Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend DjangoCon Europe, in Budapest. I never actually had contact with Python or Django, however, I was invited to be one of the keynote speakers this year.
First of all, I have to say that I'm immensely grateful for this invitation. This was my first keynote ever and I actually never expected it to happen outside the circuit of PHP conferences, since it's where people know me more. Big thank you to the organizers for being open to bring people from other communities to present at DjangoCon.
This was definitely a conference unlike any other I have been to. The organizers put a great deal of effort in order to make this conference inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds. Beyond having a code of conduct that was enforced during all times at the conference, they provided free child care for attendees, live captioning of all talks, quiet rooms and excellent food options for people with dietary restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
The fact that it's a single-track conference also makes quite a difference in terms of how people connect with each other. You really feel part of a community, even as an outsider, as I was. Everybody was super welcoming and helpful, and they had a great mix of talks for people from different levels.
One thing that impressed me a lot was the attention to detail. Really cool swag, the whole thematic thing… just completely different from what you find with conventional conferences. Well, it's hard to explain for those who weren't there; but you can have a taste of the experience by having a look at what people said about DjangoCon in this page. You can also watch all the talk videos in this page.
They did all this and still managed to keep tickets at an affordable price, and they were sold out quite fast! I think we (and, in special, the PHP community) have a lot to learn from conferences like this. We can do better, and the Django community is proving that diversity and inclusion are the foundation necessary to grow healthy and strong communities.