Amit Kumar : Life Is Learning!

PyCon Asia Pacific 2016 : Respect Diversity


“Respect Diversity” is what comes to my mind, when I recall the PyCon Asia Pacific 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. It was probably the best conference I have ever been to in the recent times. I made a lot of friends and meet some amazing people there. Thanks to the PyCon SG and PyCon APAC for helping me financially in attending the conference and giving me the opportunity to present there. Thanks to Korean Embassy that I fortunately recieved my visa, just 12 hrs before my flight.

I reached Seoul on 12th August after an extremely long journey due to 20 hour layover in Guanghzou, China. I stayed at place called Nonhyeon-dong in Gangnum-gu, (the place where Psy did that famous Gangnam Style. ;). It was a nice place, probably the best place I could stay in Seoul. Fortunately I managed to get a cheap airbnb near the conference venue.

Day 1

I reached the venue pretty early at around 8:30. I was amazed by the beauty of the venue, the Coex Mall, asia’s largest underground shopping mall.

The moment I went inside, I had the feeling that this is probably the best conference, venue I have ever seen. Kudos to the organizers for putting up all the hardwork to get such a venue. The Day 1 started with the Keynote by Wes McKinney, where he discussed various aspects of Open Source. He was an accidental Software Developer, who started writing python libraries to make his work better. He also talked about, how the Open Source can be made sustainable and also discussed a bit about pandas, of which he is the author.

The second keynote was by Jacob Kaplan-Moss who unfortunately couldn’t come to the conference, though he delivered Keynote through Google Hangouts, which was broadcasted live into the hall.

My talk was scheduled in the evening. Quite a good number of people showed up, although it was the last talk of the day.

I started my talk in Korean, which I learnt from from friend Hassan and Sujin. They got pretty excited by hearing Korean from an Indian. Here is the video of my talk.

In the evening, we went to a nearby temple which was pretty amazing. I also met Jason and Amanda, who became good friends.

Day 2

The Day 2 was more interesting than one, as it started with meeting Armin Ronacher, who is known for creation of Flask. It was an excellent talk, he talked about the various lessons he learned from working on various projects. His talk was followed by Maciej Fijałkowski, who is a core Developer of PyPy. He talked about various aspects of funding in Open Source, which is indeed a crucial component for the sustainance of Open Source projects. There were lots of interesting talk on Day 2. There was a high school guy, who gave a talk on Django vs Flask, but unfortunately it was in Korean. One of the talk was so well recieved that they had to repeat it twice! (Building AI Chat bot using Python 3 & TensorFlow)

The Day two ended with the lightning talks, where I gave a talk on Soldier, a module written by friend of mine on top of subprocess module to provide an nice user API to the user.

We were called for a nice Dinner at Viking’s Buffet after the conference, with all the speakers and volunteers. It was a great evening spent with all the geeks around.

Day 3

The Day 3 was at Akamai’s office, which was a small venue. That venue was made available for sprints. There were a few projects to sprint on. In the afternoon there was a Djano Girls Seoul workshop conducted by my friends Hassan and Sujin, which was nice introduction to getting started up with Django for a lot of people.

After spending some time there, I went to explore Seoul with Amanda. We went to various tourist places, throughout the Day. She took me to her friend Navid who is doing some research in Seoul, and he was a very nice guy and we had dinner together. Navid took to various places in Seoul after dinner and we left at around 3:00 AM (Yes, you read it, right!). It was an amazing experience, there were some malls and shop which were only open during night, so I got enough time to explore them.

I spent my Day 4 mainly for tourism and explored an lot of places alone and was joined by few of the others attendees in the afternoon. I also got the chance to see some Archery by some veterans, Hyeokwoo Alex Kwon took me there, who is a Korean by birth, and studying at University of Toronto, Canada.

I am thankful to a lot of people for making my stay and journey comfortable in Seoul, I would like to thank all of them specially Amanda, Jason, Hassan, Kookheon, Sujin lee, Younggun Kim, Liew Beng Keat, I don’t remember all the names, sorry, If I missed some of them! Thanks to whole team of PyCon APAC 2016 for putting up a wonderful show at Coex, PyCon SG for generously funding my travel and Kookheon for helping me with getting documents for making my travel possible. Kudos to the whole community! Looking forward to come back soon! ;)