PyconSG 2013: Thank you and Call For Volunteers for PyconSG 2014


Thank you!

The organizing committee for Pycon.SG 2013 has officially retired after last night’s post-mortem session.

We have aggregated all your feedback and we would like to take the opportunity to thank you – speakers, sponsors, participants – for making our inaugural Python Conference SG a grand success. We have a total of 230 participants in this year’s conference – a really good turn out considering that this is a local python conference and not a regional one!

Python conferences – Pycon US, Europython, Pycon Asia-Pac – have always been a community driven affair, and these conferences are great learning and socializing affairs where the python programming language and all of us python developers in the community come together to share our knowledge, skills and expertise.

As conference chair for PyconSG 2013, I am very proud that this year’s conference is a community-driven effort with active members in our local community coming forward to contribute their time and expertise to make things happen; I am also very pleased to be working with forward-looking organizations that have come forward with generous financial sponsorship and venue support.

I truly believe that our technology industry will continue to grow and prosper as long as there are forward-looking companies and organizations who recognize that the technical talents in the community are the “operating system” that innovate and make things happen.  These forward-looking organizations understand the value of technical innovation and are willing to pay it forward through events like PyconSG.

It is this spirit of paying it forward among companies, volunteers and community members alike that will make this an exciting and egalitarian industry for each and every one of us, to build our careers in – for a long time to come.

And so, my kudos to the people and organizations that made it all happen…

Organizing Committee 2013

  • Sayanee Basu, lightning talk coordinator
  • Chinmay Pendharkar, video/audio coordinator
  • Ivan Zimine, tutorials coordinator
  • George Goh, talks coordinator
  • Victor Neo, talks/tutorials coordinator (assist)
  • Chng Nai Yun, publicity and start-up booth coordinator
  • Koh Chuan Yeong, publicity and start-up booth coordinator (assist)
  • Max Yap, food coordinator
  • Joyce Law, food coordinator (assist)
  • Martin Brochaus, website coordinator
  • Luther Goh, sponsorship coordinator
  • Laurence Putra Franslay, sponsorship coordinator
  • Michael Lee, treasurer
  • Maurice Ling, advisor
  • Liew Beng Keat, advisor


  • Nvidia (Oxana Plis, marketing manager)
  • Odd-e (Stuart Turner)
  • Republic Polytechnic (Liew Beng Keat), as Venue Sponsor


  • IDA (Charleen Wong and Harville Tan)

Special Mention

  • Liana Ho, NUS Enterprise, for graciously providing the conference rooms for the organizing committee to convene all its meetings!

Special thanks to Keynote Speaker

  • Wes McKinney, for suffering a bad neighbor during his flight here from San Francisco, for his jetlag, for his awesome keynote and for enjoying chili crabs and beer with us after the conference! :-)

I thank you all.  Because you are the people that made it all happen.

Call for volunteers

As our responsibilities and obligations as organizing committee members for Pycon 2013 draw to a close, this is a good opportunity to encourage members of the community to come forward and volunteer their time, skills and expertise for Pycon 2014.  Being the awesome community we are, we are going to start preparations for Pycon 2014 early so next year’s conference will be the best one ever!  Unfortunately, I will not be partaking in next year’s conference organization as I am expecting a new member in my small, growing family and so will have to change my priorities accordingly. But having experienced first hand how awesome every one operates in the community and in this year’s committee, I have great faith that the local community and PyconSG’s future is in great hands.

Extracted from The Zen of Python by Tim Peters:

Now is better than never.
Although never is often better than *right* now.

The Americans talk in strange ways…I will Singaporeanize and override the original meaning for easy consumption and for our own objectives:

Preparations will start “now”, though not *right* now.
Don’t say I “never” tell you.


Therefore, the election for PyconSG 2014 Organizing Committee will happen on 17th July 2013 @ HackerspaceSG.  Details of the meeting and updates can be found on our active community facebook group -

We also have a mailing list here -!forum/pythonsg.

We hope to see you at this PyconSG 2014 committee set-up meeting if you would like to put yourself forward and contribute your time and expertise for PyconSG 2014!


Zouk versus Potluck: what kind of party are you throwing?

I am part of the organizing committee for this year’s (2013) Pycon SG (Python Conference, Singapore).  To provide some context, our organizing committee for this year’s conference is made up of very interesting and competent volunteers with diverse experiences organizing other conferences such as the JSCamp SG, Geekcamp SG.

What is Pycon?

“Pycon” (Python conference) is a world wide conference held in different locations all over the world – the big ones being held in USA as Pycon USA and in Europe as EuroPython, as examples.  Various countries also run their country-specific python conference, such as Pycon Taiwan, Pycon Italia – just to name a few.  I have personally participated as a speaker in EuroPython 2011 and in Pycon Asia-Pac (SG) 2010 as a tutorial facilitator.  Unfortunately, because of work reasons, I did not manage to participate in any Pycon in 2012.

One of the often controversial issues that has come up as part of the organization of Pycon is the issue of conference tickets payment for organizing committee members and speakers.

  • Do speakers have to pay?
  • Do committee members have to pay?

This issue has surfaced several times in djangocon in the US and in Europe (which is somewhat related, but not directly, to Pycon and Python Software Foundation) and in our own organization of Pycon SG since it started in 2010.

Jesse Noller has written a long article about this in 2011 explaining the context of “policy” decisions made in the organization of Pycon and why certain things are done in a certain manner.  The full text of his article can be found here -

Different approaches to handle a Problem

Understandably, not every conference is organized in the manner which Pycon USA/Jesse Noller does it.  I have attended conferences in Singapore where it is completely free for everyone – free for participants, free for speakers, free for organizers – in which case the costs of running those conferences completely fall on the shoulders of anchor sponsors.

I have also attended conferences where participants have to pay for the conference tickets but speakers and organizers do not have to pay.  In short, there are different ways to organize a party. :-)

I draw this approximate analogy –

A zouk party is not free for the standard customer.  However, organizers (the owners of zouk and the staff for zouk) obviously get to walk in and out without needing to pay a single cent.  In addition, beautiful girls and, to be gender-neutral, handsome model dudes (the rough equivalent of speakers) may not have to pay a single cent because they are considered the main attraction for the party.

There are other kinds of parties – for instance, potluck parties, where both guests and hosts (“the organizers”) and no matter how “beautiful you are”, you bring your own “food” (i.e. you pay) and you contribute to the party.

Well, hopefully my analogy clarifies the confusion for my peers or any speakers who might be more used to organizing or participating in a “Zouk party”.

No One Right Way

There’s no one right way to organize a party – zouk or potluck and as Jesse Noller puts it, “I’m not going to state that this policy is perfect; nor that it won’t be changed“.

It is pretty much up to the organizing committee to decide how they would like to throw their party.  But at the moment, for this year, Pycon 2013 is a potluck party where “everybody pays”.  And with a caveat that there is Financial Assistance available for people who do need it on a case-by-case basis.

To quote Jesse Noller:

“””Now; an interesting aspect of this is that PyCon, as a conference, offers a very generous financial aid program – this means that some attendees, speakers, tutorial presenters, etc have some, or in rare cases, all of their expenses such as flight, hotel and admission provided to them from the PyCon budget. PyCon goes out of it’s way to encourage people to apply for financial aid – even if we can’t cover all of your expenses, we will give you free admissionbased on need. The FA application process is simple, and straightforward. It’s also very liberal – the only caveat is that speakers at the conference “get bumped to the top” of the applications so that we don’t lose a good talk because of financial need. We also don’t ban anyone from applying (for example, I needed assistance in 2010 even as the PC chair).”“”


Python Contract Developer rates – The Appeal

Inspired by Simon Wolf’s “Cocoa Contract Developer Rates – The Appeal“, I am putting out a similar appeal for python software developers. If you are a python user, I would appreciate it if you could help me spread the word. Thanks a lot in advance!

My colleagues and I have taken a progressive approach towards increasing our rates year-by-year as our team’s reputation and complexity of projects we handle increase.  So we would like to find out more about how the python developers in the community at large manage their hourly rates and their general approach towards executing and charging for developing projects.

Obligatory kick-ass Python Ninja cartoon by talented artist plaidklaus @ DeviantArt  :-D


All results collected will be published (except for contact information should you volunteer to provide them) for the community’s benefit.

In case you can’t key in your response directly here,  head over to the Google Docs page.