Lightning talks are very brief presentations. They are typically delivered in succession, one after another, within a defined block of time. Rather than explain a subject in detail, the idea is to attract the audience's attention to a (possibly emerging) idea or project, which individuals can follow up on later.
This is a new component of Ohio LinuxFest for 2014 - this page exists to sort out some of the parameters.
People seemed open to doing this on Friday evening. This would allow the lightning talks to serve as a lead-in to the conference. Moving the Friday keynote to be later would also cater to those who couldn't take time off to come in the daytime. Here's a proposal:
9:00am to 4:00pm - OLFI and Early Penguins talks
4:00pm to 7:00pm - Dinner break (on your own)
7:00pm to 8:00pm - Lightning talks (and BoFs??)
8:00pm to 9:00pm - Friday keynote (maddog)
Traditionally, we have held Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions on Friday evening. We will need to decide whether to continue with BoFs. They can run alongside the lightning talks, but probably can't compete with the Friday keynote. One question would be what rooms are available.
Friday's activities will take place in the D-pod, but I (Vance) don't know which rooms exactly we have. I'm trying to target a room size of 150-200 people, and use the same room for the Friday keynote. This would rule out the lower D-pod rooms (PDF); the only ones big enough are D130 and D131, and people will be setting up in those for the expo area on Saturday.
Of the upper D-pod rooms (PDF), two or more of D230-D232 or D233-D235 could be used. Since D233-D235 is already planned for the Saturday opening keynote, it may be wise just to use that.
A five-minute time limit is typical for lightning talks. This means we are likely to be able to fit eight to ten talks in the one-hour time slot.
For the audience's benefit, we should project a title slide for each speaker with their name and topic. Need to decide whether to allow speakers to submit slides; if so, should limit to probably three max. No accommodation will be made for demos or people who want to hook up their own equipment to the projector.
It is normal for signups to be done on a last-minute basis; one goal is to encourage people to talk about "hot" issues. Mike S. believes we may be able to repurpose the BoF functionality on the web site to handle this task. There should be a low barrier to entry. We should still make sure people agree to the speaker agreement when signing up.
It's unclear how many people we are likely to get. As a first crack, maybe we should prioritize those who confirm their attendance when we contact them, and waitlist those who don't. There are likely to be no-shows so we should try to keep extras in the queue.
In case we get an excess of submissions, we should have a selection process ready. The BoF module of the web site allows people to vote on sessions; perhaps use that and go for the most popular?
Skippy has graciously volunteered to be MC for the event, handling introducing speakers and moving them to/from the stage. A minimum of one other person will also be needed to line up the "on deck" speakers, manage timing, and run the slide projector.
We will need a PA setup, projector and laptop, a timing device, and a signaling device to sound when time is up.