Pycon disappointment

Stephan Deibel sdeibel at
Mon Mar 17 06:42:28 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. Vendors were guaranteed first pick on lightning talk slots, and
> we in the audience, expectantly looking forward to interesting and
> entertaining content, again started to feel like things were awfully
> commercial. And what seemed like a good idea, moving lightning talks
> into plenary sessions with no competition, began to look like another
> way to deliver a captive audience to vendors.

Yes, this sucked, and I say that as one of the guys that gave a boring
vendor lightning talk.  I felt obligated to take the slot but probably
shouldn't have, or should have talked about something else.

The problem was definition of the sponsorships without carefully
the benefits that would get out of hand when 3X as many sponsorships
sold as expected (which is what happened).

To be fair, I'm not sure I would have foreseen this either.

> 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.

I have to admit, I'll keep coming to PyCon even if all the talks suck
abysmally as long as there's good hallway time, open space, BoFs, and
sprints. ;-)

But, yes, lightning talks are also a critical part of the conf, and
would be a terrible loss.

- Stephan

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