I am so thankful – the gap is sorted

I will be doing a longer blog post about the incredible adventure it was to bring Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Rosemary Leith to Australia 10 days ago, but tonight I have had something just amazing happen that I wanted to briefly reflect upon.

I feel humbled, amazed and extremely extremely thankful to be part of such an incredible community in Australia and New Zealand, and a lot of people have stood up and supported me with something I felt very uncomfortable having to deal with.

Basically, a large sponsor pulled out from the TBL Down Under Tour (which I was the coordinator for, supported by the incredible and hard working Jan Bryson) just a few weeks before the start, leaving us with a substantial hole in the budget. I managed to find sponsorship to cover most of the gap, but was left $20k short (for expenses only) and just decided to figure it out myself. Friends rallied around and suggested the crowdsourcing approach which I was hesitant to do, but eventually was convinced it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

We crowdsourced less than two days ago and raised around $6k ($4,800 on GoGetFunding and $1,200 from Jeff’s earlier effort). This was incredible, especially the wonderfully supportive and positive comments that people left. Honestly, it was amazing. And then, much to my surprise and shock, Linux Australia offered to contribute the rest of the $20k. Silvia is closing the crowdsourcing site as I write this and I’m thankful to her for setting it up in the first place.

I am truly speechless. And humbled. And….

It is worth noting that stress and exhaustion aside, and though I put over 350 hours of my own time into this project, for me it has been completely worth it. It has brought many subjects dear to my heart into the mainstream public narrative and media including open government, open data, open source, net neutrality, data retention and indeed, the importance of geeks. I think such a step forward in public narrative will help us take a few more steps towards the the future where Geeks Rule Over Kings ;) (my lca2013 talk)

It was also truly a pleasure to hang out with Tim and Rosemary who are extremely lovely people, clever and very interesting to chat to.

For the haters :) No I am not suffering from cultural cringe. No I am not needing an external voice to validate perspectives locally. There is only one TBL and if he was Australian I’d still have done what I did :P

More to come in the wrap up post on the weekend, but thank you again to all the individuals who contributed, and especially to Linux Australia for offering to fill the gap. There are definitely lessons learnt from this experience which I’ll outline later, but if I was an optimist before, this gives me such a sense of confidence, strength and support to continue to do my best to serve my community and the broader society as best I can.

And I promise I won’t burn out in the meantime ;)

Po is looking forward to spending more time with his human. We all made sacrifices :) (old photo courtesy of Mary Gardiner)

This entry was posted in Aus Community, Linux Australia, linux.conf.au, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to I am so thankful – the gap is sorted

  1. suse says:

    Pia, you just knock me out with your tireless energy, and vision. Well done. I am so glad to hear that the finances have worked themselves out.
    Well done, as always.

  2. Gavin Heaton says:

    Great to see the Linux folks stepping in. And you should feel proud of what you’ve achieved. Few would have even dreamed it – and you made it happen.

  3. Ruth Ellison says:

    Pia, I’m constantly amazed/inspired/awed by your energy, passion and dedication to the community and to a better world. Thank you for organising this and I’m glad that the gap got sorted out!

  4. Thank you for being so awesome, I’m glad you were able to find finding to meet the short fall. We do have a great community and you help make this group so great.

    Thanks again for all your tireless work, I’m envious of your drive.

  5. Really great to hear that it’s sorted out Pia. I missed LCA this year, but got to see TBL’s public talk in Melbourne. Not the easiest person to understand in a big echoey room, however I think his points still came across.

    I think you’re right that a visible figure such as Tim has the ability to bring important topics such as “openness” into the mainstream public narrative. He certainly made a big plug for Open Street Map, and also encouraged concerned, non-technical people to either learn to program – or to find programmers to collaborate with – to help enable social change happen.

    Keep rocking Pia! :)

  6. Ian Loxton says:

    Pia, I first met you at the Perth Linux Conference back in 2003. At the time you were with others who were canvassing the possibility of you standing for the LA Board. I recall adding some advice and others adding more and the outcome was a resolve that we would all attend the AGM and support your nomination. Not surprisingly you won a place and the rest is documented history.

    I have always felt a smidgeon of pride when seeing your name as the doer of this or the leader of that. I knew you were a person of integrity and deeply felt passion when I first met you and that has come to the forefront of all that you do. Indeed I believe that all that you have achieved has come mostly from that integrity and passion.

    Don’t stop now Pia, there is so much for you to reach for and achieve and there will be many of us watching and silently applauding as you make things in the world happen for the betterment of all of us.

    So glad this this problem has been resolved and you can put this to rest and move on.

    Thanks also to the nice folks at LA for recognising a need and fulfilling it.

  7. Mitch says:

    You think your community would leave you in the lurch after all you’ve done? Think again. We leave lurch leaving to the corporates.

  8. fee says:

    just adding my tuppence to the ‘pia-fangirl-committee’ – and what a lovely possee to be a part of!

    when you meet someone in a Government Policy meeting who not only talks geek, but does so with ‘that’ glint in her eye, you don’t let go. when you later hang out with them at a rockin AFP NYE gig, you hold on tight. and when you listen in awed glee to them talk – whether at arts and cultural events or within a hardcore technical community – you realise the importance of everything they bring as a connector between worlds. with hearts and minds like yours on our side, the Geek will most assuredly inherit the earth.

    thank you for your constant personal & professional encouragement, for asking and listening, for sharing smarts and driving change, for your selflessness, humility and that outrageously cheeky smile. you are a little ninja hurricane of the very best order & I count myself wildly fortunate to also be able to call you my friend & steal hugs as you swoosh through the crowd.

    congrats to silvia for setting up the crowdfunding page, hurrah to all those who threw in even a small amount and HUGE props to LCA/LA for stumping up the excess. this was my first Linux Conf and to be honest I’m kicking myself that I waited this long. absolutely thrilled to be part of this kick-ass community & look forward to learning & growing and exchanging more with each one.

    *hugs* x

  9. Thanks fee for your kind words. I wasn’t alone and couldn’t have made the crowd funding site work without the help of Alex Young, Rob Manson and John Ferlito. But really it is the community that made it all happen – all the awesome generous supporters. Thanks everyon!

  10. It was a great event and reached so many people who had never heard of ‘open’ anything before. I am so glad about the funding. Go Pia!

  11. Logan Powell says:

    It takes courage to stick your neck out and front investment wherein you have little to profit from save making the world better in some way. Respect.

  12. Pia, it was great to meet you in New Zealand. I am also thankful to have met Tim and Rosemary and help organise the powhiri at Te Papa. I was even more stoked when I listen to Tim do a brief mihi (welcome) in Maori that evening.
    Thank you personally for doing all of this. In Maori terms Tim was described as a white heron who does not visit often to New Zealand so when it does it is truly a special occasion to be celebrated..

  13. Chris Winter says:

    Pia tireless Pia – congratulations. Awesome.

  14. Cecilia says:

    P,
    I have been flat out with EVERYTHING recently and we have’nt spoken so I thought I would peruse your blog for an update on your fabulousness.
    My Thoughts! -I have known you since we were little women :) In that time I have come to see you as a woman of drive, Intelligence, pride, curiousity and deep loyalty and vision.
    There are so many dimensions that make up the whole of Ms Pia Waugh (nee Smith). I don’t know you as the fearless IT pioneer. I know you as my dear dear friend :) who has seen me warts and all and still cares for me and who I care for beyond words.
    I’m proud to call you one of my dearest friends!
    Drop me a line lovely when you get the chance.
    Cec :)

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