March 30, 2009

PyCon Proves Its Worth

Here's a great quote from Catherine Devlin's blog post Five Minutes at PyCon Changes Everything reporting the unexpected recruitment of a high-powered development team after giving a lightning talk:
If I'd had $1 million of startup funding to hire a staff to work on sqlpython, I couldn't have gotten a team that large or that talented. I figure that gives me better than a 1000-to-1 return on my PyCon investment. :)
It's also been extremely gratifying to discover that the dip in numbers (initial assessment says we were maybe 10% down on 2009) represents an amazing result. Apparently many conferences have seen attendance at 50% of last year's numbers, and some have simply canceled because the cancellation fees were a smaller that their expected loss.

This really vindicates the low-cost community-based approach that PyCon has always used. Several people told me that they booked to attend the conference without knowing whether they could get company approval, because they knew the conference was great value and they could afford to attend on their own dime. PyCon is a very special conference indeed, and the Python community makes remarkable things happen there every year.


Bruce Eckel said...

Well, remember that the Python conference wasn't always this way. In the early days, we had that expensive conference-organizing company that always complained they were losing money and yet were always willing to do it the following year. And the registration fees were so high very few could afford it. Fortunately we stopped doing that and changed to this system, which is vastly better all around.

Steve said...

That was the whole idea behind starting PyCon. I only went to one IPC, and it wasn't hard to see that a lot of people from the Python world wouldn't be able to afford it. So I posted on the conferences mailing list saying I thought the community could do better on its own, and it turned out to be true.