PyConIL 2019 retrospective and improvement suggestions

I started to write this during the days immediately after PyConIL 2019 ended, but then I somehow did not send it and did not publish it. Now, more than half a year later when the main organizers have already started working on next year's event it might be too late. Or maybe not.

So I have rewritten it a bit.

I had a minor part in organizing the event, specifically I was part of the team organizing the BOFs and the "After Party" at the end of the first day.

Hi,

thank you for the conference it was awesome!

Just a couple of thoughts and improvement suggestions for next year. Some needs development work to have support on the web site. Some probably not.

More information, more communication

IMHO we should send out a lot more updates to the general public and to the registered visitors. That will keep them informed and we can ask for more help. We would have more opportunities to explain what is going to happen in the social event and in general at the conference.

This can include updates that are published in the form of a blog post on the web site of the conference. It can include e-mails sent out to a mailing list of people interested in the event and to anyone who already purchased tickets. Even if there is no real need to promote the event as more people want to attend than places we have, people usually like to know what's going to happen. IMHO this is especially useful for the people who are not in the "core" of the Python community. People who don't frequently attend Python-related meetings.

We could also send out a couple of follow-up e-mails after the conference.

  • When the videos are all uploaded.
  • When the videos are added to pyvideo.org.
  • When you start organizing the next event as call for volunteers.

Who is coming?

Make it easier for people to find each other during and after the conference. Allow the participants with tickets to have a profile on the PyConIL web site with their name, picture, a short bio. Allow including links to their profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub).

BOFs

IMHO we should make it more grass-root: We can provide a system (a wiki would be good enough) where registered people can list the BOF topics they would like to have and where participants can add their name to the BOF they are interested in. This up-front involvement will make the BOFs more fun and IMHO more people will stay.

We should distribute the drinks and food earlier or we should involve more people in the distribution so everything will be ready by the time people leave the last presentation. We could also allow people to organize BOFs during the lunch breaks or even during the times of the talks. In the "Hallway track".

Let them self-organize. If we can't have a wiki-like thing integrated in the web site we could use the wiki of a GitHub project.

Collect talk preferences of registered people long before the schedule is prepared.

Once you start to approve talks provide a way (on the web site) so people with tickets can mark the talks they are interested in. You can then take this information in account when allocating talks to rooms. This will help making sure the more popular talks are in the bigger rooms.

Having a bunch of talks approved can also be an opportunity to communicate. See above.

Food

IMHO we can go and buy a bunch of small chocolates in a Supermarket and then distribute them after lunch. It is not very expensive and based on what I saw in 2019 people love those and need the energy soon after the lunch.

Entrance fee

A training course in Israel costs about 1000-2000 NIS + VAT / day / person. The real cost to the companies however is the "lost workday" that can be another (1500-3000 NIS + VAT / day / person)

IMHO the majority of tickets were paid by corporations anyway.

So we can easily raise the ticket prices to 1000 NIS / 2 -days and provide deep discounts to individuals. We could also provide more opportunities for people to volunteer and get in free. The bigger budget will allow us all kinds of nice things.

e.g.

  • full price 1500 NIS + VAT
  • early bird corporate: 1000 NIS + VAT (more than one month before the event)
  • non-profits/private people: send e-mail and charge them 200 NIS / 2 days.

Feedback form

Do we really want to require A Google account and e-mail address for this? I think it would be much better if this was anonymous with optional self-identification. In any case IMHO the e-mail should be the last question. At the beginning we could indicate the length of the form so people know what to expect.

Was this sent out to the people who got the ticket assignment or only to the people who bought the ticket? (I wonder, because I bought a ticket and assigned to my son and I got the e-mail with the feedback form.)

Was the result of the feedback form published somewhere?

Published on 2020-01-01 by Gabor Szabo