PyCon CZ 2017 Conference Wrap-Up Summary
In June this year we held the third annual PyCon in the Czech Republic, for the first time held in Prague. We’d like to take this opportunity to wrap up the 2017 conference so we can kick things off for 2018!
All the people who organized the PyCon CZ event are volunteers and worked on it in their free time. Big shout out to all the core team members as well as all other people who helped with preparation up front or on site. Big thanks to all the CfP submission authors, the invited and accepted speakers, all the attendees who joined us to make PyCon CZ the amazing event it was, the sponsors, and our hosts at both MeetFactory and the Faculty of Information Technology CTU in Prague. Two special thanks also go to:
- Pyvec – The formal backers of the PyCon CZ events and so many other Python events in the Czech Republic. Continuous activities of people around Pyvec, Czech PyLadies, and monthly Pyvo meetups are the lifeblood of the Czech Python community.
- Python Software Foundation – They are the good people who take care of the ongoing development of the Python language and the global activities around it. The PSF sponsored PyCon CZ 2017, as it does many such events.
To acknowledge the heroic achievements of the PyCon CZ founder Tomáš Ehrlich and to give him some time off after two restless years organizing the conference, we agreed on moving the event to Prague. Bára Drbohlavová volunteered to become the chair of the conference and a new organizing team started to form.
Today, we can say that the hand-over was successful and the Prague team is very well capable of organizing PyCon CZ events! Even though the team was forced by bad luck to change the date and venue at the last minute, at the end there was an amazing atmosphere and a cheerful feedback.
We did not manage to have dedicated mobile apps for the event as last year. On the other hand, we had a UX-aware DTP-capable frontend designer as part of the core team, which resulted in many improvements in the presentation of the conference, especially the usability of the website on mobile devices.
- 31 talks (4 keynotes), 30 speakers
- 9 workshops
- 361 tickets, 334 attendees (20% women)
- 62% of tickets were paid
- 24% (39% of all paid) Self-funded (38% of them were Early Bird)
- 22% (35% of all paid) Employer-funded (40% of them were Early Bird)
- 15% (24% of all paid) Student/Teacher (49% of them were Early Bird)
- 3 tickets for PyLadies
- 38% of tickets were free
- 11% went to sponsors
- 11% for speakers and workshop leaders
- 7% for Django Girls (of those 35% were coaches)
- 4% for PyCon CZ organizers
- 4 tickets were given away in raffles at meetups
- 4 tickets as Financial Aid
- 3 tickets for GymGeek
- 4 tickets for PyCon PL and PyCon SK organizers
- 27 people did not come (4 Django Girls, 3 Django Girls coaches, 6 Early Bird student/teachers, 2 student/teachers, 5 self-funded, 3 employer-funded, 3 sponsors, 1 PyCon SK organizer)
We carried out a feedback survey during and after the event. We’ve got 39 responses in total.
- Have you been satisfied with PyCon CZ 2017? 94.9% said yes!
- I came to PyCon CZ to/because...
- 53.8% – networking and meeting people
- 51.3% – talks and learning about Python
- Which talk did you enjoy the most?
- What were the top 3 things you most enjoyed at the event this year?
- 41.0% – community / people
- 35.9% – venue / building / location
- 25.6% – talks
- 25.6% – atmosphere
- 15.4% – coffee
- What were the bottom 3 things we could have done better?
- 20.5% – food
- 20.5% – Wi-Fi
- 12.8% – rooms, chairs
- 12.8% – afterparty
- 7.7% – venue / building / location
- Where did you travel from?
- 38.5% – Prague, Czech Republic
- 7.7% – Brno, Czech Republic
- 7.7% – Poland
- 5.1% – not far from Prague, Czech Republic
- 5.1% – Bratislava, Slovakia
- 5.1% – other places, Czech Republic
Videos & Photos#
This was the first time we managed to have a live stream from the event. The stream covered both days of the conference talks and both rooms. Thanks to the fact that the Q&A was running on Slido, not only people in the rooms, but also anyone watching the stream could ask questions. The stream recordings are still available on YouTube:
Special thanks go to Peter Hozák who voluntarily posted a comment with time anchors under each of the videos, so soon after the conference anyone could easily scan the recordings to watch what they like.
An official selection of photos from the event is available on Google Photos.
The videos of talks were uploaded by the end of August. The numbers below were collected on 1 Oct 2017, that means after one month from publishing.
- Stream Thursday
- Main Room – 962 views, 13172 minutes watch time, 20 likes
- Theatre Room – 563 views, 4662 minutes watch time, 10 likes
- Stream Friday
- Main Room – 794 views, 7717 minutes watch time, 11 likes
- Theatre Room – 359 views, 3780 minutes watch time, 3 likes
- Videos with the most views:
Socially Responsible Catering#
Catering (except of coffee, which was prepared by Kofárna) was provided by coffee shop & bakery Slunce, which employs people with disabilities. The activities of Slunce are formally backed by the Sun for Everyone Endowment Fund (Czech).
We’ve put effort into making the conference as welcoming as possible. We had a Code of Conduct in place and we were reaching out to specific communities which are usually underrepresented in technical conferences.
The women/men ratio of the organizing team was roughly 50:50. After moving the conference from Brno to Prague, the Prague PyLadies course graduate Bára Drbohlavová volunteered to become the chair of the conference. The PyLadies of Prague, Brno and Ostrava were invited to attend with a discount equal to the student/teacher ticket fare.
Zuzka Válková, a long-time Prague PyLadies course organizer, joined our team to hold the Django Girls workshop together with the conference. All Django Girls participants received a free ticket for the conference.
Vojtěch Polášek, author of the Blind attendee about PyCon CZ 2016 blog post, came to the conference again this year. His own report follows:
After I had attended PyCon CZ last year, I decided to repeat it as soon as possible. And therefore I arrived in Prague in June to see what's new with Python and to meet old and new friends. Unfortunately, I was able to attend only on Friday so I missed the workshops.
This year, I didn't manage to find anyone to assist me throughout the conference so I decided to go alone. But time showed that I wouldn't be alone at all. There was literally almost not a single minute when I would feel abandoned at this place. There was always someone around to help me or to talk to me. Whenever I am surrounded by such people, it leaves a long lasting positive feeling in me and PyCon CZ 2017 wasn't an exception.
Talks were very interesting and mostly accessible. I guess that speakers probably read my short post from previous PyCon CZ, where I suggested some improvements concerning the accessibility of talks. Also this year PyCon CZ was hosted in a somewhat smaller building. I understand that it could be a bit unconfortable but on the other hand after several hours I was able to navigate through the building almost without asistance.
During the conference I decided to give a lightning talk at the end, where I demonstrated very shortly how I can use the computer. I did that because the Linux screenreader Orca is written in Python. Thank you for giving me such opportunity to show that and I hope that it could attract someone who would like to focus their Python skills in this way. Finally, I would like to thank Red Hat for providing me with a free ticket. My thanks also go to Chris Ward who tried to help me as much as possible throughout the whole conference.
I am looking forward to visiting PyCon CZ next year as well and to finally attend some workshops.
The selection process for talks and workshops did not take gender into consideration.
- Speakers: 71% men, 29% women, 3% non-binary
- Workshops leaders: 89% men, 11% women
- All attendees: 80% men, 20% women, 0.3% non-binary
From the detailed analysis of the data we have it seems that women tend to buy cheaper tickets than men, probably mostly because in the context of the Czech Python community they’re often beginners as well, without technology being their full-time day job. The data shows that the ticket price is important for achieving inclusivity. Without the discounts aimed towards women (Django Girls, PyLadies) and without the Financial Aid we would see much fewer women attending the conference.
In the past years, the Czech Python community has made a big leap towards attracting both women and beginners into tech. We think the attendance of women and beginners at PyCon CZ is significantly influenced by the day-to-day work of all who put in the effort, primarily everyone around the activites of PyLadies. We hope to become an inspiration for other Czech tech communities and events.
What Could Have Been Done#
- Given the fact that we’re a developer-focused conference in the Czech Republic, 20% of women audience is a good number, but in the following years we would like to find and remove as many remaining obstacles for women to attend as possible and to achieve even higher numbers. Experience from abroad shows there’s still a margin.
- Because of last minute changes of the venue, both of the main conference days happened during working days. According to reports, such choice isn’t exactly the best for attracting beginners, who often don’t have a job related to technology or as flexible as is common among Python professionals.
- For the same reason, the Django Girls workshop had to be on Sunday, after the whole conference. That’s why many attendees of the workshop did not come to the conference, although they were given a free ticket.
- We did not manage to pursue more partnerships. E.g. last year we invited VODICÍ PES.
Code of Conduct Report#
The organization team agrees that all PyCon events should be accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of their background. We agree that a clear and specific Code of Conduct is a necessity for any event.
- The Code of Conduct was based on Conference anti-harassment policy from Geek feminism wiki and edited to be as specific to our event as possible.
- Agreeing to the Code was mandatory when buying a ticket.
- Two contact persons (male and female) were assigned.
- Attendees were reminded of the Code in the opening speech of each day.
What Could Have Been Done#
- Summary of the Code in both languages was not posted around the venue.
- Phone numbers of the contact persons were not posted around the venue.
- There was no easy way to report an incident other than to write an e-mail or to talk to the CoC contact person.
- Czech language version of the Code was not accessible on the website.
In the spirit of open source and transparency, we’re happy to share a summary of our budget (all numbers are thousands of Czech Koruna, CZK).
- Sponsorship: 690
- Ticket sales: 400
- Total: 1090
- Venue: 215
- Catering: 187
- Robot workshop: 9
- Conference party (food + drinks): 41
- Financial aid (incl. keynote speakers): 130
- Photo/video recording & editing: 97
- Swag, lanyards: 29
- On-site fun (DJ, games): 21
- Stationery, roll-ups: 18
- Various other: 46
- Total: 793
We ended with a positive balance of close to 297 500 CZK. That’s because the conference moved from Brno to Prague and the organization team also changed, so we were very defensive about our estimates and spending. All the surplus funds will be available at Pyvec’s transparent account as support funds to any Python-related activities in the country, and the rest is going to be applied to the next year’s event budget.
In the past, Pyvec had only limited funds to reimburse community expenses such as stickers, community sprints, workshop/meetup equipment, open source educational materials, and more. Thanks to PyCon CZ 2017 surplus funds, the support budget is now much larger, which can be a significant help to the development of the Czech community.
Should funding prevent you from organizing a Python-related event, or should you miss any equipment needed to promote Python, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. The funds are a great opportunity for the Czech community to thrive – which means not only more beginners, but also a healthier job market.
Now, on planning PyCon CZ 2018. For the next year, the conference stays in Prague. Neither the approximate date should change, so count with early summer. You can join the organizing team, or just keep track of our progress via our different channels:
See you in 2018!