[EuroPython] The future of Europython

info at pycon.it info at pycon.it
Wed Jan 11 12:02:26 CET 2012

Europython has become a primary python community event thus some
considerations and decisions should be made. We'd like to share our thoughts
openly and receive your feedback.


In the last 3 years Europython has had a considerable positive trend both by
attendees number and public interest. It has grown so much that it's quite
hard to organize that kind of event keeping the same service quality and
capacity cap that we've all enjoyed recently.

**It's not a job for unexpert teams** dealing with their first conference
organization experience. Even teams with experience organizing small sized
could potentially face many troubles organizing a conference the size of
Europython. On the other hand it brings so much positive value that probably
nobody inside the Python community would like to loose what Europython has
become due to a single year failure or a simple wrong estimate of the event

Europython is **a community conference organized and runned by volunteers**
that work on it without any payback during their free time (that they could be
spending with their families and friends). As a matter of fact it's not all:
**they assume big responsabilities** and are fully responsible for the
financial scenario of the conference organization as well.

This translates to one simple statement: if things go wrong and there are
economic losses they will be responsible for this. This have happened to us
(_Python Italia Association_) some years ago during our [local Pycon
organization][1]. We did pay and we did learn from our mistakes. Fortunately
the numbers were rather different from a conference like Europython and we are
still here, organizing conferences and doing a good (at least I hope) job
organizing Europython.

What I'm trying to highlight at this point is that **Europython is getting big
and can probably reach numbers very close to Pycon US** if we all want but,
unlike it, Europython is not organized and managed by the PSF ( wich acts just
as sponsor ). There's no big organization protecting your back in case of
financial losses. The organizers are completely and lonely exposed. I'm not
trying to say that Pycon US organizers have any advantages when compared ( on
contrary! they have a big responsability to handle and are doing an
outstanding job all from volunteers. Every single person within the python
community should thank and learn from ) but at least they are not financialy
exposed ( as far as i know ).


The near future of Europython is quite well known and will take place in July
in Florence, once again. It's the second italian edition happenning in
Florence. But then what? **Who's willing to organize 2013/2014 editions?**
Where will it move to?

At the time I'm not aware of any concrete and convincing hosting proposal. To
be honest I'm not aware of any proposal as well. As current organizers we are
somehow concerned about it. We should have some of the next organizers helping
us with the current edition organization, acquiring information and experience
for their own that will hopefully help them when organizing 2013 and 2014


With those premises we decided to take a public position towards the future of
the Conference. **We would like to publicaly expose our openness to organize
and run 2013/2014 edition**. At the moment I didn't hear about any real and
concrete proposal that is convincing enough about the fact that we won't have
any slowdown in our conference growth, credibility and quality as well as not
compromising the work that has been done by many people over the past 10

In any case we'd like to send a strong message the community and to all the
bidders: we do care about it and we'd like to be completely sure that we are
passing the baton to a group of people that care and wish to do great things.

### The Biggest Python European Conference Ever

2011 edition was the biggest Python european conference ever with something
like 670 attendees. It could have been more but we decided to put a limit on
it. The reasons for that cap limit were mainly related to the venue and
lunches. The number of attendees is a topic by itself and should be discussed
openly within the community in order to understand if we want to keep this
number "managed" in the near future or want just to scale (somehow like Pycon
US). **We should be handling around 700 in 2012** and are able to consider
scaling a little bit more if needed in 2013/2014.

Last year we have delivered a healthy conference. That's one the concepts I'd
like to stress the most and that I really care about.

**First of all the budget** (yeah, though it's a community no-profit
conference ran by volunteers money is still a critical, if not the most, part
of whole system). Since the beggining we worked on a strategy to have enough
space to provide and scale extra services as we scale on sponsors.

_Note:_ I'm not including tickets revenue in this consideration as we decided
that we wanted a conference affordable to everybody keeping the prices as low
as we could. Thus tickets average revenue was almost 0.

But when I talk about healthy environment I'm not talking only about the
budget: I mean the whole conference. I'm speaking about caring about social
events, delivering pleasant outdoor spaces for the attendees to socialize,
caring and promoting diversity topics, deploying handy services for foreign
attendees (such as [pre-charged local SIMs][2] or a rich [partners program][3]
to enjoy such graceful city like Florence) and last but not least, managing to
end up with **a quite positive balance** that we can use to be improve next
year conference and reduce any risk.

Another topic I'd like to talk about is **sponsors**. Sponsors are essential
for a conference that aims to have high quality standards. Sponsors don't
knock at your door offering you money just because Python is cool and you are
organizing a big european conference. Sponsors need to be found, you need to
"sell" your conference (aka your product), convince them that they are not
giving their money away to a bunch of people just having fun. You need to
convince them that they need it and they are investing their money on an
activity that potentialy has big benefits and their investment will payback

I like to think that we do not sell anything but just inform sponsors about
possibilities. **I really believe that Europython is a great opportunity for
many companies so far.** As I mentioned earlier we had great feedback on our
efforts to collect sponsors and work with them to find out the best
sponsorship cut for their needs. Almost all sponsors told us that they were
very satisfied about the conference and the service we provided. Actualy, many
asked us to keep them updated for the next year. I may be biased and maybe
wrong but I can't remember so many sponsor and related activities during the
last editions so far (and I've been attending Europython for while).

### The Best Python Conference Ever

In 2012 we forecast that it'll be even bigger and we have worked on a strategy
to handle it fixing also the issues we had in 2011.

One thing that we can garantee is that **we are willing to make Europython
2012 the best Python conference ever!**

See you in Florence.

   [1]: http://www.pycon.it/

   [2]: http://ep2011.europython.eu/blog/2011/05/07/smartphone-dependent-buy-

   [3]: http://ep2011.europython.eu/blog/2011/04/15/ep2011-partner-program-

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