PyCon 2016 in a nutshell

It’s taking me longer and longer to write these conference posts but least I finally found the time for this one: Welcome to my little write-up of PyCon 2016 😉

So, PyCon 2016 took place at the end of May, just a few days after WriteTheDocs, in the beautiful Oregon Convention Centre in Portland. That place is huge, although probably a bit smaller than last year’s venue in Montréal. The session rooms were, again, spread throughout the whole complex which made reaching my step-count each day perhaps a bit too easy.


Same as in previous years I had opted to skip the workshops and let my conference experience begin with the goodie-bag stuffing (or “stuff bagging” as I often accidentally referred to it). The process was even more fine-tuned this time around. If you’ve never been there, it is basically a looooong table with all sorts of swag on and people around it ready to hand them out. Then another group of people each having a goodie-bag goes around that table to receive the actual goodies. This time 3,294 badges have been issued so there were quite a few bags to fill.

Not much left on the tables after 2.5 hours of bag-stuffing!

Anyway, 2.5 hours later everything was done and we were ready for the evening reception to meet the sponsors and some light meals 😉

Conference days

The next three days were full of awesome keynotes, sessions and lighting talks. Just to give you a short overview, these were just the talks I went to:

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

… and there are probably as many talks that are still on my watch-later queue (I just keep getting distracted by Overwatch videos, though).

Of all these perhaps my favourite talk was (as expected) by Larry Hastings about his Gilectomy talk where he led the audience through his quest to remove the GIL. Although, Łukasz Langa’s talk about coroutines is also very high up on my list right now. I really have to find the time to play with asyncio et al. eventually.

I also went to quite a few infrastructure, community, and best-practice talks as those should be applicable no matter what programming language you’re using.


After the talk-days came four (three for us) glorious sprinting days were Ulrich and I mostly worked on PyVideo/PyTube related things. You can find more about that in a post I wrote last week.

One morning we made a little detour to buy some donuts for our respective teams.

This year even more people stayed for the sprints and so we got multiple large session rooms full of people! For some reason another large hall on the other end of the building was set up for lunch (instead of using on on the same side) but at least I got my step-count up again 😉 One day we also went to a Taco Bell nearby as neither Ulrich nor I had ever been to one. As far as US fast-food goes, it was surprisingly good! No ill side-effects on the next day so we didn’t have to drop out of the sprints.

During these days we also quite often met up with other conference goes afterwards at local breweries. Some, for some reasons, hadn’t known about Basecamp Brewing just a few blocks from the venue. We definitely had to do something about that!

Everything else

As in previous years the organisation of PyCon 2016 was top-notch! Except for lunch on the first day (with a queue going through the whole conference building) everything went very smoothly as far as I can tell. What surprised me a little bit was the lack of actually useful stuff in the goodie bags. The sponsors obviously now want you to come to their respective booth for more interaction. If this trend continues, the bag stuffing might end up being pointless in the future. I really hope that we still have some time left on that clock as it is one of my favourite events at PyCon.

Something else that didn’t go as well as in last years were the announcements regarding the event dinners. Up until a few days before the conference the hosts of these events hadn’t been announced and so Ulrich and I held off for too long to get seats. Not a big thing as we had discovered enough awesome places to have dinner but still…

That being said, I can’t wait to return to Portland next year and thanks to Cameron Dershem I’m also looking cautiously forward to 2017 when PyCon will be in Cleveland.

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