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The Event Industry’s Evangelist of Open Source


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The Event Industry’s Evangelist of Open Source

  1. 1. Sponsored by ShowCycle
  2. 2. Pat Pathade has built his career and two companies based on the philosophy of the open-­‐source so7ware movement. Outside of the mee;ngs industry, open-­‐ source ini;a;ves are huge, programmers are prolific, and companies are profitable. Inside the industry, there is li@le to no support, and nothing that could be characterized as a movement. Pathade is working to change that scenario, one solu;on at a ;me.
  3. 3. Open Source is a framework for programmers to build so7ware itera;vely and collabora;vely with the understanding that their code will be shared. The resul;ng so7ware becomes the building blocks (Drupal and Linux are two examples) for new product offshoots that can be brought to market much more quickly and inexpensively. Par;cipants form communi;es around their efforts to support developers, collec;vely solve problems, and share updates.
  4. 4. There was a ;me when open-­‐source prac;ces were frowned upon. In the past, says Pathade, even Fortune-­‐500 companies cau;oned customers against using so7ware that was built on open-­‐source code because they believed it to be a threat to their own proprietary offerings and because much of the early open-­‐source products were unstable and unsupported.
  5. 5. That belief has largely disappeared. “There’s been a drama;c shi7 toward accep;ng open-­‐source so7ware. The no;on of hiding behind proprietary code is gone and an industry of open-­‐source service providers has emerged,” Pathade explains. As a result, there are hundreds of companies being built using open-­‐source code, including Dropbox, Salesforce, and Twi@er —all big names with millions of users and strong mone;za;on models.
  6. 6. Despite the poten;al to drive the cost of event so7ware down and push the envelope on innova;on, the mee;ngs and trade show industry has been slow to embrace open-­‐source ini;a;ves. There is no open-­‐source community to create the building blocks, support development, or provide financial support. Event technology is s;ll dominated by legacy plaUorm providers in registra;on and event management, for example, with li@le incen;ve to reveal their code to third-­‐party developers.
  7. 7. In lieu of a community to drive open source within the mee;ngs industry (event organizers aren’t leading the charge either), Pathade leverages the communi;es that have emerged outside the industry. Through his companies, he uses non-­‐event-­‐specific open-­‐source plaUorms, such as Drupal and Salesforce, to address event-­‐ industry challenges, including data integra;on across disparate legacy systems, web site op;miza;on, and most recently, trade show sales produc;vity.
  8. 8. Pathade believes one huge opportunity that can be developed through open-­‐source strategies is in the data field. “The industry’s data is not perfectly organized. [Registra;on records, exhibitor profiles, and contact records] can be standardized so they can be used by mul;ple organiza;ons. Data can be contributed by groups and anonymized so that trends can be observed and shared with everyone. Open Government and Open City ini;a;ves are two examples of what is possible,” he explains.
  9. 9. For any true benefits to be realized in the event industry, Pathade says, leading industry organiza;ons have to come together. “Founda;ons that are serious can put together a task force and sponsor some ac;vi;es, such as an IT internship in open-­‐source methodologies. Organiza;ons can donate employees’ ;me to work on projects,” he suggests. Un;l then, he will con;nue to evangelize open source and develop solu;ons with the tools that are available. He may be an army of one now, but every movement starts somewhere.