Talk submissions

Posted on Tue 23 April 2019 in blog • 3 min read

I have spoken at tech conferences for the better part of a decade, and up to this point I have only ever published my talks after I’ve actually presented them. I’ll change that from here on out, and I’ll instead record any talk that I submit to a conference instead, regardless of whether it ultimately gets accepted or not. I do this for several reasons.

  1. I’d like to have a record of my talk submissions for my own reference purposes.

    It’s rather remarkable how many conference talk submission systems exist that make it rather difficult to retrieve your submitted abstract a few months or years after the conference. Some event websites exist specifically for one instance of a particular conference, so they might be taken down a few months after, and unaccepted abstracts are usually not accessible publicly — so even getting them via the Internet Archive is not an option. Others record talk submissions via Google Forms, into a private Google Sheet, and don’t send an autoreply containing the full submission.

    So, I use this site for having my own record of talks I submit.

  2. I don’t want to reinforce the illusion that just because I’m an experienced speaker, all talks I submit anywhere get accepted.

    I get talks rejected all the time, particularly from conferences I’d really enjoy speaking at. This is normal, and if any of you reading this are less experienced and find rejections discouraging, I want you to know that they happen to all of us.

  3. I am curious about other people’s thoughts.

    As a speaker, it is pretty hard to get good feedback on a talk submission. Very few conferences send you detailed feedback on rejected talks. And none at all, to the best of my knowledge, send you qualitative feedback on accepted ones (other than “congrats, you’re in!”).

    So I figure that if I publish my submissions here, perhaps a few people might take a look and chip in some valuable thoughts. And even though this site doesn’t do comments, I am counting on Twitter and other social networks to spark some.

  4. If you run a small conference or meetup that I don’t know about, I want to give you the opportunity to reach out to me if there’s a topic you’d like to hear me talk about.

    There’s generally far more topics that I’d like to do talks on — and feel reasonably qualified to — than what I often get selected to speak about. In addition, there are just so many conferences and meetups out there that it’s impossible to keep track of all of them.

    So, if you find a topic here that you’d really like at your event that I absolutely don’t have on my radar, do drop me a line.

  5. If you find any of my talk ideas useful, go ahead and submit your own talk like it.

    Like almost all content on this site, the talk submissions I record here are CC-BY-SA licensed, so as long as you include an acknowledgment, and reciprocate by sharing your own talk, please do consider yourself encouraged to build your own talk ideas from mine.

I’ll make one exception from this rule: some conferences use an anonymized talk selection process, where submissions must be devoid of any information that might be remotely likely to identify the speaker. If I submit a talk to such a conference, I’ll only put the abstract up here when the selection process is over, the schedule stands, and I have received a definitive acceptance or rejection notice. However, in case I am re-submitting a talk previously given at (or previously submitted to) a different conference, I won’t be removing that article.

You can find my (continuously updated) list of talk submissions here, and there’s also an Atom feed, here.