Episode 5 – Ned Batchelder

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Brief Introduction

  • Date of recording – May 4th, 2015
  • Hosts – Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Overview – Interview with Ned Batchelder
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Interview with Ned Batchelder

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
    • Zope
    • … Implemented in Python
  • How did you get started as the organizer for Boston Python Meetup?
    • History is long and varied (Why is this switching to numbers?
    • Started – 6 people sitting around a coffee table
    • 5 or 6 years
    • Co-organizer Jessica McKeller
      • Built structures to help keep the community goingr
    • Weekend Python Workshop
      • People ‘adjacent’ to the male members – wives, mothers, etc.
    • “What comes next” from weekend workshops – became Project Night
  • How much of your time ends up being dedicated to the Python community?
    • Also maitainer of coverage.py
    • Active on Freenode IRC #python
    • 20 hours a week
  • What are your goals for the Boston Python community?
    • Continue to grow
    • More events, different events?
    • chipy – Chicago UG very active – 1 on 1 mentoring program
    • Smaller events – 5 person events – study groups
      • All levels not just beginners
      • Computational Biologists – study genomics
      • Three user groups
        • Pyladies Boston
        • DJango Boston
        • Boston Python Meetup
  • What do you find to be the most important thing(s) for building a healthy community (particularly in reference to programming)?
    • Consistency – good to know what to expect
    • Pick a cadence – don’t burn out
  • Speakers aren’t superheroes, they’re just people. ‘Everyone has at least one talk in them’.
  • Value in having a blog, twitter stream – people talk back to you and by correcting your mistakes everyone benefits.
  • How do you keep people engaged outside of the monthly meetings?
  • What do you like the most/least about the Python community?
    • Communities can improve – IRC has gotten better
    • Turmoil on PSF mailing list over election for directors
  • How do you strike a balance between sponsors and the rest of the community? Do you have policies around sponsored presentations / talks?
    • Tend not to do sponsored talks
    • Microsoft NERD – great benefit to Boston Python
    • Provides monthly space for the group
    • 1 minute slots for sponsors
    • No sales pitches
  • What are the steps I can take to start my own tech community?
    • How can you get the word out?
    • Meetup.com is useful
    • People like free food and beer 🙂
    • Be predictable. Pick something sustainable
  • What is the State of Python, from your perspective?
    • No signs of slowing down
    • Ruby people are moving to other environments
    • Python people are still using Python
    • Python 2 to 3 conflict is unfortunate – transition could have been handled more smoothly
    • Python 3 ecosystem is getting much better
    • Next big drama – type hinting proposal
    • Appears to be contrary to one of the basics tenets of the language at first blush
  • Do you feel that Boston will ever have its own regional Python conference?
    • Toyed with bid to bring Pycon to Boston
    • Would require someone stepping up to do it
    • Not sure how a regional conference ‘feels’ as a local event
    • Try to have Boston Python be like a year long conference all year long
    • Huge undertaking


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