PyCon is coming back around - although it seems as if we just finished PyCon 2009! This next PyCon (PyCon 2010) will be held in Atlanta, Georgia February 17 through 25th at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. PyCon 2010 is now accepting talk proposals - the Call for Papers went out yesterday! This year is a bit different for me; this year I've taken the torch of Program Committee chair from Ivan Krsti? - this means I get to "lead up" the committee in reaching out for talks, reviewing proposals and choosing the content all of us will be privy to. This isn't a job I take lightly; having been both a speaker and a critic of content in the past, I'm very sensitive to the quality of the talks we get at the conference. That being said...
PyCon 2009, by most measurements was one of the most successful and well-run PyCons to date. I met more Pythonistas in the week-and-a-half I was there, had some of the best conversations and went to some of the best talks I've had the privilege of going to ever there. I was lucky enough to also stay through the sprints for the entire time, and had one of the best times I've ever had coding.
PyCon 2009 was an interesting animal - despite most of the world being sucked down by an economy doing it's best boat anchor impression, and with many conferences simply closing down entirely - we still managed to get around 900 people to come, which is simply amazing.
That all being said - I think PyCon 2010 can be better. In fact, it's my firm belief that a little competition is good, and there's no better competition than trying to one-up something you've done in the past. So, not to diminish what's happened in the past - but let's kick our own ass. Let's make PyCon 2010 better - and ultimately that requires you.
PyCon is a volunteer run, volunteer made, volunteer speaker conference. It's up to you, me, and everyone within the Python community to make this thing a success. Every speaker, every reviewer - every volunteer down to someone who helps bag t-shirts the night before help make this one of the best conferences out there.
This is a call for you yes, you to step up and help PyCon 2010 kick ass. Think you have an idea for a talk? Submit it. Seriously. Even if you're nervous, a first time speaker, or you're unsure of your topic - our crack team of reviewers (which you can also be one of) will help you massage and improve your submission.
If you want to have some pointers on how to make your talk better - check out out this video (a talk on... giving python talks!). Better yet, hit up pycon.blip.tv and watch some of the talks from the past.
Some potential talk topics I'd personally like to see are:
- Deep dives into more-advanced parts of python (a great example is Raymond H's "Core Python Containers" talk")
- Python 3 stuff - importlib, handling bytes vs. strings, etc.
- Idiomatic/optimized Python code ("make my code better")
- Testing(and testing with) Python (I think michael should do a talk on all the new UnitTest stuff he and others have done)
- Cloud computing infrastructure - not "using" the cloud - more "building and deploying the cloud". Something which comes to mind is a talk on Fabric.
- A talk on pip/virtualenv
- How to contribute to Python - and avoid Lindberg'dification (I suspect that's not a word)
- Getting $THING done with Python - one of the key draws of Python, and what makes me so passionate about it is that it simply lets me get things done - what have you gotten done with Python? Most of all - how did you do it? What did you use?
Again, personally - I'd rather see less "we did this cool thing" and more "this is how we did this cool thing. I know that's a tall order for what can be a short window of time, but supplement it with downloads, blog posts - give people something that they can take home and do.
If you don't feel comfortable doing a talk - maybe you're better off being a talk Reviewer. Talk reviewers are responsible for helping talk submissions by asking questions, making improvement suggestions - and they ultimately decide what talks everyone is going to see. They help make-or-break the conference as a whole. It requires reading, and a willingness to discuss - I know everyone out there can do that, and we need people with all types of skills and backgrounds to help us make sure everything gets a fair treatment and representation. Again, see this page for how to become a reviewer.
If you don't feel comfortable with doing a talk, or reviewing - check out the "Helping Out at PyCon" page for other ways of helping. We need session runners, A/V people, people to man the registration desk; everything. Check out the staffing page for slots we need to fill!
Finally - if you don't do anything else: Come. Bring a friend, bring two friends. Bring people who might only be vaguely interested in Python, expose them to this great community and the passion of it. Come for the talks, the open space discussions - and the simple opportunity to come and meet some of the brightest people in the community.
Then stay for the sprints; cause they're damned useful and fun.