Episode 87

Ewa Jodlowska, Jackie Augustine, and how the PSF managed PyCon during COVID


July 30th, 2021

33 mins 38 secs

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About this Episode


Ewa Jodlowska

Jackie Augustine


Eric Berry | Justin Dorfman | Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. We are super excited to have two guests with us, Ewa Jodlowska, who is the Executive Director of the Python Software Foundation and has been with the PSF since 2012. We also have Jackie Augustine, who is the Director of Events at the Python Software Foundation and she joined the PSF in 2018 to assist in the planning of PyCon US. Today, we’re going to talk with Ewa and Jackie about how PyCon works, which is the largest annual gathering for the community using and developing open-source Python programming language. Since PyCon US 2021 had to go virtual this year, we learn what they’ve done different, using Hubilo as their event platform, sponsors feedback, how attendance was, the value of these conferences, and if they would ever go hybrid. Also, we learn about a successful virtual job fair that Jackie did this year for PSF and find out the one thing she’s most excited for the next PyCon. Download this episode to find out much from Ewa and Jackie!

[00:03:23] Ewa fills us in how PyCon US is different from PyCon. Jackie tells us what they’ve done since last year and how they’ve adapted since COVID came through.

[00:06:08] Jackie tells us why they went with Hubilo as their event platform, and how the sponsors feedback was for the virtual experience overall.

[00:08:14] Justin asks how the attendance was for the virtual event. Also, he wonders if going forward if they see themselves doing a hybrid.

[00:12:34] Richard is curious to know from Jackie and Ewa if an ecosystem level of analysis of what PSF does and what their conferences are, influenced their decisions at all and is there anything they’re doing to make it more sustainable ecologically. Also, Jackie tells us how international attendance was at their conference.

[00:15:12] Ewa talks about the “value” of these conferences for the ecosystem as a whole and what would happen if we just never have them again.

[00:17:03] Jackie tells us about the successful job fair she did this year which was a virtual set up.

[00:18:52] Richard asks if they’ve looked into moving beyond the single annual convention format.

[00:21:08] Eric could only imagine what Jackie must go through in the weeks prior to the conference and asks her to talk a bit about the experience on an emotional level that she goes through, and she tells us what she learned through this process that she didn’t expect.

[00:24:17] Richard asks if there’s any way Jackie’s made or plans on making it easier for people who come to the conference to join in the decision-making process for a PSF, to join into working groups and feel like they’re a part of something bigger than just watching a talk, and how has that shaped how you’re planning future models.

[00:25:51] What is Jackie most excited about in the future for the next PyCon?

[00:26:01] You can find out from Ewa where to follow PSF, where you can sign up to go the conferences, and where you can follow Jackie online to connect with her.


[00:08:52] “In the end, you know, we had our goals, we had our tiers of goals, and we hit what we thought we would hit, and we were successful in that.”

[00:10:21] “I think the question that we’re asking ourselves is, do you actually take that component out in their ability for anybody to attend whether they feel comfortable traveling or not.”

[00:11:29] “When you add something like a hybrid event, you’re really planning two events at the same time, so that really changes up how we’re able to do that with the resources that we have.”

[00:13:02] “Some of the things that we’re doing or planning on doing is like the swag papers and all that is going away moving forward, so we’re taking the steps. We work with the convention centers as well and make sure that they are doing their part in the sustainability and things like that.”

[00:13:51] “Yes, it’s been wonderful for the environment that we’ve all kind of had to reset and stay home, but I also think that’s going to have a little bit of an adverse effect because now everyone is going to be like, oh my gosh, I want to be together, you know, whenever that can happen.”

[00:15:32] “And I feel like actually there are hundreds of people that attend PyCon that probably never go to a talk. All the value that’s there for them is to network with people, to talk about their projects with people, to have, you know, their projects be seen and tested, whatever the case might be.”

[00:19:30] But then PyCon went to Cleveland, but that I think also helped reinforce a lot of the attendance when you looked at the numbers and how many people attended from Ohio was really incredible, right, so it kind of brought the larger scale portion of it.”

[00:24:40] “We rely a lot of volunteer committees.”

[00:25:51] “What are you most excited about in the future for the next PyCon? Seeing faces! Makes sense, checks out, I get it!”


  • [00:27:55] Justin’s spotlight is a Linkedin 2.0 site called Polywork.com. and if you use the VIP code: sustainopensource, so you can get in on it.
  • [00:28:31] Eric’s spotlight is an online game called Pardus.
  • [00:29:19] Richard’s spotlight is Bohemian Bakery in Montpelier, Vermont.
  • [00:30:09] Ewa’s spotlight is two software platforms, Registrasion and Symposion.
  • [00:31:47] Jackie’s spotlight is sustainability for everything that the PSF does and the ability to have this position.



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