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PyCon US 2013: Highlighting DreamHost, Freshbooks, Toast Driven and Python Academy

A little under 24 hours ago; I sent out an email to our current PyCon 2013 Sponsors - sponsors are critical for the conference as I have said before, they give back to the community as a whole, they allow PyCon to keep ticket prices low, they're a constant source of jobs within the community, and their sponsorship allows us to maintain a growing financial aid budget, and work with outreach groups such as Women Who Code, PyLadies, and many others for grants for people who would not otherwise be able to to come to PyCon.

Sponsorship is more than just about money - sure, there are tangible business benefits - but the social benefits are equally important and large. Keeping this in mind, I emailed our sponsors and asked them a few simple questions:

  • What is your company using Python for, and why is it important to you (as an organization)?
  • Why does sponsoring/attending PyCon 2013 make sense for your organization?
I immediately started getting responses - all of which were excited to have the opportunity to share their stories. Here are some of the responses.

DreamHost (Silver Level + Sprints Sponsor)

DreamHost is excited to be a PyCon sponsor in 2013!

DreamHost is using Python throughout our software stack, to enhance and support our existing products, and to develop new and exciting products like DreamObjects, our cloud storage service, and DreamCompute, our upcoming OpenStack-based compute cloud, which is implemented mostly in open-source Python.

Python is important to us because it offers the best balance of performance, maintainability, and community support that we rely upon. Also, the Python community itself is uniquely interested in things like readability, code quality, and elegance.

DreamHost was founded on open source software from the very beginning. Our success comes from building on Linux, Apache, Perl, Python, PHP, MySQL, and other open source projects. We're also huge contributors to open source - a great example would be our incubation and support of Ceph (, the petabyte-scale cloud storage platform that sprung forth from our loins and is now a well-adjusted, independent, open source software project of its own. We're also founding members of the OpenStack Foundation and have three employees on the Python Software Foundation.

Sponsoring PyCon has been a great opportunity for us to do some outreach and spend some time with some of the brightest minds in the Python community. There's also no shortage of employment opportunities for skilled programmers at DreamHost, so we hope we bring some value to attendees as well.

DreamHost just introduced our cloud storage product, DreamObjects, into public beta. DreamObjects is an inexpensive, reliable cloud storage service built on open technologies. Find out more here -

We are passionate about making DreamHost the best place to develop, test, and deploy open source software! If any of your readers would be interested in testing our upcoming Cloud Compute product, which is based upon OpenStack and Ceph, we would love for them to get in touch with us!


FreshBooks (Silver Level Sponsor)

We chose Python to build a data-access layer for FreshBooks back in 2009. That layer now powers the FreshBooks system through a RESTful API via HTTP. We've also built numerous smaller webservices in Python to handle all sorts of backend operations to make FreshBooks go. We have apps using many of the major Python frameworks such as SQLAlchemy, Pylons, Django and Flask -- we don't believe in too much specialization.

Python's robust development community and the solid toolset they provide has been of critical importance to FreshBooks. Unit testing, continuous integration and open source tools give our business a solid technological underpinning.

We have sent developers to PyCon for three years straight now. Presentations, workshops and sprints give our team chances to learn new technologies and techniques, from the best in the world. Our team members have coded alongside the developers of some of the most important Python tools around, learning in great detail how these technologies work.

FreshBooks is thrilled to sponsor PyCon 2013. We support all manner of community events such as the HackDays series across Canada, and Tech Talks TO right here in Toronto. We believe a strong developer community benefits everyone.


Toast Driven (Silver Level Sponsor)

We use Python for everything, including application code, our OSS, deployment, data cleaning, importers, internal tools & fun projects/little games. We love Python because of the great community, the generally great documentation, the natural (to us) syntax & the fantastic libraries. The Python community is great because responsibility is balanced with playfulness & a sense of humor.

We've benefitted so much from Python (& really OSS in the broad), which has made our business & lives possible. Since giving back the same amount of effort would be impossible for us, we're trying to give back & support others.


Python Academy (Silver Level Sponsor)

Without Python, our company would not exist as it does today. Our core business is teaching Python. We provide high-quality Python training. This includes both open and in-house training.

Open training are courses offered at a fixed date and location. Individuals can enroll. Since we are based in Germany, most courses are in Germany, but lately we also had an open course in Italy, one is forthcoming next week in Poland and one in November in Belgium. In 2013 we will offer a course in the US (Chicago). This is in collaboration with David Beazely.

The in-house or corporate trainings can be wherever the customer wishes them to be. Our training topics cover a wide range from introduction to Python to advanced topics. Yes, we teach how metaclasses work. Students are often programmers who know other languages but we also teach people Python as a first language.

Besides covering Python as a language, we teach "Python for Scientists and Engineers". Python is used a lot in the scientific and engineering field. Our courses give an overview of the basic stack like NumPy, SciPy and matplotlib.

We also teach high performance Python, which includes various optimization and extension techniques including Cython and GIL-less Python with OpenMP.

Another topic is an introduction to software engineering with Python covering basics of testing and version control as well as introductory and advanced Django training.

Databases and Python are another topic. We offer SQLALchemy and Camelot (a framework using SQLALchemy and PyQt for fast desktop development) training.

DevOps and sys admins can learn, among other things, how to use Python to write Unix-like command line programs, work with external processes and the operating system as well as how to use regular expressions in Python.

We have more training modules: XML, GUI, threads, Windows, IronPython, Jython. Typically, we combine several modules into customer-specific courses. In general, our objective is a course that meets all customer needs.

In addition to training, we consult on Python. This includes programming new Python software but also refactoring Python code that is sub-optimal. We do this often in the form of coaching, which is a one-to-one or pair programming setting with a programmer of the customer company. The result is good Python, a.k.a. pythonic, code. We optimize existing Python programs as well.

We really would like to promote Python as much as possible. Sponsoring conferences is one way. We also sponsor EuroPython, EuroSciPy, PyCon DE and PyCon PL. We'd like to support the community. In fact, all our trainers are active in this community writing open source code, organizing Python user groups or even Python conferences.

Of course we would like to promote our services and tell the world that we offer Python training and do this well.

Personally, I have been attending PyCon every year since 2007. So far I have given twelve tutorials. Only two are allowed per person per conference, otherwise the number might be higher.

You can see all current courses and upcoming dates right here!


In closing

I love seeing things like this from the companies that gain so much from the community - but also give back. I'm personally grateful for each and every one of them. 

Of course; we're always looking for more sponsors - we need more to continue to grow, keep tickets low and offer exposure for these awesome sponsors to the community as a whole. We offer 50% discounts on Gold and Silver level sponsorship for companies under 25 employees just so we can provide exposure to companies just starting out. We've added workshops for sponsors - 1.5 hour tutorials that will be free for attendees to attend. We've added open space branding and coffee break options as well. 

We go out of our way to be flexible with each and every sponsors - from customizing packages to setting specific billing/invoicing dates that work for their budgets and needs.

Drop me a line if you'd like to join us!