PyDay Caracas 2011

PyDay Caracas 2011 was the first official conference ran by PyVE in Caracas – Venezuela. It was on March 13, 2011 at the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB) facilities.

The community was talking about organizing a conference, we were discussing about running a PyCon, but this was the first conference dedicated only to Python so we decided to do something smaller and organize a PyDay.

When organizing a conference, a big or a small one, the first thing we usually do is to select the time and space. We start writing to several universities asking if they could host the event, we normally have a couple of students or professors to help in the process, then we select a reasonable day for the event and start working based on that.

What we did:

Once we had a day and a place for our PyDay, we started looking for sponsors and speakers, this task was easy, we didn’t need too much things because this was a small event and the university wasn’t going to charge us for the venue.

To find some speakers, I sent a thread to the mailing list and a lot for members wanted to submit their presentations, the submission was made by email because this was a small event and the community in Caracas wasn’t big enough to do it on a larger scale (a website, for example).

Now, with the venue and the speakers, the only thing missing was publicity, a member of the community is the owner of a local Linux academy, so, he sponsored some posters to paste them at the most important universities in Caracas.

For a one-day event, only a coffee-break is enough for the attendance and just water for the speakers, we made another sponsor pay for a couple big coffee bottle, some cookies and a lot of water for the speakers and for the members who were helping the day of the event.

Lessons learned:

  1. There is no need to open a bank account to receive sponsorship and run a conference.
  2. There is no need to have a legal figure to receive sponsorship.
  3. Small events are the best way to start making some noise with your local Python community
  4. Students are a very loyal and receptive public, they are usually happy with this kind of events at their universities.
  5. You must have a person dedicated to monitor the time per presentation, speakers almost always take longer than they say (at least in Venezuela)
  6. Sometimes the time for questions after the presentation is not enough, try to reserve your venue for at least an extra hour after the event finishes. For example, if the event is supposed to end at 16:00, you should reserve it until 17:00.
  7. Try to have at least one hour before the conference starts to put all the venue in order, connect and place your Video Beam in the best place, make sure the microphones works well and that the audio from the computer is setted in a proper volume.
  8. To run a PyDay, a one-man organizing team is fine, but if you can get some help from other members of your local community is better. PyDay Caracas was organized and coordinated by just one person.