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How to win an LCA charity auction without really trying

"lucky old devil"

So, LCA char­ity auc­tion. Last night I had the sheer pleas­ure of being part of the chaotic may­hem that ended in a $10600 win­ning bid (earlier claims of $10500 were cir­cu­lated before we knew for sure how much we actu­ally had) for Karen Garbee’s beau­ti­ful award-winning print. Rusty informs me that’s the highest bid for an LCA auc­tion, which I find slightly sur­pris­ing but awe­some if it’s true. All pro­ceeds from the night are to be donated to, fund­ing valu­able research in to the Tas­manian Devial Facial Tumour Dis­ease, which is slowly wip­ing out these unique and ridicu­lously cute creatures. If you haven’t already, please go and visit the site, read about the plight threat­en­ing these creatures, and give what you can.

Tasmanian Devil, by Darren Leal

Tas­manian Devil, by Dar­ren Leal

Iron­ic­ally, I’ve been on the verge of buy­ing another print in aid of this fund for a little while now. For LCA attendees who’ll be hanging around in Tas­mania post-conference, I strongly sug­gest vis­it­ing the Cradle Moun­tain park. And while you’re there budget a couple of hours to see The Wil­der­ness Gal­lery. Amongst half a dozen exhib­i­tions of gor­geous local flora and fauna, you’ll see this little guy. A couple of lim­ited runs of this print are being sold as a fun­drais­ing exer­cise. I’m com­pletely and utterly in love with this pic­ture, and if I regret any­thing it’s not wind­ing up with a copy hanging on my wall.

There’s been a lot of other cov­er­age of the auc­tion, but I thought I might offer my point of view of the pro­ceed­ings. Bid­ding got off to a good start. Early standout was Jamie at my table, bid­ding $1000 and prom­ising to donate the con­tents of his wal­let if he was out­bid — drop­ping quite a lot in to the bucket when the inev­it­able happened. The price con­tin­ued before stalling at $2000. An attempt by Rusty to end the auc­tion was stalled at the last minute by a Linux Aus­tralia rep, and after a hasty con­fer­ence they came to the table prom­ising to match a bid over $2500 (to a limit of $10k). At that point it seemed logical that some­body raise the bid to $2500, so I did.

It sat there for a very long time, res­ist­ing all sorts of incent­ives. After Linus prom­ised to include Tuz (the LCA logo for this year, see the photo at the start of this post) in the next ker­nel release I star­ted see­ing a couple of offers of fin­an­cial assist­ance. But it was going very very slowly until some wag joked about Bdale shav­ing his beard. Not long after that the Col­labora guys turned up at my table, offer­ing to add $2500 to my bid if Bdale actu­ally did shave. So, again, I stood up and offered $5000 in exchange for the beard.

At that point, the auc­tion exploded. Caveats were added. Con­di­tional dona­tions appeared and were matched. Buck­ets passed around the room and filled (the casino offered to count the con­tents, which appar­ently made the organiser’s jobs much easier). Every time it looked like things might be dying down slightly, some­body else would come to my table and basic­ally open their wal­let. I per­son­ally com­pletely lost track some­where around $8k. But I do know that at one point dur­ing an internal audit we real­ised that we were bid­ding con­sid­er­ably lower than what we had in hand, lead­ing to some spir­ited bid­ding against ourselves.

The final con­sor­tium, in approx­im­ately the order they joined, were:

  • Neil (sorry, I didn’t get your last name)
  • Daniel Stone
  • Col­labora (hah! cor­por­ate sponsorship!)
  • David Wood­house
  • Mat­thew Gar­rett (another blank last name :-( )
  • Jamie Wilkin­son
  • Elspeth Thorne

For rais­ing $10600, clearly they all deserve a beer.

The final haul, in addi­tion to the print that kicked it off, was also sub­stan­tial. Mary Gardiner volun­teered a spot on the papers com­mit­tee for the next LCA. It took a con­sid­er­ably lar­ger tar­get to be given an oppor­tun­ity to get off the com­mit­tee, but we now have the out. Bdale finally agreed to doff the beard if the com­bined total reached $25000. At some point some­body sug­ges­ted the shav­ing be done by Linus, and that’ll be going ahead some time fairly soon. Flame agreed to trans­fer own­er­ship of his cus­tom num­ber­plates (“GEEK”, highly sought by Elspeth) for a year. My per­sonal favour­ite appeared this morn­ing, after some high-speed hack­ing:
Tuz is in ur kernel

And at the end of it all, I some­how ended up with the print. I’ve already pre­pared the story of how it’s val­ued at $36000 and a beard.