If I'd had $1 million of startup funding to hire a staff to work on sqlpython, I couldn't have gotten a team that large or that talented. I figure that gives me better than a 1000-to-1 return on my PyCon investment. :)It's also been extremely gratifying to discover that the dip in numbers (initial assessment says we were maybe 10% down on 2009) represents an amazing result. Apparently many conferences have seen attendance at 50% of last year's numbers, and some have simply canceled because the cancellation fees were a smaller that their expected loss.
This really vindicates the low-cost community-based approach that PyCon has always used. Several people told me that they booked to attend the conference without knowing whether they could get company approval, because they knew the conference was great value and they could afford to attend on their own dime. PyCon is a very special conference indeed, and the Python community makes remarkable things happen there every year.