Deconstruct - Seattle, WA - Thu & Fri, July 11-12 2019
Speak at Deconstruct

This is a CFP (Call For talk Proposals) for Deconstruct 2019, a language-agnostic software development conference. Most Deconstruct speakers are invited, but we've set some slots aside for proposed talks. The highlights are:

Who can apply

Anyone who hasn't given a conference talk is eligible. Meetup talks, work talks, school talks, and lightning talks at conferences are all OK. But if you've given a full-length conference talk then this isn't for you!

Our industry's work on diversity is still just beginning, and we want to do our part to help. We especially encourage submissions from people from underrepresented groups. This doesn't mean that we ignore submissions from majority groups. Instead, it means that we err on the side of diversity when it's a close call. Combined with a policy of only accepting new speakers, and providing whatever mentorship they need, we hope to do our part to increase the diversity of speakers industry-wide, not just at Deconstruct.

Everyone is welcome to submit a talk, regardless of their passport or where they live. However, anyone without US citizenship should be aware that our ability to pay them is subject to the US government allowing it. Currently, we don't anticipate any problems. However, it's a risk to keep in mind if international relations shift.

Speaker commitments and mentoring

There are two big challenges here: you probably haven't prepared a big talk, and you definitely haven't performed a big talk.

On the preparation front, we ask two things. First, practice your talk several times, end-to-end, as if it were real. A good baseline is ten practice runs, once per day over two work weeks. Second, let us help you in whatever way we can: feedback on talk structure, on fitting the talk to the audience, on performing the talk itself, etc. We'll talk about this in detail once you're accepted!

On the performance front: we'll get you on stage before your talk, in as realistic a situation as we can manage (minus the audience). This lets you do a few minutes of your talk in a realistic but safe situation. The beginning of a talk is the hardest part, and this gets it out of the way before the real talk begins. (This is optional; again, we can talk about it once you're accepted!)

Speaking at a conference is difficult and intense and we won't pretend otherwise. But we'll help you in whatever way we can. Both the organizers and the attendees want you to succeed!

Miscellaneous details

Submission format

Deconstruct is language- and platform- agnostic, so you can talk about almost any technology. We do ask that talks be about programming. A talk about management, for example, would be out of place. But a talk about how certain management patterns led to certain bugs, including a technical analysis of the bugs showing how they arose, would be perfect!

Talk submissions are done as two-minute videos. It's OK if yours is shorter than two minutes, but it may not be longer. Your goal here isn't to produce a perfectly executed mini-talk; it's simply to describe your talk idea informally. What's the topic? How do you want to approach it? Why is it interesting?

We only use these videos internally for speaker selection, so they won't be published publicly (although you're free to publish yours if you want to). We also have a loose definition of "video". You can point a camera at yourself; you can record a screencast; you can make some slides and record them; or you can put your phone face-down on the table and let the video be a black screen. It's up to you, as long as there's a verbal description of your talk idea. Our one technical request is that you don't edit the audio or video; it should be a single nonstop recording. This is for fairness: audio/video editing is a different skill set with no impact on a live talk.

If you're hesitant about the video, here's a suggestion. Forget recording for now. Stand up in a room where no one can hear you. Describe your talk idea as you pace around the room. When you're done, start over and do it again, ten times in a row. With a two-minute limit, ten tries only take about 20 minutes. After your tenth try, you may feel much more confident. (This also works for entire talks, by the way, but we'll get to that after you're accepted!)

The format is intentionally open-ended because we want a wide variety of responses. Don't worry about whether you're "doing it right"; there is no "right"!

The binding stuff