Normally I'm a Hallway Track kind of guy but there are some talks from friends I kinda want to see as it happens as an event: Larry Hastings, Doug Hellman, Jeff Rush, Benjamin Peterson (is he old enough to drink yet?), David Mertz, Moshe Zadka (long time/first time?), Ned Batchelder, Alex Martelli, Barry Warsaw, Dino Viehland, Maciej/Gaynor/Rigo (pypy), Armin Ronacher, Glyph (I'll tell you his real name in trade for a beer), Raymond Hettinger, Gary Bernhardt, and Jim Baker.
And that's just the list of speakers I know will be good, there are many more that look good on paper that I want to see.
You'd better nail it kid
There are some perennial talk topics because it is always nice to have a fresh take on important things. That said, being the second (or third, or fourth) person to retread the same ground is difficult.
Larry Hastings is treading old ground with Stepping through CPython, a tour of what really happens when your python code runs. I did it in 2006 as "Writing your own python types in C" and Ned Batchelder did it much better in 2009 as "A Whirlwind Excursion Through Python in C". I'm looking forward to Larry's take.
Getting the most out of Python imports by Eric Snow. Note that he speaking about imports and his name isn't Brett Cannon.
The Magic of Metaprogramming by Jeff Rush and Metaclasses by Luke Sneeringer. Not just well tread ground, but ground always loaded with fresh landmines.
Decorators and Context Managers by Dave Brondsema. I'm very much looking forward to this one, as those things have been my topics in the last few years. I haven't met Dave but I imagine he has giant brass balls.
And the other thing
Raymond Hettinger will be presenting The Art of Subclassing and I will be presenting Stop Writing Classes. Raymond and I have agreed on pretty much everything in the decade I've been involved with python (he was already a commiter when I showed up*). I doubt we are in disagreement about classes or subclassing, rather we are giving talks about two different topics. His is "here is how you do hard things well" and mine is "don't do hard things, they are hard and you'll probably fuck it up". Two weeks ago I wrote a caching class that used __new__ and this past week I refactored it to not do that; the code was half the length and achieved the same result. My only question to the team was "why did no one yell at me two weeks ago?"
* My favorite PyCon story is my first one: 2003 in DC and I got to meet everyone that was previously just names on a mailing list. Hettinger was working the registration desk and I was like "thats neat" and when I stepped out into the smoker's lounge I introduced myself to the three hangers about. "Hi, I'm Jack Diederich" was followed by "Hi, I'm (Alex Martelli|Tim Peters|Christian Tismer)". That was awesome.