Conference Recap: PyCon 2014


This weekend I attended and spoke at my first ever PyCon. For those not familiar, PyCon is the largest annual gathering of the Python programming community. This year it was in Montréal.

I'm pretty wiped from the conf, so I don't have time for a longform post. Here are some stream of consciousness points and tweets.

Shout out to Julia Elman for convincing me to go and submit my talk. I wouldn't have been there without her. <3

Girl Develop It had a great presence at the conference. It was so wonderful to meet folks from other chapters in person and do some outreach.

PyLadies were in full force at the conference. They sponsored a bunch of scholarships, were speaking at the conference, helping out as organizers, and generally being awesome. The PyLadies lunch on Sunday was a great way to end the conference for me.

I won $500 for Pyladies from Heroku!

There were 1/3 women speakers and attendees! It was noticeable even without hearing those numbers. I hear the majority of this is due to Jessica McKellar and Pyladies. Thank you!

The geek feminism open space gave me a great place to go relax, decompress, and hang out with friends. Every conference needs this.

It was wonderful to see ALL THE FRIENDS. The tech feminist cabal (that title is a joke) was in full force and it was the best thing.

I spent $160 on a signed copy of Lean In. Don't worry, the proceeds go to benefit Pyladies. I donated the book to Double Union for corrections and edits. I kept the slipcover for potential future use.

I love the conference's dedication to their code of conduct, especially after all the things that happened last year.

My only constructive criticism is that the conference could improve how they handle Q&A. Many people used the space as a mini lightning talk or asked multiple questions. A moderator that instructs people to be brief and actually ask questions might help. I totally understand this is a hard problem, and I rarely see it handled well (unless you count not having Q&A). Audience members don't tend to listen, so it's difficult to improve. I'd love the conf even if they can't fix this.

Favorite talks

Here are some of my favorite talks listed in the order that I saw them. It's amazing how fast they got videos up, so that I could catch things I missed and share with all of you right away.

Selena Deckelmann's The Python Pipeline: Why you should reach out to local teachers

Jessica McKellar's keynote

Julie Lavoie's Analyzing Rap Lyrics with Python

Naomi Ceder's Farewell and Welcome Home: Python in Two Genders

I missed seeing this talk live because of my early flight, and I'm really sad about that. Thankfully, videos were up quickly, and I got to watch it when I got home. It's so good. Everyone should watch this, but especially cisgender people.

My talk

This was my first talk at a multitrack conference. I was a little nervous about people showing up because I was late in the day and would have competition. Thankfully, I had a full audience with a bunch of friends in the front row. It was an honor to have Naomi Ceder introduce me.

I think the talk went really well - I got a ton of positive feedback afterwards. I'm so thrilled that it resonated with people and really enjoyed the conversations we had afterwards. Thanks for creating a great environment for me to speak.

You can find my slides and video online.


I had a great time at PyCon. I want to go again next year. It convinced me that it's finally time to move communities. I tweeted the things below my last day at the conference. I stand by them.