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The future of Europython

info-1858

Europython has become a primary python community event thus some considerations and decisions should be made. We'd like to share our thoughts openly and receive your feedback.

PREAMBLE

In the last 3 years Europython has had a considerable positive trend both by attendees number and public interest. It has grown so much that it's quite hard to organize that kind of event keeping the same service quality and capacity cap that we've all enjoyed recently.

It's not a job for unexpert teams dealing with their first conference organization experience. Even teams with experience organizing small sized could potentially face many troubles organizing a conference the size of Europython. On the other hand it brings so much positive value that probably nobody inside the Python community would like to loose what Europython has become due to a single year failure or a simple wrong estimate of the event complexity.

Europython is a community conference organized and runned by volunteers that work on it without any payback during their free time (that they could be spending with their families and friends). As a matter of fact it's not all: they assume big responsabilities and are fully responsible for the financial scenario of the conference organization as well.

This translates to one simple statement: if things go wrong and there are economic losses they will be responsible for this. This have happened to us (Python Italia Association) some years ago during our local Pycon organization. We did pay and we did learn from our mistakes. Fortunately the numbers were rather different from a conference like Europython and we are still here, organizing conferences and doing a good (at least I hope) job organizing Europython.

What I'm trying to highlight at this point is that Europython is getting big and can probably reach numbers very close to Pycon US if we all want but, unlike it, Europython is not organized and managed by the PSF ( wich acts just as sponsor ). There's no big organization protecting your back in case of financial losses. The organizers are completely and lonely exposed. I'm not trying to say that Pycon US organizers have any advantages when compared ( on contrary! they have a big responsability to handle and are doing an outstanding job all from volunteers. Every single person within the python community should thank and learn from ) but at least they are not financialy exposed ( as far as i know ).

THE FUTURE

The near future of Europython is quite well known and will take place in July in Florence, once again. It's the second italian edition happenning in Florence. But then what? Who's willing to organize 2013/2014 editions? Where will it move to?

At the time I'm not aware of any concrete and convincing hosting proposal. To be honest I'm not aware of any proposal as well. As current organizers we are somehow concerned about it. We should have some of the next organizers helping us with the current edition organization, acquiring information and experience for their own that will hopefully help them when organizing 2013 and 2014 editions.

THE PRESENT

With those premises we decided to take a public position towards the future of the Conference. We would like to publicaly expose our openness to organize and run 2013/2014 edition. At the moment I didn't hear about any real and concrete proposal that is convincing enough about the fact that we won't have any slowdown in our conference growth, credibility and quality as well as not compromising the work that has been done by many people over the past 10 years.

In any case we'd like to send a strong message the community and to all the bidders: we do care about it and we'd like to be completely sure that we are passing the baton to a group of people that care and wish to do great things.

The Biggest Python European Conference Ever

2011 edition was the biggest Python european conference ever with something like 670 attendees. It could have been more but we decided to put a limit on it. The reasons for that cap limit were mainly related to the venue and lunches. The number of attendees is a topic by itself and should be discussed openly within the community in order to understand if we want to keep this number "managed" in the near future or want just to scale (somehow like Pycon US). We should be handling around 700 in 2012 and are able to consider scaling a little bit more if needed in 2013/2014.

Last year we have delivered a healthy conference. That's one the concepts I'd like to stress the most and that I really care about.

First of all the budget (yeah, though it's a community no-profit conference ran by volunteers money is still a critical, if not the most, part of whole system). Since the beggining we worked on a strategy to have enough space to provide and scale extra services as we scale on sponsors.

Note: I'm not including tickets revenue in this consideration as we decided that we wanted a conference affordable to everybody keeping the prices as low as we could. Thus tickets average revenue was almost 0.

But when I talk about healthy environment I'm not talking only about the budget: I mean the whole conference. I'm speaking about caring about social events, delivering pleasant outdoor spaces for the attendees to socialize, caring and promoting diversity topics, deploying handy services for foreign attendees (such as pre-charged local SIMs or a rich partners program to enjoy such graceful city like Florence) and last but not least, managing to end up with a quite positive balance that we can use to be improve next year conference and reduce any risk.

Another topic I'd like to talk about is sponsors. Sponsors are essential for a conference that aims to have high quality standards. Sponsors don't knock at your door offering you money just because Python is cool and you are organizing a big european conference. Sponsors need to be found, you need to "sell" your conference (aka your product), convince them that they are not giving their money away to a bunch of people just having fun. You need to convince them that they need it and they are investing their money on an activity that potentialy has big benefits and their investment will payback greatly.

I like to think that we do not sell anything but just inform sponsors about possibilities. I really believe that Europython is a great opportunity for many companies so far. As I mentioned earlier we had great feedback on our efforts to collect sponsors and work with them to find out the best sponsorship cut for their needs. Almost all sponsors told us that they were very satisfied about the conference and the service we provided. Actualy, many asked us to keep them updated for the next year. I may be biased and maybe wrong but I can't remember so many sponsor and related activities during the last editions so far (and I've been attending Europython for while).

The Best Python Conference Ever

In 2012 we forecast that it'll be even bigger and we have worked on a strategy to handle it fixing also the issues we had in 2011.

One thing that we can garantee is that we are willing to make Europython 2012 the best Python conference ever!

See you in Florence.


_______________________________________________
EuroPython 2011 - Florence June 20-26
http://ep2011.europython.eu/
EuroPython mailing list
[hidden email]
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/europython
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Re: The future of Europython

Fabio Pliger
The microblog app that forwarded the post to the list didn't append the author name ( me ). Sorry.

Fabio Pliger


2012/1/11 <[hidden email]>

Europython has become a primary python community event thus some considerations and decisions should be made. We'd like to share our thoughts openly and receive your feedback.

PREAMBLE

In the last 3 years Europython has had a considerable positive trend both by attendees number and public interest. It has grown so much that it's quite hard to organize that kind of event keeping the same service quality and capacity cap that we've all enjoyed recently.

It's not a job for unexpert teams dealing with their first conference organization experience. Even teams with experience organizing small sized could potentially face many troubles organizing a conference the size of Europython. On the other hand it brings so much positive value that probably nobody inside the Python community would like to loose what Europython has become due to a single year failure or a simple wrong estimate of the event complexity.

Europython is a community conference organized and runned by volunteers that work on it without any payback during their free time (that they could be spending with their families and friends). As a matter of fact it's not all: they assume big responsabilities and are fully responsible for the financial scenario of the conference organization as well.

This translates to one simple statement: if things go wrong and there are economic losses they will be responsible for this. This have happened to us (Python Italia Association) some years ago during our local Pycon organization. We did pay and we did learn from our mistakes. Fortunately the numbers were rather different from a conference like Europython and we are still here, organizing conferences and doing a good (at least I hope) job organizing Europython.

What I'm trying to highlight at this point is that Europython is getting big and can probably reach numbers very close to Pycon US if we all want but, unlike it, Europython is not organized and managed by the PSF ( wich acts just as sponsor ). There's no big organization protecting your back in case of financial losses. The organizers are completely and lonely exposed. I'm not trying to say that Pycon US organizers have any advantages when compared ( on contrary! they have a big responsability to handle and are doing an outstanding job all from volunteers. Every single person within the python community should thank and learn from ) but at least they are not financialy exposed ( as far as i know ).

THE FUTURE

The near future of Europython is quite well known and will take place in July in Florence, once again. It's the second italian edition happenning in Florence. But then what? Who's willing to organize 2013/2014 editions? Where will it move to?

At the time I'm not aware of any concrete and convincing hosting proposal. To be honest I'm not aware of any proposal as well. As current organizers we are somehow concerned about it. We should have some of the next organizers helping us with the current edition organization, acquiring information and experience for their own that will hopefully help them when organizing 2013 and 2014 editions.

THE PRESENT

With those premises we decided to take a public position towards the future of the Conference. We would like to publicaly expose our openness to organize and run 2013/2014 edition. At the moment I didn't hear about any real and concrete proposal that is convincing enough about the fact that we won't have any slowdown in our conference growth, credibility and quality as well as not compromising the work that has been done by many people over the past 10 years.

In any case we'd like to send a strong message the community and to all the bidders: we do care about it and we'd like to be completely sure that we are passing the baton to a group of people that care and wish to do great things.

The Biggest Python European Conference Ever

2011 edition was the biggest Python european conference ever with something like 670 attendees. It could have been more but we decided to put a limit on it. The reasons for that cap limit were mainly related to the venue and lunches. The number of attendees is a topic by itself and should be discussed openly within the community in order to understand if we want to keep this number "managed" in the near future or want just to scale (somehow like Pycon US). We should be handling around 700 in 2012 and are able to consider scaling a little bit more if needed in 2013/2014.

Last year we have delivered a healthy conference. That's one the concepts I'd like to stress the most and that I really care about.

First of all the budget (yeah, though it's a community no-profit conference ran by volunteers money is still a critical, if not the most, part of whole system). Since the beggining we worked on a strategy to have enough space to provide and scale extra services as we scale on sponsors.

Note: I'm not including tickets revenue in this consideration as we decided that we wanted a conference affordable to everybody keeping the prices as low as we could. Thus tickets average revenue was almost 0.

But when I talk about healthy environment I'm not talking only about the budget: I mean the whole conference. I'm speaking about caring about social events, delivering pleasant outdoor spaces for the attendees to socialize, caring and promoting diversity topics, deploying handy services for foreign attendees (such as pre-charged local SIMs or a rich partners program to enjoy such graceful city like Florence) and last but not least, managing to end up with a quite positive balance that we can use to be improve next year conference and reduce any risk.

Another topic I'd like to talk about is sponsors. Sponsors are essential for a conference that aims to have high quality standards. Sponsors don't knock at your door offering you money just because Python is cool and you are organizing a big european conference. Sponsors need to be found, you need to "sell" your conference (aka your product), convince them that they are not giving their money away to a bunch of people just having fun. You need to convince them that they need it and they are investing their money on an activity that potentialy has big benefits and their investment will payback greatly.

I like to think that we do not sell anything but just inform sponsors about possibilities. I really believe that Europython is a great opportunity for many companies so far. As I mentioned earlier we had great feedback on our efforts to collect sponsors and work with them to find out the best sponsorship cut for their needs. Almost all sponsors told us that they were very satisfied about the conference and the service we provided. Actualy, many asked us to keep them updated for the next year. I may be biased and maybe wrong but I can't remember so many sponsor and related activities during the last editions so far (and I've been attending Europython for while).

The Best Python Conference Ever

In 2012 we forecast that it'll be even bigger and we have worked on a strategy to handle it fixing also the issues we had in 2011.

One thing that we can garantee is that we are willing to make Europython 2012 the best Python conference ever!

See you in Florence.


_______________________________________________
EuroPython 2011 - Florence June 20-26
http://ep2011.europython.eu/
EuroPython mailing list
[hidden email]
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/europython



_______________________________________________
EuroPython 2011 - Florence June 20-26
http://ep2011.europython.eu/
EuroPython mailing list
[hidden email]
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/europython
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Re: The future of Europython

M.-A. Lemburg
In reply to this post by info-1858
Hi Fabio,

[hidden email] wrote:
> Europython has become a primary python community event thus some
> considerations and decisions should be made. We'd like to share our thoughts
> openly and receive your feedback.
>
> ...
>
> With those premises we decided to take a public position towards the future of
> the Conference. **We would like to publicaly expose our openness to organize
> and run 2013/2014 edition**.

Yeah :-) Thank you very much for making that offer !

> At the moment I didn't hear about any real and
> concrete proposal that is convincing enough about the fact that we won't have
> any slowdown in our conference growth, credibility and quality as well as not
> compromising the work that has been done by many people over the past 10
> years.

I haven't heard of any proposal either - I guess the size of the
conference is starting to frighten people who would otherwise not
have a problem with organizing it.

I certainly hope that some day PyCon DE will be able to host
EuroPython as well, but there's still a long way ahead.

> ...
>
> _Note:_ I'm not including tickets revenue in this consideration as we decided
> that we wanted a conference affordable to everybody keeping the prices as low
> as we could. Thus tickets average revenue was almost 0.

I think there's still some room to ramp up the tickets prices in
order to make the budget look healthier. EuroPython is the second
most important Python conference we have, right after PyCon US,
so you can safely use their (low) prices are guideline:

https://us.pycon.org/2012/registration/

Capping the number of attendees as you've done in 2011 and starting
registration early is also a good way to make you feel more secure about
the numbers.

I also wonder how we could help in getting the number of sponsors
bumped up to higher levels. A lot of companies are looking for Python
developers, so recruiting is certainly one of the key arguments for
sponsors to invest in EuroPython. Another is product announcements
and presentation. Perhaps you could make those two aspects (even) more
interesting for sponsors in order to attract more sponsors.

Another argument I often hear from smaller companies is that
manning a booth at the conference is too costly for them
(not because of the booth signup fee, but because of the
staffing costs). Perhaps having a poster session or some
flat panel LCDs in the conference halls for unmanned
presentation would help make sponsoring more interesting to
those companies ?!

Thanks for keeping up the good work,
--
Marc-Andre Lemburg
eGenix.com

Professional Python Services directly from the Source  (#1, Jan 16 2012)
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_______________________________________________
EuroPython 2011 - Florence June 20-26
http://ep2011.europython.eu/
EuroPython mailing list
[hidden email]
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/europython
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