All Posts Tagged With: "speaking"

Zend/PHP Conference

In the conclusion to my month-long series of local conferences and speaking engagements, today’s the first day of the Zend/PHP Conference.

I’ll be heading down in the afternoon for a little while, and then coming back again from 6-8 for the opening night reception. I’ll also be there parts of Thursday — I can’t miss Empowering eBay Research with PHP & Web Services — and I’ll try to sneak by on Friday morning.

If you want to hook up, let me know. I will try and be at the eBay booth when the exhibit hall is open, but we’re running a staff rotation system, so it’s best to schedule something.

How to get your conference proposal accepted

There’s been a little discussion lately on how to get more female speakers at technical conferences. This post is more aimed at new speakers in general than female speakers in particular, but I think it applies pretty well to both topics.

First of all, my tech conference experience is pretty complete: I attend shows as a participant, I speak at shows, I select sessions for shows, I exhibit at shows, and I run a show. Sometimes I will do multiple parts, such as speak and exhibit, but not the others. I’ve even selected sessions for a show that I never attended.

I actually speak at a lot of shows because it’s my job. In the past two weeks, I spoke at CTIA and Web 2.0. In the next two weeks, I will speak at the SD Forum Etech SIG, 4D Summit, and Zend/PHP Conference. Later this year, I’ll be speaking at ApacheCon, and a few more places that I still need to line up.

I also chaired the PHP track at OSCON and was on the planning committee for the Zend/PHP conference. On top of that, I run the evangelism team for the eBay Developers Program, and we put on a three day conference every June, with 4 tracks running in parallel. Our eBay Developers Conference gets bigger every year.

Okay, enough of all that shit. Let’s just say I think I have a pretty good perspective from all sides on this issue, and I agree with Kathy 100%.

When I’m putting together a schedule, I want a wide range of people and topics. Sure, I need some A-list celebs, but I also want some new blood. I’m going to do my best to be proactive and reach out to the people I want to talk, but that’s only because I want a great show. If you can help me make that happen, then I want you to participate.

I do my best to make people feel comfortable and even go so far as to tell them the decision criteria and what I am and am not looking for. I’m not sure if people listen, but I can’t help that.

I strongly encourage people new to speaking circuit to submit multiple proposals because sometimes I don’t select a talk because of anything bad with the speaker or the proposal, but because I have a much better speaker for that position. If you want to talk about, for example, “What’s new in PHP,” but I can get Rasmus to give that talk, then I’m going to pick Rasmus 100% of the time. You might know everything there is about what’s new in PHP, but that’s not the point.

However, if you also submit “PHP and Web Services,” then there’s still a chance you can get selected for that slot. Unless, of course, I get a proposal from someone who wrote the SOAP extension.

Therefore, the more quality topics you offer up, the better chance you have.

I had never heard of Neil Green before he submitted talks to the Zend Conference, yet he ended up getting a slot on “Elements of an Enterprise PHP Framework.” Neil submitted at least three different proposals, and also indicated that he was open to similar topics, if they turned out to be a better fit. Well, we decided we really wanted a MVC-style talk, and his proposals looked the best, so we reached out and came up with a topic that worked for everybody.

One common problem is that people often submit really specific talks about topics nobody cares about. For example, there are too many database abstraction layers already for PHP. Yours may be better, but if you don’t have a community of people using it to prove that to me, I’m never going to select it over a talk on PDO, PEAR::DB, ADODB, or even MDB. You need to give me a topic that when other people read about it in the program, they say one of a few things:

  1. That’s interesting, and I want to learn more about that for personal enrichment. (For me at OSCON, this was Brian Aker’s talk on the open source PBX, Asterisk.)
  2. That’s interesting, and I want to learn more to share with others or for work. (For me at OSCON, this was Jason Hunter’s talk on XQuery.)
  3. That’s interesting, and I want to learn more to tell my boss I learned more, so he’ll let me come back to another conference. (For me at OSCON, this was a number of talks on Firefox extensions, including XUL and Greasemonkey.)

That’s why I always try and schedule talks on security and scalability. They’ll great for selling tickets and justifying the trip back home. (Oddly enough, none of these talks was on PHP.)

Another word of advice. I know you get more money when you give a tutorial, but don’t waste your time submitting them unless you’re sure somebody on the conference committee knows who you are and will agree that you’re either the expert on the topic, or a good speaker who will give a strong three hour talk.

I have very few tutorial slots. People pay lots of money to attend those sessions. It’s really hard to put together three hours worth of material, and it’s even harder to deliver it well. I can’t afford to waste a spot with a bozo.

Now, you might be great, but if I don’t know for certain, I’m far more risk adverse when it comes to selecting tutorials. Also, since tutorials do cost more, I like to schedule more celebrity-style speakers in those slots, since it helps with the marketing. (They have to be good speakers, of course. There’s nothing lower than sitting through three hours of your idol giving the world’s worst talk.)

I don’t know if this will end up getting more women to speak at shows, but I hope it at least stimulates someone beyond the usual suspects to submit proposals the next time their favorite show comes around.

The business case for mashups

I’m speaking at Web 2.0 today on Mash-ups 2.0: Where’s the Business Model?. It should be fun.

BTW, Web 2.0 is jam packed with people. Sessions are SRO. This is the second conference I went to in the past month (Microsoft PDC being the other) that sold out. I’m hoping this is a sign that the tech industry is on an upswing.

PS: I promise I will blog about something other than when I’m speaking real soon. I have some thoughts surrounding Web services and mashups that I’m going to try out in the panel. Nothing brilliant, but some thoughts I had from working on a little application. If I don’t get shouted down, I’m going to put them out there.

Mobile Software Value Chain

I almost forgot to mention that I’m speaking at 4 pm on Monday on "M-Commerce Trends and Challenges" at CTIA.

Zend/PHP Conference Coming Soon!

I just checked my calendar and was shocked to discover the Zend/PHP Conference is just around the corner — October 18-21.

I’ve been part of a team of people from the PHP community working for months with Zend (including Zeev and Andi) to help put together a great business-focused PHP conference. I’m really excited for this show.

There are lots of great PHP conferences, but this is the only one emphasizing PHP inside large and medium sized business. There’s still great technical content (Wez on PDO, Chris Shiflett on Security, Andrei and Andi on Unicode, George on Building Scalable PHP Applications). However, I’ve already heard those talks before. :)

What I’m going to attend are all the new talks. Such as, John Allspaw from Yahoo! on their LAMP hardware layout, John Roberts from SugarCRM on building a commercial business on top of an open source application, and Jeff Winner from Propel on Managing Development and Operations Together.

Of course, I’m also going to the Empowering eBay Research with PHP and Web Services session. I’m doing the intro, and then quickly getting out of the way for Andrew. He founded Terapeak. Terapeak is providing some amazing data analysis tools that crunch the gadzillion mega-bytes of active and closed listing data to help eBay sellers (among others) determine the state of eBay and the economy. There’s no better way to see buying and selling trends that to look at our data, and Terapeak is all based on PHP.

Come to the show. When I’m not in a session, I’ll be at the eBay/PayPal booth in the exhibit hall, and I’d love to chat.

Adam’s Fall Conference Schedule

Now that’s I’m back from FOO Camp, I’m checking my calendar to see what conference events I have coming up. For those of you keeping track (hi mom!), here they are:

  • Microsoft PDC: September 13-16 in LA. I haven’t managed to wrangle a chance to speak yet. :)
  • Zend/PHP Conference: October 18-21 in Silicon Valley. Speaking about eBay Web services. Final talk TBD.
  • ApacheCon US 2005: December 10-14 in San Diego. Speaking on “Consuming Web Services Using PHP 5”.

I may also go to Web 2.0 and the 4D Summit, but I have yet to finalize those events.

The ApacheCon talk should be quite cool, as I will be showing off nifty real-world web services examples. For example, sucking RSS bookmarks into a WordPress blog, or mashing up eBay Web services search results with the Google mapping API. Here’s the full abstract:

As we move into the world of Web 2.0, PHP developers must increasing include Web services in their toolkit of skills. This session covers how to implement REST and SOAP clients using the latest PHP 5 extensions, such as ext/soap, SimpleXML, and xsl.

This is not an academic talk discussing theory and specifications. Examples show applications of popular Web services, including, eBay, and Google Maps.

Don’t be left behind. Come to this session and learn how to integrate Web services into your code.

I have most of the code already written in various places, so there’s only the problem of creating the slides. Once I know more about my other talks, I will pimp them here, so stay tuned for all the details.

Back from LinuxWorld

I’m back from LinuxWorld. Slides from my talk (well, similar slides, I modified them slightly) are available.

I have to say, I haven’t loved going to LinuxWorld for the past 2 or 3 times, but today was the first time I was able to tell why. At first, I thought it was the presence of all the large vendors (IBM, Novell, CA, Intel). Actually, those booths are more funny than annoying. (See the CA dancing penguin from January, 2004.)

It’s actually the hardware/IT nature of the show. I’m a software guy. I’m not interested in your network monitoring applications or your license deployment systems. I guess they’re necessary in large IT setups, but I don’t want to hear people screaming at me about them over their loudspeakers.

Still, it’s good to see my friends working the show. Even unexpectedly ran into Rick from Zend hanging out at the Intel booth. Talked to a couple people at the MySQL showcase, including the SugarCRM folks.

Did a little bit of eBay evangelism with the Zimbra folks. They make an Exchange server replacement, but they also have an AJAX mail client interface that will scan messages and hyperlink phrases (similar to the Google Toolbar). Seems only natural that they’d link to eBay items, don’t you think?

In the end, I ditched the O’Reilly and MySQL parties., as I couldn’t bare to stay at LinuxWorld until 7 pm. Too much work and chaos.

LinuxWorld SF 2005

Fresh off my trip to Portland for OSCON, I will be hitting the Moscone Center on Tuesday for LinuxWorld. I’ll be speaking on the eBay Community Codebase at the O’Reilly booth at 1:30. Come on by and say hello.