PyCon Colombia 2024 🇨🇴

Highlights from presenting at this year's event in Medellín.

3 min read

speaker card for my talk at PyCon Colombia

Source: PyCon Colombia

Greetings from the friendly skies! I'm writing this from the plane on my way back from PyCon Colombia (my first conference in South America 😀), which was held in Medellín this year. Getting there required a stop in Panama, but thankfully my travel was largely uneventful. I made it to my hotel around midnight and went right to sleep because I was presenting the next day.

I needed to work through the flow of my talk, Data Morph: A Cautionary Tale of Summary Statistics, after adding some new slides in the middle (special thanks to a conference friend for sharing some relevant research!). Somehow I had forgotten (read: procrastinated 🙃) about doing this until the last possible moment, which was during the talk right before mine (and before lunch).

I decided to review my slides in the room so I could also get a feel for the stage before going on. Little did I know, someone planning to attend my talk was getting a peek at my slides over my shoulder. It turned out she was speaking right after me and came for the day from Bogotá. We made fast friends and took pictures of each other presenting.

The "room" was actually an auditorium, which looked like it was ready for a TED talk. It was by far the largest audience I've addressed and the first time I've presented on the same stage as the keynotes.1 I had a fantastic experience with an engaged crowd. Pictures (really good ones too!) of me presenting made it to the official PyCon Colombia social posts for that afternoon 😍, and one attendee listed my talk as one of the top talks of the conference.

presenting on the big stage

Source: PyCon Colombia

After this talk, I wasn't done with my speaker duties. I was also running my Beyond the Basics: Data Visualization in Python workshop on the third day of the conference in the 8:00 am slot 🙈. In four years of presenting at conferences, this was the second time I was presenting multiple topics at a single event (PyCon MEA 2023 in Dubai was the first time I did this).

speaker card for my workshop

Source: PyCon Colombia

Short on sleep the morning of my workshop (due to the speaker's dinner the night before), I began to question why I was doing both presentations, but two hours later, with a classroom full of people that enjoyed the learning experience, I knew it was worth it. Some of the workshop attendees also mentioned being in my talk, and others inquired if I had written a book on data visualization (in addition to the one on pandas). Maybe one day, but I told them that I'm currently working on something else.

The rest of the day was a bit of a sleep-deprived blur, but I do remember Lorena Barba's keynote in which she shared how she used Jupyter AI to create lesson plans for university courses; a giant cake (with dulce de leche between layers 😋) called the PyCake, which went very well with the Colombian coffee2 that was always available; and Sebastián Ramírez's3 inspiring keynote,4 which he delivered in Spanish (at top speed until someone asked him to slow down 😂) despite the others being in English.5

the PyCake

Source: PyCon Colombia

Overall, this was an incredibly well-organized event. All of the organizers and volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful. Bottled water was ready with each change of speaker. The venue, EAFIT, was a beautiful campus filled with exotic greenery that made you forget you were in a city. The lunches gave me a taste of some local foods I didn't try on my previous trips to Colombia. Kudos to all involved!

  1. If you had put me on that stage a few years ago, I probably would have fainted from the terror.
  2. It wasn't espresso, but even drip coffee can be good if it is Colombian 😊.
  3. Creator of FastAPI (and other tools) from Medellín.
  4. Probably the best keynote I've ever been to and a fantastic way to end a conference.
  5. On multiple occasions, when people who attended my presentations found out I spoke Spanish, they asked why I didn't present in Spanish. Maybe one day.

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