- Make it foremost in your mind that the wonderful thing about the PyCon sprints is that the odds are that anyone who knows anything about whatever you are doing in Python will be there.
- Write up a list of the things that you are finding challenging, hard, or impossible to do with Python.
- Now go to the boss and say something like:
"Because the experts and leaders of the open source tools we are using are going to be there, I want to attend PyCon sprints. All my time at the sprints will be focused on sitting around them and working on our tools. I'll focus on things that directly impact our agency / company / organization, specifically things I wrote down on this list."
- If the boss says,
"Why not just use IRC or email?"Then you say something like,
"Well, IRC/email is not the same as sitting next to these people. I'll be so much more productive there!"
Rinse and repeat.
Then, when you attend the PyCon sprints, follow through on what you said you were going to do. Sure, it might be more fun to work on project 'spam' even though your company uses project 'lumberjack', but if you prove how much you got done during the sprints, next year the boss will be much more encouraging. Even if a good boss says to go do what you want, at least spend some time sprinting on work related technology.
Also, once you get approval to go, consider sending your boss to this old rant of mine.
Don't forget to register for PyCon! Early bird rates end today (January 25th, 2012) which means today is the last day to get involved in the extremely unofficial PyCon Early Birds program!