[EuroPython] The future of Europython

Fabio Pliger fabio.pliger at s3srl.com
Wed Jan 11 13:50:19 CET 2012

The microblog app that forwarded the post to the list didn't append the
author name ( me ). Sorry.

Fabio Pliger

2012/1/11 <info at pycon.it>

> 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 complexity.
> 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 <http://www.pycon.it/>. 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 editions.
> 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 years.
> 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<http://ep2011.europython.eu/blog/2011/05/07/smartphone-dependent-buy-italian-sim>or a rich partners
> program<http://ep2011.europython.eu/blog/2011/04/15/ep2011-partner-program-released>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 greatly.
> 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.
> _______________________________________________
> EuroPython 2011 - Florence June 20-26
> http://ep2011.europython.eu/
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> EuroPython at python.org
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/europython
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