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PyCon 2012, iPython, and what you should be doing whether you went or not

PyCon 2012 is technically over — that is, there was a closing address on Sunday. I’m still here at the sprints portion of the event, meaning I’ve contributed code to Buildbot (hooray!) and I have spent pretty much all day subtitling a talk I missed on iPython.

It’s a very good one, so go watch it, and if you’re awesome, improve my subtitles.

But there are a lot of people who came to PyCon who aren’t here anymore — they went home, some are already back to work, and the after-glow of PyCon is probably starting to wear off.

Going to technical conferences (or really, anything where you’re hanging around for days with extremely smart people) makes you feel really awesome while you’re there, and often kinda sad when you get back and start falling back into the old routines, some of your super-awesome-cool-new-ideas get shot down by the haters, and generally life happens.


You’re not going to be like that. Because I’m going to tell you how you can keep up the spirit and keep on keeping on. And this applies to PyCon, but also generally to anything where you come back feeling inspired.

  1. Publish some notes online!
    Having something you can look back on later is extremely useful. This is especially true if you learned about a new tool you want to play with, but don’t have the time to hack at immediately when you get back.
  2. Schedule an afterburn with your local user group (or host one anyway)!
    Ask your local user group to host a “What I learned at PyCon” event (bonus if you organize it yourself!). Don’t have a local Python user group? Organize an event anyway, send out the information to anyone who might be vaguely interested, and get people interested in coming to PyCon 2013 once they hear how much you learned.
  3. Demo at the user group!
    An easy way to practice speaking (so you submit a proposal to next year’s conference), take something you learned, found cool, or contributed to at PyCon 2012 — and do a demo at the user group. People will find it extremely cool, and you’ll have fun doing it. 
  4. Plan to attend or organize a regional event!
    There are many regional Python events to get involved in – PyGotham, PyOhio, many more. Planning your next trip will help you keep involved in the community. In fact, you should email the organizers and see how you can help! 
  5. Contribute to a project!
    The sprints are until Thursday — and it’s only Tuesday. Many of the projects at sprints have links to info on the sprints projects page, so there’s no reason you can’t help remotely. Poke someone on IRC, attack some tickets, and get involved. 
  6. Watch and subtitle the talks!
    I learned so much today from subtitling the iPython talk. I highly recommend helping the community by doing this, because you’ll end up listening very critically to the talks. Even if you went to the con, subtitle a talk you went to, because I guarantee you missed things from being brain-overloaded for those 3 days of talks. 

Note that whether you went to PyCon or not, you can definitely do ideas 4-6 (and #2 if someone in your community did attend and is willing to share).

Do any or preferably all of these things, and I think you’ll find that your run-of-the-mill conference afterburn can translate into a lasting upswing for your local Python community and your own involvement in it.

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