I hope there are a few people still reading! There was a lot to talk about in an 8-day, 1000-plus-attendee, volunteer-run conference like PyCon 2008.
Organizing a conference of this scale is a lot of work, much more than any one person could do. I didn't mention everyone who helped out... but you know who you are. To all the speakers, sprinters, attendees, sponsors, organizers, and volunteers:
I had a blast chairing this year's PyCon, and I hope that next year's conference is even better.
To me, PyCon is no longer primarily about the talks, or the projects, or the code. (I hardly got to see any talks this year, my projects are on hold, and I haven't written much non-work code lately…)
Don't get me wrong -- talks, projects, and code are important, especially to new attendees. These aspects used to be the most important parts of PyCon to me too. The talks and projects are what allow us to have a conference at all; they're the framework everything else is built on.
But to me, now, PyCon is about the people, and the community.
PyCon's motto is "Connecting the Python Community", and that's what it's really all about. It's about renewing friendships and making new friends. It's about exchanging ideas face to face. It's about sharing meals with your peers. It's about putting faces to names that you've interacted with over the sterile internet, adding human warmth to cold code (beyond the obligatory Monty Python references, that is!).
When I communicate with people I've met at PyCon, via email or IM or IRC or blogs, I hear their voices in their words, and I can picture their faces in my mind. This has great value to me.
I believe that many repeat attendees share this view, especially those who are deeply committed to the Python community. I hope that new attendees gain a sense of this as well. We have something special in our community and in our conference. As PyCon and Python grow, we will have to work to keep it.
(So, ONE LAST TIME:) As a growing volunteer-driven community conference, PyCon needs lots of help -- your help. No matter how much or little time you have to give, we can use your help!
I hope you'll join us, and I hope to see you at PyCon next year!