Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sign up now to volunteer at PyCon 2016!

While commercial programming languages often enjoy large and spectacular conferences from their beginning — think of the elaborate JavaOne conference, staged barely a year after Java’s first release — languages without corporate backing tend to accrete their community more slowly and organically. The first conference often takes place without dozens of paid staff to dash back and forth behind the scenes and make sure that the event happens.

Instead, that first event is possible because of volunteers.

PyCon is proud to be part of the long tradition of events that take place because the attendees themselves care and are willing to put forward hours of volunteer work to ensure that new arrivals are greeted at the registration desk, that speakers are guided to and from their session rooms, and — yes — that swag bags are all properly stuffed.

If you are already registered to attend PyCon and are interested in serving as part of the team that makes the conference happen in 2016, simply visit our “Volunteering On-Site” page to learn about the ways you can contribute:

https://us.pycon.org/2016/about/volunteers/

The roles listed there include:

  • Session staff who run the talks.
  • Registration staff who help people at the front desk.
  • Swag volunteers who hand out the conference bags.
  • Volunteers for lunch, tutorials, and Young Coders.
  • And volunteers for the famous Swag Bag Stuffing event the afternoon before the conference starts, when the materials provided by our sponsors get carefully distributed amongst the bags that will be handed out to our attendees.

When volunteers pitch in, even a conference like PyCon with three thousand attendees is able to function smoothly. If you have ever wanted a way to give back to the Python community then take a look at the volunteering page, balance the commitment of each position against your own need to have free hours to experience the conference for yourself, and — if you see a role that interests you — sign up!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Registration is open for our Young Coders tutorial!

PyCon is excited to once again offer a free full-day tutorial for kids! We invite children 12 and up to join us for a day of learning how to program using Python. The class is running twice, on each of the two final sprint days:

  • Option 1. Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
  • Option 2. Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

The sign-up page is here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pycon-2016-young-coders-tickets-24319019843

The Young Coders tutorial was first offered at PyCon 2013 in Santa Clara. It was an immediate hit, and has been an important part of every PyCon since — including a French edition for the two years that PyCon was held in Montréal! Whether you and your family are local to Portland, or you are traveling to PyCon and bringing your family along, this class is a great way expose kids to programming.

The Young Coders workshop explores Python programming by making games. It starts with learning Python's simple data types, including numbers, letters, strings, and lists. Next come comparisons, ‘if’ statements, and loops. Finally, all of the new knowledge is combined by creating a game using the PyGame library.

Registration is limited — sign up soon if you know kids who will be interested!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

PyCon’s Sponsor Workshops

Now that PyCon 2016 is sold out, we want to highlight the events that you can still sign up for — events that take place outside of the three main conference days, and which are not yet at capacity:

The two Tutorial Days are a familiar and longstanding feature of the PyCon conference. Coding sprints are not only familiar, but were invented by the Python community!

But you might be less familiar with our Sponsor Workshops!

Workshops let a sponsor communicate with attendees on a deeper and more sustained level than is usually possible. While sponsors do tell their story and share what they are doing with Python through conversations at their Expo Hall booth, Job Fair table, and even through chance encounters in hallways and at lunch, those conversations are usually short. A workshop, by contrast, provides either a 1½ hour or a 3 hour session for attendees to receive a more thorough understanding of how a sponsor is using and advancing a technology.

In brief:

  1. Sponsor Workshops are free for attendees.
  2. They run on the two Tutorial Days before the main conference.
  3. They are offered by top-notch companies — this year: Caktus, Dropbox, Google, IBM, OpenShift, OpenStack, and Rackspace.
  4. You can sign up on our Edit Registration page.
  5. See the full list of Workshops here!

Workshops are an especially attractive option if you are arriving in Portland early and want to go ahead and start experiencing PyCon — or if you have already signed up for a few Tutorials, and are looking for something else to fill out your schedule.

We hope that you will find Workshops a useful way to connect with some of the companies who are bringing Python to bear on interesting problems, and increase your own skill set as well!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Startup Row: UtilityAPI won the SF Python pitch event

A post by Don Sheu, one of our Startup Row Coordinators

PyCon 2016’s Startup Row got our campaign on the road on March 9th in San Francisco, meeting with the local SF Python user group at Yelp headquarters. Six early-stage companies that use Python gave their pitches, competing for an opportunity to exhibit in the PyCon Expo Hall on Startup Row. The roster of candidate startups included Alpaca, Bauxy, Beansprock, Opsulutely, Watt Time, and UtilityAPI.

UtilityAPI won! They convinced the judges that its services for the new energy economy held the most promise, edging out their high quality competitors. Founded by Daniel Roesler and Elena Lucas, UtilityAPI provides easy access to usage data for customers like PG&E, ConEdison, and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

An outstanding panel of judges selected our winner. On the panel were several entrepreneurs with successful exits like Bethanye McKinney Blount, Bebe Chueh, and Leah Culver. Kat Manalac, a partner with Y Combinator, joined the panel, as did currently active founders: Startup Row alumna Christine Spang founder of Nylas, and Jessica Scorpio founder of Getaround.

Our judging panel! From left to right::


Tonight, March 21st, Startup Row continues its road trip with a visit to Seattle. The local Puget Sound Programming Python meetup and Techstars will meet at Startup Hall on the UW campus, Seattle, to select Seattle’s representative to PyCon in Portland. If you’re going to be in Seattle this evening, you can join and be part of the audience!

Photo credit: Jeremy Smith, Startup Row's California Director

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Only a few sponsor booths are left

We are nearly out of booths! While PyCon does continue to accept new sponsors once we run out of Expo Hall booths, and those final sponsors enjoy almost every benefit of their sponsorship level, they are placed on a waiting list for a booth and can miss out on one of the most exciting ways to connect with attendees at PyCon.

If you haven’t yet applied to sponsor PyCon 2016 because you have been eyeing the larger sponsorship levels — Platinum, Diamond, and Keystone — but have not yet reached a decision, then this year presents a special opportunity. With the markets uncertain and PyCon sponsorship down at every level, we have run out of Silver and Gold booths before running out of premium ones! Here is what remains in our inventory:

You can snag one of these last booths by filling out our Sponsorship Form or can learn more details by reading our Sponsorship Prospectus.

If instead of staffing an Expo Hall booth you are interested in more unique ways of supporting the conference, check out the À La Carte section of our Sponsorship prospectus. One need in particular stands out:

PyCon talks featured live CART for the first time last year, and we received a positive response from our attendees for making the talks more accessible. As a recent and high-profile addition to the conference, captioning lets a sponsor put their name specifically behind the idea that PyCon should continue to expand the range of attendees for which the conference provides explicit support.

Whether you are able to sponsor PyCon at an extravagant level or a relatively modest one, please know that your sponsorship is important! You sponsors make it possible for the Python community to assemble each year at ticket costs that are a fraction of comparable industry conferences, and make conference attendance and financial aid possible for many who could otherwise not attend. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in Portland!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Call for PyCon Charity Auction Donations

By Jackie Kazil

One of the privileges of becoming a PyCon sponsor is that you have the chance to contribute to one of the most creative events at the conference — the PyCon charity auction!
Contributing an item to the auction is a great way to get your name recognized, to receive a tax deduction, and to support PyLadies, a group of women developers worldwide who love the Python programming language.
Auction details:

  • Benefits PyLadies
  • Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 6:30 to 9:00 pm
  • Room F149–F152 in the Oregon Convention Center

Thanks to the combined generosity of our sponsors and the audience, last year’s auction raised more than $12,000! Unique items are a way to for attendees to remember you. For example, Disney has donated concept art year after year since the auction was first held. Their donations have had a huge impact, and rank as PyCon’s consistently highest-bid item — the painting illustrated above, for example, was from the early work for Frozen.

Donations can be almost anything, and don’t need to cost a lot of money. Donations that have a Python flare do very well. For example in 2014, a pair of Python cufflinks stole the show!


In 2015, it was a 25 lb., 34,000-calorie gummy snake that went for $700. The purchaser required that the snake was eaten that evening. This year conference sponsor Eventbrite is donating a two-hour lunch with co-founder and CEO, Kevin Hartz.

What will you donate? If your company is sponsoring PyCon or you want to donate items for this charity event, please email us to donate.







Thursday, March 10, 2016

Why not join the sprints this year at PyCon?

A guest post by Naomi Ceder, one of our 2016 Sprint Coordinators.

Sprinting has always been one of the hidden gems of PyCon, a part of every PyCon from the beginning, back in 2003. Hundreds of programmers stay one or more extra days after the conference to collaborate on open source projects large and small. The people who’ve done it treasure the experience. Not only do the projects that participate benefit from fresh eyes and ideas, but the sprinters usually find that they gain enormous insights into a particular problem or library, into the Python language, and even into coding in general. This year will be no exception, with many established projects sprinting and new projects joining.

Given how cool sprinting is, many of us have been puzzled that more people don’t join the PyCon sprints. Why could that be? Well, we know that everyone has their own reasons behind what they choose to attend, but in case any of the following apply, we wanted clear a few things up.

Reasons you might not be sprinting at Pycon (that totally should not stop you)

  • I’m not experienced enough.

    We’ve got that covered! We understand that not everyone has sprint experience, but we can help you, in several ways:
    • We’ll again be holding an “Intro to Sprinting” workshop on Sunday night before the sprints start. Shauna Gordon-McKeon, with several volunteers from the Python community, will present this session to help bring you up to speed on what to expect while sprinting, how to participate, as well as what projects are particularly newcomer friendly. Once we’re done, groups will organize to go out to dinner, so you can connect with your fellow first time sprinters and some people from the sprints. If you’re interested in this workshop, please visit our registration page to let us know.
    • Well identify the sprints that are most newcomer-friendly, and give those sprint leaders whatever support we can to help them better welcome newcomers to their projects.
    • Finally, well have a help table, to give you any last minute directions or help with the sprints you might need, from installing and using common tools to suggestions on how to get the most out sprinting or just talking about how it’s going.
  • I don’t know what I’d sprint on.

    Well, that's understandable — there will be a lot of interesting projects sprinting, so deciding is never easy. However, we have help there, too. In the lead-up to PyCon, many of the sprints will be listed on the PyCon site, so you can check them out in advance. Then, at PyCon one of the last events at the main conference will be a chance for sprint organizers to present their sprints. And, as mentioned above, we’ll identify sprints that are particularly beginner friendly.
  • I don’t know anyone who’s sprinting.

    That may be true (although you’d be surprised). But the cool thing about the sprints is that by lunch time of the first day you will know people sprinting. Project maintainers, people whose talks you’ve seen, people who you’ve only met online. And you’ll be working alongside them. What a great way to connect with some new people in the Python community!
  • I don’t know how to register for the sprints. Isn’t it a hassle?

    That’s why we’re here. You don’t need to change your registration to join the sprints. There’s no additional registration fee, and you even get lunch. You do need to cover the additional lodging and other meals, but that’s it.

    If you want to sprint, the first thing to do would be to make sure you have a place to stay for the extra days. If you’ve booked a room through the PyCon registration system, you'll need to contact the registration team at pycon2016@cteusa.com as soon as possible to request the extra nights. The sprinting itself (along with lunch every day) is free, so your only expenses are your room and other meals.

    Once you have that taken care of (and booked the right flights, of course), the registration form for the Intro to Sprinting tutorial is here. This is also free, so please sign up and join us.

Veteran Sprinters also welcome!


But you already knew that. If you’ve sprinted before the odds are you know how awesome it is. Not to worry, we didn’t forget you! We do want to keep the sprints fresh, and to keep improving them for veterans as well as newcomers. To do that we’ll be making a few additions and tweaks.

So plan to sprint!


You can check out the projects currently planning to sprint at the PyCon Sprints page and if you’re interested in the sprinting workshop just visit the registration form and sign up. And get ready for some serious sprinting at PyCon!