Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Making Reboot Alberta more accessible

Things cost money. Period. Which pretty generally sucks when you're not making very much.

Being the champion of accessibility that I am, this has been one of my biggest hang-ups about #rebootab. While the first reboot in Red Deer wasn't too far of a trip, and registration cost was pretty low and I got to split the trip in my relatively easier-on-gas mobile, Kananaskis broke my bank. Even though I split the cost of a hotel room at the beautiful Delta lodge and had someone with me for at least half of the road trip, I still spent over $500 attending. Frankly, I wasn't even coming from that far away.

Reboot from it's very beginning has been about increasing participation... but how do you make the Reboot more accessible in order to engender that increase in participation? Many different attempts have been made: the Reboot website has a car pool section, for 'booters who want to split the cost of gas. People have paired up time and time again to split the costs of hotel rooms, but still I hear in the twitter sphere the sad laments of wannabe 'booters who just can't get all the cash together; the cries of those who stretched the budget just to make it (I'm one of them, to be clear). We've been called elitist - which made me giggle aloud that I'm an "elite" - so how do we go about showing Hugh MacDonald how far he shoved his foot down his throat?
We're smart. We can figure it out!

Proposition #1:
Sponsored essay contests. This idea came up over a bottle (or two, or three) of wine. We could find organizations to sponsor an essay writing contest, with the winner (or winners) having their trip to 3.0 (and possibly beyond) covered. Sweet. For all the uni students who want to come, this is just another day at the office!

Proposition #2:
Staggered registration fees. I won't say I came up with this idea on my own. As a matter of fact, I stole it from the PowerWedge conference invite I received a few days ago. Basically, a few tiers are set up to encourage those least likely to go by charging them less, while those most able to afford it, pay the difference. Reboot has been very Urban-centric, while trying to draw in more Rural participants (who generally, are paying more in transportation fees than anyone else to begin with). Additionally, Reboot has had a severe lack of First Nations voices at the table. My suggestion would be a tier system that charges Rural and First Nations participants the least (maybe single parents? I'm just tossing out ideas, here). Small-medium business owners - like myself - students, and maybe the poor, underpaid bloggers get a mid-tier fee, while those joining us from corporations or government pay the higher tier. This might get some hackles up for being too damn socialist, but I think if we really want a diversity of voices at the table, we need to make a realistic effort to get those voices to the table.

Proposition #3:
Corporate Sponsorship. I don't think it would be that difficult to get some big names behind Reboot. It makes me gag thinking about corporate sponsorship, and some might be turned off by the fact that the "think-tank" that is Reboot is tied - even if only in name - to this or that company. And banners can get ugly (I mean, did you see the crap up on the ice sculptures at Edmonton's ice festival? Ew). But really... it's effective. And could lower costs. And is kinda icky still. Ew, ew, ew, ew. I'm sorry I even brought it up.

These are just a few ideas, and they are absolutely open to criticism. That being said, if you don't like these solutions, I expect to hear your ideas in the comments. I whined about #rebootab 2.0 not being solutions-based enough, so I might as well just start running my mouth and see what happens. ;)

- Apathetic


  1. I was another who couldn't afford it but still went. I'll be paying for it for months.

    I like the idea of regional reboots where I can go to some of them nearer to my home and spend the night at home or in the homes of friends.

    I want to keep going, but simply can't really afford the cost.

  2. Chels and Berry Farmer: Make it three. I talked some about this on my blog earlier today - would love your thoughts.

  3. Those are all good ideas, but unless businesses see that there is a strong following and Reboot becomes a political force, they won't pony up cash. Unfortunately I don't think corporate sponsorhip will become a reality until Reboot is more established and doesn't appear to be a flash-in-the-pan movement.