Good to see Drupal Camp Hyderabad being the first paid camp in India. This is a more sustainable model and has been long due in India. In most of the camps in India, a large section of the crowd used to be irrelevant to the camp, and many times, we did see a large number of random students from the host university spending their weekend at the free camp.
Paid camps solve many of those problems with sustainability and effectiveness of the camps.
Although, what disappoints me is to see that sponsors get 2 sessions each to speak, for granted.
This move is bound to dilute the quality of the sessions, when the sessions are selected without the usual selection process, or when sponsors are given a free unrestricted pass to speak at the camp.
I understand that this could be a great incentive for getting sponsors, but I think giving ad space, stage time during keynote, and separate slots for sponsors to pitch their services or products etc - will still be better and more sustainable incentives than giving sponsors an unchallenged opportunity to speak in multiple sessions at the conference.
I am not sure if this is the norm usually in paid camps outside of India. I haven't attended any camps elsewhere, so can't comment.
But if this is something we are trying in Drupalcamp Hyderabad for the first time, I think we should give this idea a second thought to ensure the quality of sessions don't go down due to giving such unrestricted access to sponsors to speak at the conference.
I understand, that at the end of the day, this is a decision that rests with the organizing committee of the camp, and I am sure this decision was an outcome of a lot of brainstorming after evaluating all possible outcomes, but still felt like we could be starting a dangerous trend with this, and did want to flag this, to hear about more perspectives that I am sure could not have thought of myself.
Happy weekend folks