From the HBD Archive
From: hpfcla!hplabs!amdahl!uunet!ingr!tesla!steve
Subject: Cost of Conference & the AHA <=> Compuserve connection
Date: 1989-03-20 16:01:44 GMT

I was also shocked by the cost of the conference this year. There were eight
people who were planning to go to the conference from here, and after seeing
the cost, there may not be any. There will be at most three people who are
willing to pay the price to attend. All of us felt that the cost should have
been around $100 or less, and we would not have objected to paying that price
and not getting any meals included. I phoned the AHA about another matter, and
complained about the cost, and was put through to Charlie P. himself. We had
a nice discussion about the whole thing, and this is the feeling of what he
said: He realizes that $210 is more than many (if not most) home brewer's
annual budget for their hobby, and he admitted that this is a dilemma, because
one of the "missions" of the AHA is to promote the availability of the hobby.
The real reason for the cost is that the highest attendance at a conference so
far has been about 200 paying attendees, hence the high cost. He said that the
cost this year is $15 less than last year. Now let me begin my thoughts on
some of the things C.P. said. It seems that the problem is how to increase
attendance and lower the cost. I think that the move to Kentucky will help,
but it's going to be hard to convince people to pay over $200 to attend. C.P.
said that the AHA can't afford to lose money on the conference due to their
limited budget, and it does seem unfair to me to subsidise a conference that
only a few hundred people attend with the membership dues of the entire
organization. I don't know what the answer is. The cost isn't outrageous when
compared to conferences I have attended which were work-related, but the tab
has always been picked up by the company (not The Company). I haven't attended
one of these in the past, but I have bought the transcripts, and they have
been valuable to me. If the transcripts contain all of the lectures for $15,
then the question becomes "Will I have $200 worth of fun at the conference?".
I have been to Oldenberg, and it's a really great place for the conference,
but the eight of us could take our money and a few cases of homebrew and go
camping in the smokies for a week, and have a lot of fun, too. Come to think
of it, does anyone want to meet at the Deep Creek campground the week of the
conference? It's near Bryson City, N.C. Of course, there's no alcohol allowed
in the campground ;^).

Next subject: the AHA and Compuspen, er Compuserve. I wrote an article for
Zymurgy about this mailing list and the benefits of computer communications
to the AHA, and talked to the AHA quite a bit about what they wanted to do.
Some of the alternatives that were considered were connecting to the usenet,
operating a BBS from the AHA offices, or establishing an area on an existing
service, such as Compuserve. The number of people who can be reached by usenet,
Bitnet, etc. is much more limited that the other methods, even though it is less
expensive for those who have access. One of the major goals was to reach new
people who would not otherwise be familiar with the AHA. There was a feeling
that by operating a BBS and publicising it in Zymurgy, the AHA would be
"preaching to the choir". By joining a service, the exposure will be increased,
and membership may increase. Some of the features available by using a service
were also very attractive, such as conferencing. One of the ideas that has
been discussed, and which I mentioned in my article, is a forum tasting of
commercial beers, with C.P. and/or Michael Jackson on-line as the host.
I am probably at least partially responsible for the choice of Compserve,
as it is the only service which I am familiar with, and no-one at the AHA
was familiar with any of them, so when the idea was discussed, it was in
terms of Compuserve. However, let me say this about that. The AHA operation
on Compuserve is being operated as a test, and is taking place as a sub-space
of the wine and beer forum. If you like the idea, but don't like the
implementation, please let C.P. and Co. know what you would prefer. If there
are better, or more cost-effective services available, let's hear about them.
I have no great love for Compuserve, and don't use them for much else, so if
I can get connected more cheaply, I'm all for it.

Gosh, I never got to my actual brewing questions, but they'll wait. I've
run on long enough.

Steve Conklin uunet!ingr!tesla!steve
Intergraph Corp. tesla!steve@ingr.com
Huntsville, AL 35807 (205) 772-4013

Kids, the seven basic food groups are GUM, PUFF PASTRY, PIZZA,
PESTICIDES, ANTIBIOTICS, NUTRA-SWEET and MILK DUDS!!

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