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PyCon US 2013: How many talk tracks are there?

You're probably wondering where the program is for PyCon 2013 coming in March. The short version is that, well - the program committee is having meetings almost every day trying to go through 459 individual talk proposals. 

Yes. Four Hundred and Fifty-Nine.

That's astounding. Literally unprecedented in the history of the conference. You can ask the team - I was fretting and hand wringing and pacing all over worrying about not having enough proposals and then the tidal wave hit. 459. Amazing. To top that? 129 tutorial proposals.

This is amazing.

It also presents the staff, volunteers and program committee a conundrum. With the 5 tracks PyCon's main conference has room for maybe 90 talks. That's if we squeeze and push. With 459 proposals, the majority of which are exceedingly high quality, incredibly interesting and completely community driven, the program committee is under immense stress and an astounding workload.

So, to relieve some of it - and to be able to share even more with the community at the conference, I am pleased to announce we are adding a 6th track to PyCon 2013. 

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That's right. Instead of 5 tracks, we're adding a 6th. I know - this puts pressure on you, as attendees when we announce the schedule to have to pick between 6 simultaneously potentially interesting talks. That's why we're also recording all talks - the hallway track and down time is still important to us. But just as important to us is the ability to expose the community to amazing speakers, awesome topics and to spread knowledge as far and as wide as we can.

Yes - this means more hard choices when attending talks, but it also means more choice, and more variety. Luckily, with the success of PyCon 2012 and the ongoing strength of PyCon 2013 projections, and the amazing, continued support of our sponsors (and trust me, we still need more!) this means we can expand 2013 to sustain this.

Keep in mind though, this will probably be the only year we do this - we have the convention center space, we have you - our amazing and supportive community and sponsors. 2013 is the year we pull out all the stops - we have even more announcements coming.

Thank you - feedback (and sponsorship), as always, is welcome.

Jesse Noller - Chair, PyCon 2013.


Anonymous said…
A friendly suggestion: this year I went to OSCON by O'Reilly, which had a large number of parallel tracks, and in general was an enormous event. I think one mistake that was made was the estimate of the distribution among the tracks. It seemed as though it was assumed that people would spread out evenly, and so some of the rooms were too small to hold the excited crowd. This was very disappointing because it meant that if you didn't run to your next chosen talk, you could be left outside and miss out.

I don't know what the convention center you're using is like, so perhaps this isn't an issue, but please be mindful of the fact that some talks will simply be more popular than others, and so larger rooms may be needed.

Looking forward to the event.
Lennart Regebro said…
PloneConf this year let people say what talks they wanted to see, so it was possible to arrange them for maximum availability.

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