 on monday through friday. It is an ideal place for techies or hackers to give presentations, workshops, collaboration, or otherwise hold large events or conferences.

Having helped with previous gatherings and conferences, and having a large 'base of operations' in chicago, we are inviting groups to help organize future conferences, or regular classes/workshops, at the dai5ychain community computer lab.

Why is renting out hotel space a bad idea:

* It would involve a lot of additional time setting up network infrastructure and public computers for the festival, when there are already community hacklabs set up in the Chicago area that could be enhanced and built

* It would cost a lot to rent the space for only a few days, and have to deal with managers and security guards, while a more adequetly equipped community space is already available for free by involved hackers and activists

* It would prevent people coming regionally to have a chance to actually visit and explore Chicago's neighborhoods, also, it would burden people coming to the conference with additional fees for private hotel rooms + cover the cost of renting the space, which could go to equipment or otherwise.

Why collaborating with dai5ychain for the space and other projects:

* already an involved community of people prepared to research, present, and do hands on workshops on various topics

* the space is large, can emcompass dozens to possibly hundreds of people, and can have several 'tracks' of presentations and workshops in multiple rooms (the computer lab, the projection/presentation room, the greenhouse workshop area, the storefront, a courtyard, etc).

* would be entirely free and not have to charge visitors to pay for hotel space (teaching and sharing should be free - more people would show up, or feel welcome to participate in the conference)

* there are several dozen computers set up with a variety of operating systems, mostly open source, also has a scanner, printer, lan/wan, sound system, projector, file sharing server, and a wide array of computer parts ready to help build and fix additional machines).

If chicago hackers are seriously interested in making a large national conference with organized tracks and focused workshops, consider checking out existing networks of hackers who would be better equipped to help organize for a truly amazing and constructive weekend of action.

For people interested in the dai5ychain space, or the regular hacker gatherings and workshops:

email list at http://www.chicagolug.org/lists/listinfo/chicago-hacktavism

space info at http://www.dai5ychain.net

past workshops at http://hackmeeting.dai5ychain.net or http://hackmeetingwiki.dai5ychain.net

or contact whooka@gmail.com (hack this site) or racter@gmail.com (jake at dai5ychain)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Molotov: :D Thanks for the threadjack :-p lol no I've already been in contact with some of the daisychain people... ;) way ahead of you on that one

Bizurke: YO thats cool man, I think Scheda is moving up to Chicago sometime soon and he's helping us with a bunch of stuff right now im gonna throw him in this idea sometime too...

I really really really want to pull this together. To be honest its one of those things that I've always wanted to do and now im in a perfect place to get it done. Unfortunately my mind doesn't like to think small BUT it also means im not going to settle for something shitty. Hehe I could easily drop a couple thou and rent out a hotel... I want this to be an experience... not just a con

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Chicago area hackers, I am one of the volunteers at the dai5ychain hacker space in Chicago, which is an events platform with a full open source linux computer lab, projection rooms, and a storefront, all of which occupies an old greenhouse flowershop building in the PIlsen neighborhood of Chicago.

Although the space holds regular hacker workshops, (amongst other alternative community projects), the computer lab is open to the public from 11 to 6 on monday through friday. It is an ideal place for techies or hackers to give presentations, workshops, collaboration, or otherwise hold large events or conferences.

This is a great idea for the first year of the con, having it in a place that already has an infrastructure and won't take a ton of work and huge dollar amounts to set up. But how many people can this place really accomodate? You have to ask, what's your budget for promotion, and what can you realistically expect for you first year's attendence?

If you can expect an attendance of say 2,000 - 3,000 (a respectable figure for a first-year con) I think that a hotel is not the worst option at all. They're already set up to handle a lot of people, clean up messes, etc. All large hotels have restaurants and bars on premise, and your guests have a comfortable place to stay that is right in the middle of the action. And a hotel is not likely to be really limiting to your attendance.

To give you an idea of how big a convention can be done at a large hotel: a good friend of mine was Head of Registration for Anime Central, the Midwest's largest anime/manga con. This year's con (held on May 5-7) had an overall attendance of 11,500. That's a lot of people. I'd say that even though it was crowded, they could have easily accomodated an additional 1/3 that amount without much trouble, except (of course) a proportional increase in the size of the registration LAN, and especially the number of security personnel. In a big con, security is always going to make up the vast bulk of your staff personnel. At most cons, the security jobs (like most other positions) are volunteer jobs, compensated with free attendance, hotel accomodations and maybe meals.

McCormick and Navy Pier present some major obstacles for 1st year cons. There's a long waiting list and a very strict budget requirement.

Then there are some serious practical issues, not the least being that none of the guests, dealers or display booth renters will be allowed to move anything in or out by themselves. The rules are that ALL moving of any stuff within the venue must be done by Teamsters. This goes for everybody--all guests' or dealers' booths, presentation areas, conference rooms, etc. They don't even let you carry your own merchandise/computers/whatever out of your van or car in and carry or dolly it to your booths. And the Teamsters' rates are not cheap.

Plus, McCormick charges $350 for every 110V power line run, then you get charged per kilowatt for however much juice you draw. I'm not sure what the rates are for Navy Pier, but you can bet they're similar. Additionally, if you want Internet connections for any of these areas, you get hit hard for that too. In hotels they usually have WiFi LANs that you can connect to for the cheaper rate of like $20-30 per day (if you're so inclined and skilled you can handily hack them for free service, not that I condone such things!).

In addition to all this, NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR DRINK is allowed to be served by any of the booths or conference areas, unless you pay a really hefty service fee and then pay the teamsters to set up your keg, drink stand, or whatever.. They pretty much force you to get all your soft drinks, snacks and bottled water from their overpriced in-house vendors (at like 300-400% markup, no lie!). Many large hotels have similar policies but are more lenient in their enforcement. In hotels, the food and drinks may be expensive, but they're at least a bit cheaper. Also, most hotels are centrally located, nearer to the fast food, pizza places, etc. where you can eat-in or order out much more cheaply.

The small company I work for recently attanded a trade show at McCormick with a 10' by 15' booth that contained like 4 or 5 medium-sized display pieces (each piece was about 3' square, stood between 3' and 5' high, and they weighed between 50-150 lbs.) All expenses for the show, including booth space, electricity, a water cooler (yep, they charged a nice penny for that) plus moving service fees, etc. cost the company over $12,000.00 (and my boss does everything on the super-cheap. He and the salesmen--who live 50 miles away in the burbs--drove back and forth each day 'cause he refused to flip for a hotel). Tell me what dealer at a hacker convention is going to afford that kind of money for booth space just to sell a few books and some open-source software?

Not to mention the major travel inconvenience of McCormick. The CTA is a great public transit system and all, but the bus service there is limited at best. You would have to take the #3 Martin Luther King Drive bus, which passes through some real ghetto neighborhoods. McCormick Place is way out south of the Loop, and there aren't a lot of stores, restaurants or bars nearby. The closest neighborhood for eats would be Chinatown, which is like a $10 cab ride each way. And you're not allowed to bring your own food in or have meals delivered to McCormick Place.

Now Navy Pier is much more accessible, and it's much closer to many downtown hotels. There are some overpriced, but decent restaurants there on the pier, but again the costs of setting up or presenting there are outrageous. The dealers' room would be cost-prohibitive to all but the largest, wealthiest dealers. Plus, you can forget having any all-night gaming or hacking sessions at Navy Pier or McCormick. They both close at night.

I just spoke to one of my friends on IRC who's been involved in convention planning and administration for going on 10 years. He gave me this advice, to pass on: "Start small, visualize your target audience and market towards them." I just PM'd you with his phone number. He said he'd be willing to help. Give him a call.

Anyway, the first couple years of your con, your focus should be on minimizing overhead so you can offer the best value to the attendees. Make it fun for everyone, build a community and a good reputation for a fun, comfortable and informative experience year after year. That's what keeps people coming back. In conventions, bigger is not always better. Remember that the bigger the attendance, the fewer attendees will get to spend time seeing the guests of honor and attending the most popular events. Plus, at a more moderate-sized con, the atmosphere is cozier and friendlier.

Try to avoid creating an event so expensive that few can afford it. Instead of trying to think too big, concentrate on keeping your costs down (so you can keep registration prices low), make it as convenient and enjoyable as possible for guests and attendees. Try to give your audience the biggest bang for their buck. Save as much as you can on the venue and accomodations so you can invest most of your funds on acquiring great guests and speaking talent. Build a reputation for fun and intersting panels, events, etc. and it will be an ongoing success. Remember, your investors want a return on their money, and your big-name guests of honor will expect to be flown in free of charge, put up in a decent hotel, fed, entertained, etc.!

Subzero please don't misinterpret my intentions in bringing up all this stuff. I'm not trying to discourage you by any means. I am fully in support of you and your idea of bringing a kickass convention to Chicago. I just want to see it succeed as well as possible, with everyone having a great time and coming away with some cool memories and newly acquired knowledge.

I know a few people who have been working and planning cons for many years. If you like, I could put you in touch with them. A hacker/internet/technology con is something that Chicago really needs, and I'll be glad to help in any way I can. But for the sake of the project, do it right, get advice form the pros and don't be discouraged by starting small. Believe me, the amount of work that goes into running even a smallish con is staggering!

Edited by MyNameIsURL
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey whats up man. Thanks for the contact, I'll deffinately give him a call sometime this week.

As far as the comments/advice, I appreciate the research and time. I've talked to several prominent people around the Chicago area as well as people that work for the McCormmick/Navy Pier convention areas, they pretty much told me the same thing as far as pricing and info about the places. In addition to the whole thing they require a couple million dollar insurance.

All in all... unfortuantely the idea i have isn't small and it'd almost be impossible to make it such. Im gonna sit down with a couple people this weekend to talk some things over. I totally agree with starting small and growing.

You want to meet up sometime next week URL, we can chat about the whole idea... I think you'll see what I mean when I actually explain what I have in mind.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next week, eh?

Each day, I leave for work (out in the suburbs) real early in the AM and I get back into town around 6:30 or 7PM. So maybe we could meet for dinner or something?

I'll PM you my cell #.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HEY Im going to hold a meeting for the Chicago con idea...

Date: December 13

Time: 8:00pm

Location: Clarke's Diner

Belmont and N Wilton Ave / main intersection Belmont and Clark

right off the Belmont Red Line/Brown Line stop... exit make a left and cross the street kitty corner.

Any questions shoot me a pm. Pass the word along to anyone that might be interested.

~ subz

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HEY Im going to hold a meeting for the Chicago con idea...

Date: December 13

Time: 8:00pm

Location: Clarke's Diner

~ subz

You got my message that I will be there. If anyone else is interested though I will be cleaning out the closet and bringing some of my old equipment down. Most of it will be telco related and as always... free to a good home.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now