[Sugar-devel] [IAEP] Debrief of Sugar on a Stick v1 Strawberry launch for all teams
sdaly.be at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 05:04:32 EDT 2009
Yes Bill we certainly need videos... I am working on some, and we have
a new contributor starting work on one, but we need help.
Even the video on the gallery page is dated.
The biggest collection of videos is at olpc.tv
I want to make a short film of every netbook I have booting
Strawberry; some OEMs may be unaware that their hardware runs Sugar,
for example look at Mike Lee's photo from NECC:
I'd like to edit short screencast films about usage scenarios showing
A film showing procedures such as downloading the Strawberry ISO,
loading it, booting it would be useful too
the screenshot I'm referring to is this one:
I guess I should call it Groups View :-)
On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 8:28 AM, Bill Kerr<billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for detailed and comprehensive report Sean. I hadn't understand the
> importance of visuals and your report explained that very clearly.
> btw your report doesn't contain any links - I found the gallery page
> http://www.sugarlabs.org/index.php?template=gallery&page=gallery but still
> wasn't sure what you meant by this:
> a great many websites carried screenshots of Buddy View with
> collaboration; the large colorful icons in that screenshot kept their
> visual code when thumbnailed, better than the Neighborhood View
> I guess your are referring to either the Groups or Journal screenshot?
> I had a look at the videos here: http://www.dailymotion.com/sugarlabs and
> noticed that they don't have sound. Sound would improve them a lot.
> Related: I recently did a search for xo videos for a presentation - there
> are a lot out there (you tube) and I found it difficult to find good ones.
> Most are too general and often the quality is poor. In the end the ones I
> picked out were either professionally done (eg. David Pogues NYT) or had an
> interesting twist of gimick, eg. 9yo evaluating the xo or joel's video
> showing two kids pulling it apart and putting it back together
> Possibly some high quality, high profile videos - some illustrating specific
> interesting features or with an original creative twist (educational
> bloggers might pick up on that) - would help promotion of sugar.
> On Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 7:42 PM, Sean DALY <sdaly.be at gmail.com> wrote:
>> We have had a successful media launch of the Strawberry release of
>> SoaS; coverage is ongoing a week after the launch.
>> I feel very strongly that a successful launch like this can only work
>> if everyone is on board together, from developers to marketers, from
>> packagers to designers, so I have preferred starting this integrated
>> thread rather than continuing David's separate threads; I also feel
>> that the longer-term SoaS-distro issue should be discussed separately.
>> Although we did manage to avoid confusion from the last-minute
>> timetable change through some hard work, we may not be so lucky next
>> time; communication between teams is vital, especially as we grow.
>> Routine work should of course stay compartmentalized, but I am
>> convinced the key to a launch's success (aside from great software :-)
>> is that we all pull together and make an extra effort at launch time,
>> pulling back after launch.
>> Coverage began with an article in MIT Technology Review a few hours
>> before the press release went out; we were Slashdotted several hours
>> later. This was followed by a BBC News report the day of the release,
>> and we have been picked up around the world every day since by tech
>> media, bloggers, and even some Spanish language print newspapers.
>> I want to share some observations, and mention several techniques we
>> used this time which multiplied coverage, as well as some missed
>> opportunities. Comments are encouraged pleased.
>> * Press release editing.
>> We got the PR done 30 minutes before the Friday evening deadline and I
>> thank Walter, Fred, David, and Caroline for their very helpful
>> co-editing with me directly on the Google Docs document and IRC
>> discussion. I had been concerned about an Activities positioning issue
>> and we made a good choice through consensus. We were able to trim 150
>> words in the final minutes yet the final release had enough
>> information to interest editors worldwide.
>> * Prelaunch journalist briefings.
>> Some journalists were briefed with the releases beforehand, under
>> embargo. This common practice gives them time to decide if they want
>> to work up a story or not and provides an opportunity for direct
>> discussion with us for background and quotes. It also provides
>> precious lead time for us to provide visuals (journalists won't waste
>> time fishing, and without visuals will just google and snatch the
>> first thing they find, including bad logos and dated screenshots).
>> * The last-minute timetable change.
>> We successfully spun the move of v1 from the "Q3 in the fall" to June
>> as "part of the plan" and diverted some attention from the numbering
>> with the Strawberrry code name which was universally liked. Only one
>> news site noticed we had changed our story, and their coverage arrived
>> late; journalists who have been following us kindly didn't bring it
>> up. That said I can't stress enough that our very wide coverage was a
>> direct result of our simplification of the numbering system to
>> "beta-1" and "v1"; most news sites judged this release as our first
>> major milestone since the creation of Sugar Labs. I agree with David
>> and Caroline that our next major media push should stress content over
>> technical info to generate teacher interest. As part of avoiding
>> last-minute crises in the future, to avoid surprises I sent the press
>> release to all the lists before it went out on the wires. The
>> marketing team work is of course available to all.
>> * Launch datelined LinuxTag Berlin.
>> Do a Google News search in English on "LinuxTag"... you will notice
>> that our launch is the only widely aggregated news. In other words, no
>> one else did a media launch in English from LinuxTag with coverage as
>> wide as ours. This was effective because it showed that we are mobile,
>> e.g. with roots in but not anchored to the Cambridge base. We also
>> managed to create a "halo effect" for GNU/Linux; several articles
>> including the BBC piece mentioned distributions. Although we make the
>> choice (correct in my view) to not place priority on our FOSS nature,
>> preferring to stress education, we raised the profile of Fedora with
>> half a dozen articles which reported that information. The coverage
>> gave us a boost at the booth, and the design sprint starring Gary and
>> Mike helped us to have focused marketing materials for both LinuxTag
>> and NECC.
>> * Targeted mailing list bigger with each launch.
>> We have a simple rule: anyone who writes about Sugar and/or OLPC gets
>> onto the list. We are at 500 names and to date have received only two
>> requests for removal (one from a small news outlet where other
>> journalists remain on-list, one stating the address used is not the
>> best one for PR submissions). We have very complete coverage of tech
>> journalists, but spotty coverage of education news outlets including
>> blogs, so I am turning my attention to that. Some journalists and
>> bloggers who treated us unfairly in the past are not on the list or
>> are sent the PR afterwards; of course, writers of tough but fair
>> coverage get the PR like everybody else. Note that as most journalists
>> receive dozens of such press releases every day, occasionally a
>> journalist will learn of us through another news article, then search
>> her mail to find our unread release before trying to find our press
>> * Multilanguage PR in targeted press mailings.
>> The press release went out in 5 languages: English, Spanish, French,
>> Italian, and German. Bravo to the translators who provided me the text
>> before the deadline! This was extremely effective in obtaining wide
>> coverage, many sites digested the press release in the local language.
>> Coverage in Brazil was late, I am convinced we would have had more
>> coverage earlier if we had had a Portugese translation available (we
>> still don't). Unfortunately, Christian was unable to post the
>> translations to the press page, see next point.
>> * Bottleneck problem for SL homepage and press page.
>> Christian is very booked up with the little one and his work and has
>> not been able to post the press release translations or a homepage
>> callout for SoaS, as well as other agreed-upon requests such as a
>> homepage link to the gallery page instead of to the QuickTime movie,
>> the sitewide navbar, and links to visuals on the press page. We would
>> have had even wider coverage with translated press releases up, and we
>> need to examine how to avoid this bottleneck in the future. I myself
>> did not find the time to prepare PDFs which include our logo and the
>> PR visual and ideally our back catalogue of PR should be translated
>> too, I may put these in the "one-hour contribution" section.
>> * Availability of visuals.
>> The fabulous SoaS beauty shot by my friend the talented Philippe
>> Cantiniau and topped by Gary and Christian's last-minute work on the
>> Strawberry "sugar on a stick" logo text was very widely carried by
>> news outlets including the BBC because of its shininess, and
>> apparently the confusion we feared between SoaS the ISO and the
>> branded USB stick was not widespread - every article I saw mentioned
>> it was freely available for download. It's sometimes debated that
>> nonprofit libre software should not glorify "products", especially at
>> the expense of software, but any observer should see that the OLPC
>> XO-1 beauty shots had an enormous impact in raising awareness. Also, a
>> great many websites carried screenshots of Buddy View with
>> collaboration; the large colorful icons in that screenshot kept their
>> visual code when thumbnailed, better than the Neighborhood View. I
>> opened a Flickr stream for my Sugar-themed photos just before the
>> launch and the BBC photo of the XO and Intel Classmate running Sugar
>> came from there; I will add some screenshots too. I would like the
>> press page to link to that photostream and Mike Lee's as well,
>> journalists really like finding CC content they can use.
>> * PR image hosted on SL site and not distributed with release.
>> We fell down on getting our visuals well referenced. Fortunately many
>> (but by no means most) journalists and bloggers followed the hyperlink
>> in the press release, but Google Image searches are disappointing; a
>> major Chinese news site published an old draft logo. The clear
>> solution is 1) distribute an image itself as well as the link with the
>> eReleases/PR Newswire release, as we did with the March release logo
>> and screenshot, 2) as mentioned above make visuals easily findable on
>> the press page and in the website gallery.
>> * USB boot issue on older computers.
>> Slashdot readers who did not RTFA complained of SoaS's uselessness
>> with old PCs unable to boot from USB (due to BIOS limitation, I have a
>> PC like that myself). Fortunately, clueful commenters informed readers
>> about the boot helper CD. We reacted quickly by updating the
>> Strawberry page and other pages of the wiki, with callouts about the
>> boot helper CD; we were unable to change Christian's homepage as
>> described above. In the future, we will want to have a Boot Helper CD
>> visual available. The BBC article was updated three times during the
>> day of the launch, and one of the running updates added info about the
>> boot helper CD.
>> * Wiki pages not quite ready at launch.
>> The Strawberry page was posted as the release went out, but was poorly
>> referenced from the wiki homepage, the Sugar on a Stick page, and the
>> press release itself. Updates were quickly added, but it will be much
>> better in future to get this done at least 2-3 days before media
>> launch; remember, some briefed journalists have the PR under embargo
>> and will evaluate us based on the status of what is online.
>> * Video of SoaS booting.
>> One site did a home video of loading SoaS to a stick and booting it;
>> this was very quickly widely referenced, which shows that either we
>> don't have a good vid like that ourselves, or a publication has more
>> credibility on the subject than we do, or both :-)
>> * Mac compatibility.
>> We were late in getting the updated VDI and instructions online. Mac
>> users are a vocal lot :-) and are used to things just working so any
>> efforts we can make to ease the Mac experience will help us with
>> coverage. Many journalists write on Macs and some key articles in the
>> past had screenshots from a Mac VM. Perhaps one of us (Dave B, Gary,
>> Caroline, myself) could be a Mac emissary to the development team?
>> * School server.
>> We mentioned the school server in the PR, which has all the potential
>> to be a solid solution with SoaS but requires work. Tech journalists
>> didn't follow up on that in depth, but we need to work out how that
>> support will be part of the SoaS ecosystem.
>> * Perception of Sugar Labs as a company, or as part of OLPC.
>> We slip the word "nonprofit" into our PR often, but we still see
>> perceptions that SL is a company or is part of OLPC. Our homepage is
>> clear on the latter, but unclear on the former, so we need to reflect
>> * No OLPC briefing beforehand.
>> The authors of the key articles in this launch sought comment from
>> OLPC, who provided an odd statement from Professor Negroponte, odd
>> enough that it was heavily edited or truncated by the journalists. The
>> BBC published more of the quote than anyone, obliging us to respond
>> that NN hadn't understood the tech. The statement did not make sense
>> and was out of phase with what is currently under development, namely
>> a Gnome/Sugar choice of default desktop similar to Apple's OS9/OSX
>> solution of a few years ago. We are in contact with OLPC's PR people
>> so as to smooth bumps prior to launches; perhaps Adam Holt can help us
>> in this regard as well.
>> * Infrastructure performance issues.
>> The sites held up well due to infrastructure steps taken by the David,
>> Bernie, Marten, and the Systems Team (torrent, mirroring, monitoring);
>> hopefully we will not be swamped by the Chinese coverage which is
>> growing quickly.
>> * Coverage reporting.
>> With each launch, I enumerate links to coverage; aside from
>> celebrating :-), this serves a dual purpose: 1) enable local language
>> speakers to evaluate quality of coverage, most useful when there is
>> negative coverage (happily not the case this time), 2) simplify the
>> later work of adding contacts to our targeted mailing list. However,
>> the (unexpected!) volume of coverage was such that one member of the
>> community complained. The suggestion was made to create a wiki page,
>> but that doesn't help as far as identifying good, mediocre, bad, and
>> indifferent (i.e. reprint of PR) coverage - it would never be to our
>> advantage to publish ratings of journalists' work (all PR firms and
>> corporate communication departments maintain journalist profiles, but
>> in the strictest secrecy for obvious reasons). I liked the suggestion
>> to regroup coverage in batches, and from five days after the release
>> (when the risk of negative coverage was greatly reduced) I sent the
>> batches to the marketing list only and not IAEP. I was very pleased to
>> receive links from Carlo and Raul to coverage I would have missed in
>> their countries; it's best-practice since I can then add the
>> journalists to the list. Everyone's help in spotting coverage is
>> appreciated during a launch and spotting negative coverage early is
>> * No coverage on some key tech sites.
>> Some tech publications did not cover us this time, or came late to the
>> party despite having received the targeted mailing. I have identified
>> the sites in question and will add journalists to the list. In the
>> case of OLPCNews, my impression after an exchange with Wayan (he's
>> just published by "focus group" post) is that his daily coverage and
>> proximity to the OLPC/Sugar Labs projects hid the significance of the
>> release to the wider tech world.
>> * Press-contactable.
>> Our press page mail alias and softphone phone number, although
>> sparsely used, enabled the BBC and a few others to reach us
>> * Site statistics.
>> I've chosen to not prioritize this for now (aside from worrying if we
>> will have a China meltdown); Bernie provided me with a graph that said
>> it all. In future I'd like to check the site stats during the launch
>> period and report metrics to the marketing team, in particular the
>> number of SoaS ISO downloads. Dailymotion page views seem small,
>> indicating we need more content in there.
>> * Contributor recruitment.
>> The USA volunteers site, and our wide coverage, worked together to
>> persuade several people to propose contributing to Sugar Labs. This is
>> an excellent development and shows the positive impact wide coverage
>> can have in other areas such as funding and partnerships.
>> Please reply with comments and suggestions, especially ideas about how
>> to obtain better coverage in education publications, blogs, social
>> media, and newspapers.
>> Sugar Labs Marketing Coordinator
>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
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