I'm going to take a moment to admit something - chairing PyCon 2012 is close to a full-time job. You're working constantly - negotiating, planning, thinking about ways to make the conference better than it has been in the past. There are some less-fun parts, too: legal negotiations, making hard decisions - all the things you might think come along with trying to manage a volunteer run, community-driven conference. My family and coworkers are most probably tired of hearing me talk about everything going on that's going on to make this PyCon the biggest and best yet.
That said, being chair has its special moments. Even before PyCon opens in March, I get the privilege to work with an amazing community of volunteers and to act as a representative for the Python community as a whole. I get the privilege to hear about all sorts of wonderful, new places where Python is popping up. I get to have conversations with people and sponsors all over the world and to hear how Python is helping them, and listening to them talk about how great it is to be part of this community.
I get the privilege and honor to work with our amazing array of over 77 sponsors - companies like DropBox, Heroku and Google who have stepped up to be Diamond sponsors, I get to work with and listen to the stories of Gondor.io (by Eldarion), Nebula, New Relic, EventBrite, Microsoft, Nasuni (my employer), and SurveyMonkey. These - and all of our sponsors come from an array of industries and walks of life. From startups to corporate giants, all of these companies have come forward to show their support for the Python Community.
These companies support helps make PyCon affordable - it allows them to show the community their love and attention, it gives me the privilege of having a robust financial aid budget and to make outreach partnerships with organizations like PyLadies.
Today, I have the privilege of announcing a new Gold sponsor - but this sponsor is extra special to me, because they make something - programmable in Python, which is simply put: Awesome. It is this guy, fully programmable in Python:
Today I am very pleased to announce Aldebaran Robotics is joining us as a Gold sponsor. I was lucky enough to get a call from them about a week ago, expressing interest in reaching out and getting involved with PyCon, and the Python community. You might have seen some news about them - they were just featured on TechCrunch on Monday. They make robots - robots programmable with the power of Python (and you can join their developer program). Consider my mind blown.
This is one of those moments in a person's life when you just say "Yes". But as others can attest, I said "Yes… But…"
That "but" is why I'm so excited today - in addition to joining us as a sponsor, Aldebaran has agreed to allow me give one of these wonderful robots away to a single lucky attendee at PyCon (don't worry - I don't qualify). Yup - attend PyCon and stay until the closing ceremonies on Sunday (you have to be present) and you could walk away with 23 inches of next-generation, Python programmable, robot awesome.
PyCon 2012 registration is open - we already have an amazing array of tutorials and the main conference talk list will be soon to follow. Come join all of us working on this conference, our amazing supporting sponsors and the amazing community for something awesome.
Thank you - to the community, the sponsors and the volunteers for allowing me to experience this.
- Jesse Noller - PyCon 2012