DeconstructSeattle, WA - Mon & Tue, May 21-22 2018
Speak at deconstruct

This is a CFP (Call For talk Proposals) for Deconstruct 2018, 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, etc. are all OK, but if you've given a 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 in underrepresented groups. This doesn't mean that we'll ignore submissions from white men, but we'll 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 small 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. We don't anticipate problems getting you into the US, but paying you is a different issue. Travel expenses are covered regardless, and we'll absorb any legal fees incurred while we work through the payment issues, but there's a chance that we won't be able to pay the speaker fee to non-US citizens. This is our first year with an open call for speakers, so it's all new to us, but we'll do our best.

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. Ten times, once per day over two work weeks, is a good baseline and is minimally intrusive to your schedule. 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, finding local meetups for practice runs, etc. We'll talk about this 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 the beginning of your talk in a realistic but safe situation. The beginning 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 1-2 minute videos (not more than two minutes). 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 won't make the videos public, so no need to worry about random Internet people seeing them. 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; 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 place where no one can hear you, and pace while you describe your talk idea. 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