2023 was a busy year for the PyTexas Foundation, from our annual conference, launching new websites, and establishing a new virtual meetup the Foundation was active all year.
PyTexas 2023 Conference¶
The 17th annual PyTexas Conference was held on April 1st - 2nd, 2023 in Austin, Texas at the Austin Central Public Library. Brandon Rhodes and Andrew "Pandy" Knight delivered the opening keynotes each morning respectively, and 17 speakers from across the state and nation presented.
We checked-in 141 attendees this year, 84% of attendees residing in Texas and 66% being first time attendees. Various roles were represented amongst the attendees but the majority of attendees this year were software engineers with 50% of attendees having 7+ years of experience.
At the end of the conference, we announced that PyTexas 2024 will be held at the same location April 19th - 21st, 2024.
Launch of the PyTexas Foundation Websites and a Unified Tech Stack¶
For many years the Board Members have discussed creating a PyTexas Foundation website. We also wanted to decide on a unified tech stack for all PyTexas assets. We wanted to consolidate deployments to a single platform, use static site generators whenever possible, and establish a unified set of tools and processes for building PyTexas assets. Being a low-revenue non-profit organization, anything that was free was preferred.
We decided to go with
mkdocs and the
Material extension for our static
site generator. The projects are open-source and built using Python. All static
sites are hosted via GitHub pages using GitHub actions for CI. This year we launched
the PyTexas Foundation Website, the PyTexas Conference Website, and the PyTexas Meetup Website.
A huge shout out to Laura Santamaria for her efforts in leading this transition.
Expansion of the PyTexas Community Discord¶
In 2022 we launched a Discord server to replace our defunct Slack workspace for community engagement. With Slack announcing the limitation on message retention we decided the move was necessary. While we made the move in 2022, it wasn't until 2023 that we started to see people actually engaging in the server. We now host our monthly meetup there (more below), a weekly Friday hangout, and have various text channels for discussion.
After various discussions with Texas Pythonistas we discovered that Texas was missing a vital piece of its meetup ecosystem. Many local meetups had yet to make a return and many who did have a local meetup lived too far away to make it to the meetup consistently. For those who aren't aware, Texas is a huge state. Major cities such as Dallas and Houston are large enough that traversing from one side to the other can take multiple hours by car. In response, a few of the PyTexas Conference organizers decided to start a PyTexas Virtual Meetup that is held once a month in our Discord Server. We had our first meetup on September 12, 2023, and have settled into holding our Monthly Meetup on the first Tuesday of the month at 8:00pm CST (except when there is a holiday conflict, in which case we will move to the second Tuesday).
2024 and Beyond¶
2022 was a recovery year, 2023 was a foundational building year, 2024 will hopefully be an expansion year.
The goal of the PyTexas Foundation is and will continue to be the stewardship of the Texas Python Community. Our goal is to not only put on our own events, but be able to informationally, instrumentally, and financially support other Python based events within the great state of Texas (and hopefully not just within the major cities).
PyTexas 2024 Conference and Meetups¶
The Annual PyTexas 2024 Conference will be held April 19 - 21, 2024 in Austin, Texas at the Austin Central Public Library. This will be the first year since 2017 where the conference will have tutorials the day before the main conference. Early Bird tickets are currently on sale on our website and the CFP closes January 14, 2024.
The PyTexas Meetup will continue to host its monthly meetup. If you'd like to speak at the meetup, fill out the form on the meetup site homepage
Secure More Funding¶
For nearly the entirety of its lifetime, the conference was the Foundation's only expense and fundraising event via sponsorships. With the expansion into meetups and the eventual goal of supporting local meetups we have to rethink our fundraising efforts. We hope to be able to roll out a sponsorship package for sponsoring the PyTexas Meetup and even the Foundation overall within this coming year, so keep an eye on our website and socials for its announcement.
Increase Awareness Through Marketing¶
This mostly means more social media awareness. We're going to experiment with paid LinkedIn ads leading up to the PyTexas Conference in April. We will evaluate the performance of these ads and decide if we use them going forward for both the conference and meetup.
Foster the Return of Local Python Meetups¶
It's no secret that the COVID-19 Pandemic decimated local meetups across the world. Many attempted to move to a virtual format, fewer survived. The meetup scene slowly started to return to normal in 2023 and we're hoping we'll be able to help Python Meetups within Texas return to their 2019 levels. Whether this is through mentoring new organizers to restart defunct meetups, helping find sponsors, speakers, or venues, or sponsoring financially for Meetup.com subscriptions and event food, the Foundation is here to support all Python related meetups in Texas as best we can.
If you are running a Python-based meetup in Texas (Python User Group, PyLadies, Django User Group, Python Web User Group, etc.) please reach out to us either via email or join our Discord Server and message us there.
Possible Single Day Unconference in the Fall¶
We've recently talked about holding a 1-day Unconference event in the Fall as an experiment to see if it's something the Python Texas Community is interested in.
If you're unaware, an Unconference is an event where there are no scheduled talks. The entire conference functions like an Open Spaces or Birds of a Feather session. We would provide a few different rooms and attendees would come with topics they wish to speak about and conduct round-table discussions in the room on the topic for 30-45 minutes, for a few sessions a day. These types of events are popular in the DevOps Days space and we'd love to get them going here.
If this is of interest to you, join our Discord Server and let us know!
We at the PyTexas Foundation are excited to continue to grow and support the Python Community within the state of Texas. Every day the number of people participating in the discord, attending our events, and volunteering to help increases.
We hope you'll join us on this journey.