A Weekend In Russia

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Russia’s first ever PyCon. If you’re not familiar, PyCon is the name used for several Python programming conferences.

The event itself was set at a holiday lodge in Yekaterinburg and had somewhere between 200 and 300 attendees.

It’s not often I get the chance to attend the country-specific Python events, but the more of them I see and hear about the more envious I am of the communities. In the US we only have a couple of large Python related events, the two I attend being PyCon US (~2500 attendees this year), and DjangoCon.

The event itself was mostly Russian speakers, with a few international speakers. Myself, along with several others (including Russell Keith-Magee, Jeff Lindsay, Holger Krekel, Armin Ronacher, and Amir Salihefendic) were invited to speak at the event. While I don’t speak any Russian, so I was not able to attend every talk, all of the content I saw was very good.

Overall the feel was very personal, and while it was put on by a professional organization it really had the community feel that I miss from when PyCon was much smaller. It was two full days of talks, along with the typical social events you might find. It was a lot of fun, and it amazes me how large our industry is that in a country that is located (inconveniently) so far away, that they can still find plenty of people interested in attending.

The event started with all of the invited speakers receiving a Russian hat with the PyCon Russia logo. The organization (IT-People) who were running the conference had already gone out of the way to make it easy for us international attendees, and this added to the feel and thoughtfulness that seemed to be throughout the conference.

I’m not familiar with how large many of the other country specific Python conferences are, but I expect PyCon Russia will be even more successful next year. The community feeling that you get from events like this is why I enjoy attending EuroPython each year. I definitely miss that feeling as PyCon (US) has grown larger.

Below you’ll find the slides for my talk “Building to Scale”:

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