I was sitting outside the main conference hall yesterday morning, waiting for the doors to open so I could get a good seat for the keynote speakers. I was watching a couple people speak casually but excitedly about using Python to solve some interesting problem. As I watched them I realized that one of them looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place the man’s face. Then another guy came up and stood near the first two, shifting a little bit from one foot to the other as he waited for a chance to speak. That made me realize the guy I sort of recognized was Guido van Rossum, so I watched the ensuing interaction with a little more curiosity. (It’s my first PyCon, I haven’t been around Guido before.)
At an appropriate break in the first conversation, Guido turned to the guy who was waiting. “I just wanted to say thank you,” I heard the guy say. He then said something about how much he enjoyed using Python. “Good,” Guido responded, with a warm and genuine smile. “I hope you enjoy the conference!”
I remember saying the same thing to Wendy Kopp at the 1994 Teach For America summer institute, when I became a corps member for TFA. I love that these conferences let us mingle with the heroes of our professions. It’s a little intimidating to stand near someone like Guido or Wendy, these people who have already accomplished great things. But it is very grounding to be reminded that people like Guido and Wendy are just doing what they love and what they believe is important, and nothing would make them happier than seeing us do the same thing. I look forward to hearing what he has to say tomorrow.
PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective
PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective, part 2
PyCon 2012: Side trip to the redwoods
PyCon 2012: Saying “Thank you” to Guido
PyCon 2012: An Educator’s Perspective, part 3