Pycon disappointment

Aahz aahz at
Sun Mar 16 15:18:04 CET 2008

In article <5bd37c10-af5d-4254-8799-49c762673a3e at>,
Bruce Eckel  <lists.eckel at> wrote:
>If the following seems unnecessarily harsh, it was even more harsh for
>me to discover that the time and money I had spent to get to my
>favorite conference had been sold to vendors, presenting me as a
>captive audience they could pitch to.

Ouch.  I'm probably one of the few organizers currently paying much
attention to -- because I'm also one of the few who's not at
PyCon.  We debated this extensively before going ahead, and we decided
it was worth an experiment.  If your feedback is at all representative,
this won't happen again, I assure you.

I'm forwarding your post to the semi-private pycon-organizers list
(pretty much anyone can join -- more volunteers are always welcome -- but
you have to join to see the archives) to make sure everyone sees it.

>I believe that this year's Pycon organizers suffered from inexperience
>and naivete, because they didn't know that some vendors will ask for
>anything just to see how far they can push it. 

Actually, it was our idea to offer something in return for the

>On top of that, the quality of the presentations was unusually low.
>I'd say that 80% were not worth going to -- there were definitely some
>good ones, but it was a lot of pain to discover them.

Just to make sure, you're talking about the vendor presentations, right?

>I think a lot of people have been caught up in the idea that we need
>to commercialize Python, and ride some kind of wave of publicity the
>way that Java and C# and Rails seem to have done. 

Not in my observation.  What we were trying to do was to increase
sponsorship to decrease the cost to attendees -- we have NO interest in
pushing the commercialization of Python.

>I know what the argument for the results of Pycon 2008 will be: we
>needed the money. My answer: it's not worth it. If this is what you
>have to do to grow the conference, then don't. If the choice is
>between selling my experience to vendors and reducing the size of the
>conference, then cut the size of the conference. Keep the quality of
>my experience as the primary decision criteria, or I'll stop coming.

That was our intention.  Apparently it didn't work for you.  I'll wait
for more feedback before I make up my mind about whether your experience
was common.

And no, we don't need the money so badly that we can't afford to turn
away sponsors who demand this particular benefit.
Aahz (aahz at           <*>

"It is easier to optimize correct code than to correct optimized code."
--Bill Harlan

More information about the Python-list mailing list