Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to sell Python panel at Pycon

Do you want to use Python but are you fighting Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in your organization? Does any of this sound familiar to you?
  • Python is just a scripting language.
  • Python is too new to use in real production environments.
  • Language X has better benchmarks doing obscure math so it is better for web development.
  • Python sounds great but we've already spent so much on this expensive tool that does things badly!
A lot of people want to use Python, but their customer, management, school, government, or organization won't let them. Python is a great tool, but can be challenging to get in the door. This panel will explore how companies and individuals have successfully introduced Python, what tools are available to sell Python, how to fight the good fight, and what pitfalls there are to avoid.

Panel Questions
For this event at Pycon I've got some stock questions ready but I want the community at large to suggest some more.

For this panel I choose five speakers from the broad categories of academia, government, commercial organizations, and non-profit who have had a known impact in their organizations:

C. Titus Brown is an Open source hacker, Artificial Life/Digital Evolution, B.A. Math (Reed), Earthshine research, Ph.D. Developmental Biology and Regulatory genomics (Caltech), Python testing tools, Python Software Foundation member, Assistant Professor (Michigan State U.) - dev bio, genomics, metagenomics, software engineering. 

Note: A lot of my personal understanding on how to do web tests outside of Selenium is thanks to a Pycon tutorial given by Dr. Brown and Grig Gheorghiu back in 2008. 

Chris Shenton is a partner at Koansys LLC, a consulting company whose clients include US Federal Government agencies, Internet startups, and non-profit organizations. He is a free software and UNIX bigot, advocating for the use of both in organizations large and small. He's been involved with the Washington DC area's Python/Zope/Plone user group ZPUGDC for years, and recently was appointed to its board. 

Note: Chris has the dubious honor of introducing me to Python in 2005 and was pivotal in promoting the adoption of Python for use in NASA's Science Mission Directorate. 

Large BusinessThe Vice President of Engineering at Evite/IAC, Dan Mesh is the person credited by other Evite staff with bringing Python to life in that business. 

We used Evite for our just passed LA area hackathon and plan to use it for future events. 

Non-Profit Organizations
Rich Leland is an Application Architect at National Geographic where he uses Python on a daily basis to work on and its ecosystem of web sites. He is also the founder of django-district, a group for Django users in the Washington, DC area. In the past life he worked for Discovery Channel as Designer and Lead Web Developer. 

Small Business
Frank Wiles is President of Revolution Systems, Lawrence, KS. Expert in Internet infrastructure scaling and performance. Primarily focused on Django and PostgreSQL. 

Note: I credit Frank with providing me with a great opportunity to work with an awesome code base but also the encouragement and support to get me through my first year as a freelance consultant.

No comments: