How Talks are Chosen

In the interest of transparency, we would like to share how we go about setting up the schedule and tracks for the annual conference.

Every year we receive a varied set of potential talks from some incredibly talented and knowledgeable people. We are grateful to every single speaker that offers to share their time and expertise with us and the Open Source community.

Two things to note:

  1. In the several years the current CPOSC team has been reviewing talks, we’ve never once received a bad speaker submission.
  2. If we could be greedy and figure out how to cram all the potential talks into a one-day schedule, we would.

 

So how do we narrow down the list?

After the Speaker Submission window has closed, talks are placed into a shared spreadsheet, and each member of the Speaker team within the CPOSC staff will get a tab to score each talk. We judge on a rubric that measures talk content, speaker preparedness (e.g. a fully outlined summary scores higher than a rough idea), and speaker background and experience. The highest average scored talks get sorted into a rough schedule, while we also look to group similar concepts together into tracks and check for any overlap in talk topics to make sure we have a good variety. We tend to not accept talks that might be interpreted as a “sales pitch”, but welcome speakers to focus on the technical background or Open Source community impact of a project or company in which they are an interested party.

After we’ve got our set of contenders, acceptance emails go out to the chosen speakers to confirm that they are available and willing to present. If for any reason they need to bow out (it’s uncommon, but no worries, it happens!) we take the next-highest talks in the list and pop them in the open slots. Once we have our schedule filled up and confirmed, we have the unfortunate task of sending rejection emails to the speakers that were not chosen. Then we collect our speaker bios and talk descriptions and update the site and conference materials.