[python-uk] ann: Python at the IET

Tim Golden mail at timgolden.me.uk
Sat Jul 7 15:21:10 CEST 2007

Michael Foord wrote:
> Thanks to you, Pete and Tim for organising the talk. It was *great* to 
> see so many people attend  -  a very pleasant surprise.

I think we were all surprised as well! (A pleasant sort of
surprise, but see below). Thanks to
you and any other UK Pythoneers who made it as well.

Michael G's actually been the one negotiating with the
IET people over what might or might not happen, so what
I'm saying here about that is informed hearsay.

The overall point is we had an original vision (or at
least Michael did, which we bought into) of a smallish
workshop running in parallel with a larger event which
the IET were going to host anyway. We were simply going
to run a small group event with the IET's blessing, taking
advantage of the fact that the facilities were available.

We were originally told that we could have up to
30 people (in the Thomson Room, I think) and I
suppose we all worked things up on that basis: an
informal workshop-style event where we could each
have a script, but develop based on people's
questions and limitations.

Close to the date, we learnt that the registration had
maxed out at 185, and that we would be the sole event,
not running in parallel. I think this threw us slightly,
and our mistake was in not getting our heads together
and talking through with the IET as to how best to make
it work - we were still hoping for the workshop feel.

As you discovered (at the same time as us) it didn't
really work out that way. Personally, I think
it was great to have such an audience, I think they
by-and-large appreciated some of what we had to say,
and at the very worst we'd have been no worse than any
other IET lecture where you can't please all the people...

All this is perhaps an overanalysis but perhaps it might
be of use to anyone else thinking on similar lines in the
future. personally I think one real plus point was that
180+ people were prepared to give it a go. I don't know
if the IET will be sympathetic to further Python events,
but this one wasn't a failure.

> I think that for the audience a complete novices introduction might have 
> been helpful. 

I agree with this (and your suggested points are realistic).
Really, between Peter, Michael & myself, we let things happen
a bit too much rather than making them happen.

> Three 20 minute sessions as the first one would work well. 

I think it's good to keep things tight. As you saw, I had
to keep things even tighter, but I had known I'd be the last
on and I was prepared to push things through. If we get the
chance again, I'd push for the same kind of setup I think.
(Including IronPython/Silverlight if so be as your're
still willing).

> The workshop style session afterwards didn't seem to 
 > happen. [...] I think people need some degree of organisation.

Again, I think this was partly our failing to react to the
switch from "30 in a room" to "150 in a lecture hall" in
time to organise things.

Thanks for commenting. Personally, even if the IET don't
take us up, I'd be very keen to find a spot perhaps in
people's offices afterhours to have short presentations
before adjourning to the pub. We'll wait to see what comes
back from Savoy Place, but if anyone knows that they might
be in a position to host an occasional get-together, let
us know.


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