Pycon disappointment

Bruce Eckel BruceTEckel at
Sun Mar 16 21:52:20 CET 2008

On Mar 16, 2:48 pm, Pete Forde <p... at> wrote:
> My friends and I decided to stage a grassroots Ruby conference this
> summer; it will have no paid sponsors for exactly this reason. We're
> trying to change up the typical format as well: it's a single-track
> event, no "keynotes", no schills for well-heeled interests. We're even
> organizing activities for significant others traveling with conference
> attendees so that everyone has a good time.
> The response we've gotten to this approach has been curious; many
> people totally get why these things are important, and the speaker
> list reflects this. However, we've also had a lot of complaints that
> our event is too expensive. In fact, they say that it should be free,
> like a BarCamp. Just get a bunch of sponsors, and that will be the
> ticket. We say bollocks to that.

I've been running open spaces conferences for the past few years and I
would suggest you do that instead of an "eyes-forward" conference.
It's not only a lot easier, but it's also a lot more fun. For example,
last week we did the Java Posse Roundup, which is all open-spaces.

The way we've handled "sponsorship" for the Roundup is "swag only." If
sponsors want to send gifts, then we'll give them out, but we don't
take money. Everybody seems pretty happy with that arrangement and it
doesn't feel intrusive in the least. So you might consider that.

Because of requests I've had (before Pycon started) we are planning a
small open-spaces conference on Python, this summer in Crested Butte.
The dates haven't been set yet but I'll announce them on my weblog and
elsewhere. It will follow the format of lightning talks to kick off,
then all open spaces (plus the usual hikes and barbeques). And swag-
only contributions from vendors, although that usually just happens
via people who happen to work for vendors, who are coming as
participants and find out they can contribute something else.

> I'm posting here because even though the Python and Ruby communities
> are seen as being in some sort of competition, I personally believe
> that we have more in common (and lots to learn from each other) than
> we are credited for. For example, the popular Haml template engine is
> white-space sensitive, and that's a direct nod towards Python syntax.

I think Ruby has done a lot to push the idea of dynamic languages for
medium and large scale projects and to help recover from the bad
experience many had when they tried to push Perl too far.

> Thanks for your post, Bruce. You've given us a huge boost that we're
> doing something right, here.

I'm sure your conference will be great because you're making it
totally attendee-focused.

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