GopherCon 2015 - Speakers Round 3




We’ve just published our third and final set of speakers for GopherCon 2015. These final five speakers mark the completion of the speaking programme for 2015.

You can read more about our speakers and their talks on the GopherCon website.


With the call for papers closed and the speakers chosen, I want to take the opportunity to give thanks and reflect on the process of choosing the speakers for GopherCon 2015.

Thanks

This year I approached eight reviewers (not including Brian, Erik, and myself) chosen from a variety of fields intersecting the Go community to assist the organisers in selecting an engaging programme of talks. Reviewing is an extremely time consuming effort, especially considering the huge number of applications we received. Please join with me in thanking our reviewers for their hard work and dedication.

In the end we had a total of 164 proposals, far more than anyone imagined, and far more than any Go conference to date. Thank you to everyone who took the time to propose a talk for GopherCon.

The process

This year GopherCon retained its single track format. Given the other changes we are making to the event; the larger venue, double the ticket sales, multiple hotel reservations, some things had to remain unchanged, and one of those was the single track format. This meant we would be fielding roughly the same number of talks as last year. From the feedback we received last year, it was clear that with the larger audience we would need to allocate significantly more time for breaks, and so ended up offering the same number of speaking slots as last year; 22.

After subtracting the slots allocated to keynote and invited speakers, we were left with 18 thirty minute speaking slots for which we received 164 proposals. Proposals were reviewed anonymously without revealing the author of the proposal and given a numeric score between 1 and 5. Each proposal received between 9 and 11 votes. After all the reviews were completed, roughly the top third of the proposals were short listed, de-anonymised, and considered for the programme by Erik, Brian and myself.

When choosing papers from the shortlist, the reviewer’s score, as well as their comments were given strong weighting, but other factors such the topic of the talk and how it would interact with other shortlisted proposals were considered.

With an over subscription of 9:1, not only did we choose the very best proposals, but amongst those we considered to be the best, we had to turn down many that were excellent. Please, if your talk was not accepted for GopherCon this year, do not take this to heart, and I strongly recommend that you consider submitting a proposal for one of the many other conferences on this year’s calendar.

Diversity

I asked to take charge of organising the speaking program because I want GopherCon to be the best conference possible. The bar was set pretty high last year from the quality of the presentations, the organisation, and the atmosphere of the conference overall. It is very important for the organisers, and the audience, that this year continues our track record of success.

More importantly to me is the knowledge that every speaker on the programme will have the opportunity to speak in front of the largest group of Go developers in the world. It is crucial to me that every speaker give a presentation that they are proud of so that they will continue to speak at future events.

To help speakers prepare for their presentations we will be offering the skills of experienced speakers who can assist in talk planning, feedback, and coaching.

GopherCon does not have a quota for minority speakers. Each speaker chosen for this year’s programme was done so on the merit of his or her proposal. But to be clear, when considering proposals of equal merit it was my policy that women, people of colour, and other underrepresented minorities, were given priority over white men.

Additionally the conference has created a Diversity Scholarship Support Fund, managed by a group chosen from the Go community. Monies collected by this fund will be available for scholarships to attend the conference. For further details on how to apply for a scholarship, please write to diversity@gopheracademy.com.

If you would like to contribute to this fund, you can do so by donating via this link.

What we will be improving next year

Based on the process this year, for next year we plan to improve the following areas:

  • This year the 90 day CFP window meant speakers who were chosen will have barely 90 days to prepare their talks. In the future, a month to six weeks will be adequate for the CFP window.
  • It is very likely that GopherCon next year will be a multiple track conference catering to several streams of talks concurrently.
  • We will be clearer in our policy about permitting multiple speakers per talk.
  • We will give clearer guidelines to potential speakers about the level of detail we expect from proposals, including suggested minimum and maximum word counts for each of the sections.
  • We will better communicate the review process and its timeline, following the excellent example of GolangUK.

If you haven’t purchased a ticket we’re already well past the half way mark for ticket sales and hotel discounts, so don’t miss out!


See you in July

Dave Cheney

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