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Suggestions for 2009

This page should be used as a place to capture the ideas that we don't want to forget to incorporate in 2009 given our fresh perspectives on 2008... so.... list away! (also, feel free to add topics/sections, the list below was just a quick start)

Financial Aid

  • Make reimbursement process easier by creating a pdf for recipients to fill out instead of making them create their own.

Food, etc.

  • Have water be available in the hallways, not just the rooms
  • Convince the food vendors / hotel to leave the food trays around for longer than the few minutes when scheduled meal breaks are. Numerous times I missed the provided food due to an extended conversation following a talk or having been in the vendor area.


  • Better/more signage.
  • Large corkboard or whiteboard in registration area
  • Large whiteboards in common areas across hotels if we need to communicate across hotels
  • Large cardboard map of convention areas (meeting rooms in hotels and convention area) with meeting places labeled.
  • Push-to-talk handsets to facilitate communication. Cell phones are unreliable.

Lightning Talks

  • Be more specific that talks should be more than a sales or recruiting pitch. Tell us about what you're doing!
  • Point people to example lightning talk videos, once we get them posted.
  • Post a list of the lightning talks once the signup sheet has been taken down; people were unsure if they were accepted or not, and asked at the reg. desk.
  • Use "Huge Applause" sign video layover to help speakers know they're 5 minutes is up.


  • wired network for speakers' podiums, vendors & sponsors who request it, tutorials (esp. tutorial instructors)
  • wired network for tutorials -- too many people need to install at the beginning of a tutorial and it was too easy for the wireless to go down thus holding up progress on tutorials.
  • wired network for registration desk.
  • have a networking-status page in the wiki. The Reg. desk can print it every morning and make copies available.
  • Will we need to supply networking for any other hotels now that the convention is spanning multiple hotels?

Open Space

  • introduction to open space for attendees
    • The idea for an introduction 3x5 card at registration is great. "Hipster's Guide to Ridiculously Easy Group Forming"
    • Encourage group formers to create a wiki page with more info.
  • more announcements about open spaces
    • open space manager to give a short introduction, possibly before the plenary sessions
    • each session chair mentions open spaces that they're interested in
    • add scheduled open spaces to the daily schedule changes sheet
  • more visible open space signup board
  • Vertical and horizontal grid allignment lines on board.
  • Overflow board for areas such as atrium, bar.
  • Communicate recording options so we can capture great sessions such as "Teach Me Twisted"

Registration Desk

  • Have a simple badge printing program so that Mary can print badges w/o having to create a registration.
  • make on-site registration faster -- get a terminal? do it in PayFlow's (or should I call it PayFlaw?) management interface? outsource the whole registration process to a third party?
  • make using the reg. software faster -- shortcuts for common tasks, alt tag on the badge image, other tweaks.


  • Dedicate space for recruiting
    • Use open space room(s)?
  • Encourage sponsors to set up social events (parties, dinners, mixers, etc.).
  • Make sure all sponsor bag materials are onsite the day before the tutorials so bags don't need to be handed out w/ partial content

Talk Selection Process

  • Keep speaker names on proposals during reviews
  • Organize scheduled talks into themed tracks

Talk Logistics

  • Better wrangling of speakers at speaking time, including:
    • Present before session
    • Session chair hands out release forms
    • Make sure all required A/V resources are available and working (sound, etc)
    • Check/set display resolution
  • Headset mics to free up both hands?
  • Buffer zone around A/V setup to avoid RFI from Blackberry devices and such
  • Email in advance and/or give a handout to all presenters (including lightening talkers) to include:
    • suggestion to turn off screensavers, IM clients, etc that might interrupt the talk
    • warnings against poorly contrasting colors (e.g. yellow on green)
    • supported projector resolutions
    • recommended minimum font size for legibility at various resolutions
    • suggestion to backup their presentation prior to the day of their talk :-)
  • A spare DVI to VGA adapter per room
  • Perhaps a spare projector in the speaker's ready room which can be used to test the speaker's equipment out prior to their talk
  • A PyCon logo (w/year) to cover up the hotel logo placard on the podiums so that we don't have the hotel name in all the videos AND we have a reminder of the year -- perhaps this idea could mutate into having a sign with the speaker's name and talk title for visibility on the video.


  • The evening session worked well. What about 2 days of tutorials?
  • Allow for instructors to communicate with students (pre-conference)
    • wiki
    • mailing list
    • broadcast message
    • allow students to "release" their email address
  • Allow time during the selection process to allow for "back and forth" between the selection committee and those proposing tutorials. This will allow for clarification, modification and/or expansion on the proposal.
  • Score tutorials:
    • -2: No!
    • -1: Leaning against
    • 0: Neutral
    • +1: Leaning for
    • +2: Yes!

(how is the above scoring methodology any different than the traditional set of {-1,-0,0,+0,+1}? they've got the same number of positive, neg. and neutral values and have the added benefit of being the convention (thus far))

  • Skype for scoring sessions? Much more effective than IM
  • Set up 1 Google doc with all of the related with all of the tutorial related spreadsheets
    • Proposal scoring and status (accepted, rejected, awaiting input, etc.)
    • Room assignments
    • handout status (pdf received, off to printer, received from printer)
    • Tutorial status (open, canceled, full, closed)
  • Have one, ''and only one'', primary contact per tutorial.
  • Get a headset (microphone) for each instructor.
  • Have instructors meet in a "ready room" so instructors can fill out the release form before their session.
  • Explain the release form beforehand so there is no confusion (yeah, right :-)
  • Notify the instructors that the handouts will be in black-and-white (with gray scale) so they will not depend on colour to make their point(s).
  • Have a way to verify handouts have been delivered to the hotel before tutorial day.
  • Get financial information sooner, especially for non-US instructors.
  • Make a template for proposals so we have consistent section names (RTF format?)
  • Ask proposals for "ideal" and "maximum" (effective) class size (but don't guarantee either)
  • Get slides online for emergency access (computer dies, etc.)
  • Set up a waiting list for tutorials.
  • Is there a way to allow instructors to submit handout notes later? Brian said that the print shop had the jobs done before he could walk across the (very large) shop to get them. Could the notes be submitted a day or two before tutorial day?


  • Start with PSF Community Awards to allow the recipients, if present, to receive congratulations all weekend.
  • Bigger raffle. No pick-up, just announce winners, pick up prizes at vendor booths. This may help us get more minor sponsors and more sponsor air-time. Unclaimed prizes can be re-raffled at later event.


  • A prominent contact email address for most things -- i.e. just to field and route questions to the right person...
  • More pictures of PyCon's diverse human population
  • Post conference dates, locations, and Tenative Schedule as early as possible to help cost planning (flights, justification, schedule priorities, etc.)

Volunteer Coordination

  • Schedule major planning huddles for volunteers to pick up information (on paper) and updates to learn...
    • Who are the Go-To people and places for specific issues (Safety, A/V, Scheduling, ...)
    • What activities could use filler people
    • What filler tasks job requirements are (manning t-shirt and registration desk, how to assist Open Spacers, lost folk.)
    • Name, Role and 1 Quick Question round-the-room
    • Pick up Staff T-Shirts
  • Volunteer name-tag banners to encourage folks to ask questions. "Need a map?"

Job Board

  • Physical cork board?
  • Or publicize the online job board.
  • Supply introduction in registration materials similar to Open Spaces.


  • provide CTA and metra schedules at the hotel

PyCon Office

  • Printer available.
  • Supplies.
  • Where the PyCon Chair hides.

On-Site Feedback

  • Issues with the venue, staff, food: talk to the PyCon Chair, or to a volunteer who will pass it on. (Write it down on an index card!)
  • Suggestions box?

CategoryPyCon2009, CategoryPyCon2008, CategoryPyConPlanning, CategoryPyCon

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