Pycon disappointment

Mike Orr sluggoster at
Tue Mar 18 18:49:26 CET 2008

On Mar 16, 6:10 am, Bruce Eckel < at> wrote:
> But it gets worse. The lightning talks, traditionally the best, newest
> and edgiest part of the conference, were also sold like commercial air
> time.

We introduced sponsor lighting talks last year.  This year it got out
of hand because there were twice as many sponsors.  By the time the
Lightning Talk coordinators realized this, the sponsors had already
been promised a priority talk so we couldn't back out of it.  So it
was a lack of foresight, not some commercial plot.

Next year we (the Lightning Talk coordinators) have recommended either
not having sponsor lighting talks, or moving them to a separate (non-
plenary) session.  The vendor exhibition was much bigger this year,
and I think that's an adequate replacement for sponsor lighting
talks.  If there are sufficient Open Space rooms, they can also create
their own session.

> At first the morning plenary sessions -- where the entire conference
> audience was in a single room -- just seemed a bit commercial. But
> then I slowly figured out that the so-called "diamond keynotes" were
> actually sold to vendors. It must have sounded great to some

I liked the mini-keynotes and I don't think they detracted from the
main keynotes.  I did know what "diamond" meant so I knew they were
sponsor talks.  I guess that should be clearer on the schedule.

> What was supremely frustrating was discovering that the people wanting
> to give REAL lightning talks had been pushed off the end of the list

The worst part of scheduling Lighting Talks is there's always more
interesting speakers than time.  This seems to be an insolvable

The main problem I had at PyCon this year was the number of talk I
wanted to see that were scheduled at the same time as other talks I
wanted to see.

The highlight was the number of Open Space rooms and events.  I didn't
attend any of these, but they seemed unusually lively this year.

> On top of that, the quality of the presentations was unusually low.

I did feel that.  An advanced track would be a good idea. Because you
do need to repeat stuff for the newbies.  At least 30% of the
attendees were at PyCon for the first time.


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