Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PyCon Organizers: Doug loves numbers and numbers love Doug

The PyCon organizers struggle to make each conference better than the last. As I mentioned in another post they did a bang up job on logistics this year. One metric they track is speaker popularity. It is a bit fuzzy because hot topics vary and individual speakers can do well on one topic while sucking at another. But the organizers do try to sift out the best.

Speaker Data

This year generated a bonanza of speaker data. The online talk schedule was all interact-y and allowed attendees to plan and print their preferred talks ahead of time. During the conference itself the back of every room had a pile of poker chips and three buckets: Green, Yellow, and Red. The idea being that everyone drops a chip in the Good/Neutral/Bad bucket as they walk out at the end of each talk [hopefully they leave at the end].

Doug Knowns Data

If you were thinking the stats are weak and there are many ways to game the numbers you are very right and very wrong. Doug Napoleone loves data even more than I do so he's doing regressions like nobodies business. Doug has a post up explaining the raw data and the problems associated with turning the raw stuff into usable numbers. He does speech recognition software as his day job so he knowns statistics backwards and forwards.

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