Every once in a while, I make a big change in how I plan and manage my speaking engagements. Early in the last decade, I decided to speak only at conferences I would happily pay to attend, and that improved my life dramatically. Instead of trying to justify a week away from home and the office in which I would try to keep up on emails from a hotel room or a hallway couch, while surrounded by people who didn't care about the stuff I cared about, I started looking forward to a week of learning and growing, of coming home knowing more than when I left, and of meeting my heroes and getting to see my friends.
While this was an important change, it was only a change in my decision criteria, and not in my overall process of deciding where to speak. I would get an email, or see a tweet, or otherwise become aware that a conference was going to happen, and then I would decide, on a case-by-case basis, if I wanted to submit to that conference. Sometimes I would have to decline because I had already submitted to another one at roughly the same time, without realizing the overlap. In mid 2019, I changed that. I listed out all the C++ conferences I knew of, and roughly when they happened. Then my partner and I went through the list, noting when various family events are happening, when we want to go on vacation, and other "big rocks" that conferences have to fit around. We talked about how many conferences I wanted to speak at, and whittled down the list to that many.
Now, as each conference opens a Call for Papers, if it's on my list, I submit, and if it's not, I don't. Of course, my talks aren't always accepted. I set myself a goal to speak at two non-C++ conferences in 2020. I was invited to one, but after I agreed they changed their dates and that conflicted with something else I had accepted. I submitted to another and they declined my talk. But one has accepted, and I have accepted another invitation, so I will be speaking at two non-C++ conferences for sure.
Expect to see me at:
- January, Montreal: CUSEC 2020 (Canadian University Software Engineering Conference) - keynote (and a Meetup while I'm in town, come ask about technical speaking)
- March, Bristol, UK: ACCU - Naming Is Hard, Let's Do Better
- May, London, UK: SDD - Naming and Emotional Code
I have submitted to some for June and onwards, but
haven't heard, so I'm not mentioning them, nor the ones I've decided not to submit to. That's not
fair to anyone. I might do as many as 7 conferences by the time the year is over, and that's a lot. Plus user group talks whenever I can.
So is there any point inviting me to speak at your conference? Well, sure. It might match up with something else (at least one conference I added to my list because I could combine it with another trip that was already planned) or be so compelling that I will find a way to fit it in. Or it might end up on my list for next year -- I like this advance planning so I'm going to keep doing it. As always, remember that I do have requirements
for any speaking engagement, so if you invite me, please let me know you've read that and meet them.
If you're at any conference I am speaking at, please do find me and say hi! It's one of the most important parts of any conference for me.