PyCascades Welcome Wagon


We're your Welcome Wagon, and we're glad you're coming to the 2020 PyCascades conference, being held on February 8-10 2020 in Portland, Oregon, USA!

Feel free to tweet at us.

A great way to meet us and fellow attendees is on our Slack.

You can also email us at if we can help make your first time at the conference easier.

When you get to the conference, come say hello.

We've gathered important stuff here that will help you navigate the conference like a pro, make you feel more at home, and help you to manage the constant flow of information. Strategies and pro tips provide ways you can make the most of the conference. The FAQs strive to answer questions before you even have them.

Important Information

  • Restrooms: Located on each floor of the venue
  • Refreshments: Located downstairs in the Astoria room.
  • Quiet room: In the Sunset room on the first floor near the main auditorium.

Code of Conduct

We have a Code of Conduct. If you have any issues, please reach out:

Pro Tips

  • You don't need to go to every talk. Look through the schedule of events before you arrive or while you are eating or taking a break. Figure out which talks you want to see the most. Spread out your time between talks, networking, and breaks.
  • Speaking of breaks--conferences are exhilarating, but can also be exhausting. Give your brain a break! Grab a quiet spot in the quiet room or take a quick walk. Play a board game on your lunch break. Come back invigorated.
  • Eat! You can use the energy.
  • Are you looking for a job or is there an opening at your company? Check out the job board in ??.


How should I dress?

  • Portland is a casual-dress town and so is the PyCascades conference. You'll be meeting business colleagues at this conference, though, so neat and comfortable are good dress guidelines.
  • This time of year, the Pacific Northwest tends to be muddy or raining with occasional swaths of blue skies. Layering is usually the way to go.

What's the weather like?

The weather in February in Portland is usually cold, but normally above freezing. You should expect grey days with light rain. In February, the temperature in Portland typically ranges from 41°F to 50°F (5°C to 10°C) and is rarely below 32°F (0°C) or above 58°F (14°C).

The weather forecast for the weekend is a high of 42°F (6°C) with a 80% chance of rain.

What will I eat?

Many up and coming culinary professionals from all over the world are making Portland a destination for launching exciting, new careers. Also native Portlanders are returning to town after launching careers in the worlds' food capitals. Your options are vast, generally its hard to find a bad meal in Portland.

Where should I sit?

  • Some seats are reserved accessibility seating. These will be clearly marked. If you have accessibility requirements, feel free to take up one of these seats.
  • All other seats are unreserved; feel free to sit anywhere.
  • If you can, show up early to the conference each morning to grab a seat inside the theatre. Introducing yourself to your neighbors is one of the easiest way to meet people.

What should I do during the talks?

  • The time between talks is for meeting your colleagues or taking a break. During the talks, listen and take in as much as you can.
  • There is a lot of great information at this conference, but don't worry if you miss something! All talks are videotaped, so you can review them later.
  • If you have a question during a talk, make a note of it and use it as a conversation starter with the speaker.
  • After a talk, feel free to tweet about it with the hashtag #pycascades. Try not to "watch" the conference through Twitter and other social media, though. You are attending the conference, so live in it as much as you can!

What are lightning talks, and should I give one?

  • Lightning talks will take place on both main conference days, right after lunch.
  • All lightning talks will be recorded and live streamed.
  • A lightning talk is a five-minute talk where you quickly share a concept or bit of info you find interesting. Slides are not required.
  • Lightning talks are a great way to practice public speaking, get people excited about your personal projects, and test interest in a conference proposal idea.
  • Do you have an idea, want to talk about a new tool you are learning, or review a process? Then, yes! Sign up for a lightning talk. There will be a sign-up at registration.
  • PyCascades is aiming to have a a balanced mix of speakers therefore we’ll be using two buckets where folks can self-identify their speaking experience as ‘new’ or ‘experienced’ to submit. A thoughtful title, a sentence blurb, contact info to follow up, and notes on if you have slides or not should be included in your submission.
  • Lightning talks selection will happen in a relatively tight window during the conference. It is important to be responsive, ideally through the conference Slack #lightningtalks channel, to ensure if you are selected we get your materials and order for the speaking line up situated in a timely fashion.
  • If you are interested in giving a lightning talk, be prepared! There is a great guide here.

How do I make the most out of this conference?

Make connections with other first-time attendees and get advice from seasoned pros.

The most important part of this conference (and any conference) is the people you meet. Set a goal for yourself to meet a few, new people. Here are some tips:

  • Find out who is attending the conference before you get there. Join the Slack, follow PyCascades on Twitter, and review the list of talks.
  • Figure out which companies will be represented at the conference. If you see a job post you're interested in, you might want to ask them a few questions. This might be a great time to better understand what it's like to work at certain companies.
  • Make a list of a few people you would like to meet, and write down some questions for them. If you can find contact information, email them before the conference and let them know you are looking forward to chatting.
  • Most importantly, remember that you don't have to meet everyone. In fact, you shouldn't. You should plan to make a few, meaningful connections. That is what the PyCascades conference is about, so go for it! Introduce yourself.

Sample strategy for my first PyCascades conference

  • Join the Slack to start making conference connections.
  • Make a list of two people who are attending with some notes about them and questions for them. Either reach out by email before the conference to set up a meeting onsite or find them at the conference.
  • Attend the sprint and volunteer to help on one of the projects being worked on.
  • Check out the talk schedule in advance and make note of the talks you don't want to miss.
  • Check out the lightning talks, and get excited about presenting one at next year's conference.

Sample strategy for a second or higher conference

  • Reach out to some first-time attendees and tell them about your first conference.
  • Attend the sprint with your own project. Ask for help!
  • Check out the talk schedule in advance and make note of the talks you don't want to miss.
  • Sign up for a lightning talk.


This document was inspired by other conferences doing great work in this area. In particular, these three documents were heavily used as a reference: