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When I went to PyCon this year, I didn't even think about the sponsors. However, I saw their names on everything and it still didn't bother me until the first day of the conference itself. While I think the MC, Mr. Goodger, is a great guy, I thought the sponsorship announcements were sometimes misplaced. When Guido got up to do his talk, he had to wait until Goodger ran to the back of the room and search for some paper. Everyone was kind of going "What the!?" When Goodger got back to read "Guido's talk is sponsored by...", I was kind of shocked. I mean, what is this?
I'd never heard of the "Lightning Talks" either. In fact, when I DID hear about them, I thought they sounded like a lame idea. So I skipped it on the first day. The second day I decided to check it out because I was bored. Of the four that I saw, 2 were sponsored talks and one was just some guy ranting about why he thinks Python sucks. All of those seemed kind of out of place.
There's a lot more to be heard on c.l.py:
I agree that sponsors help lower the cost for the conference and I'm all for that and for the free swag as well as the opportunity to network with them. But they can be overdone in some cases and if you read the thread above, you'll notice that the Lightning Talks were the ones that were damaged the most. I hope to attend next year and I expect the organizers will have learned how to handle this better in the future.
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