Earlier this year, I decided to become more involved in speaking at local meetups and events. In 2016 I got the speaking bug, but struggled a little to get into conferences. For 2017, I thought a good way to get experience was to engage at the local level.
So I scheduled a few meetup dates. Those events have gone really well.
In the meantime, I submitted a good amount of abstracts to local and regional conferences, hoping to get into one or two.
And then I got into more than one or two
I started to get accepted to speak at conferences way more quickly than I expected. In 2016, my issue with conference submissions was that I couldn't get in. In 2017, my issue is the opposite. I have actually started retracting submissions from conferences, for fear of getting accepted and not having any time for my family and my training. A lucky problem to have!
My upcoming schedule
Chicago Code Camp
April 29, Chicago
I'll be presenting my "Getting Started With React" talk at Chicago Code Camp at the end of April.
One thing that is interesting about speaking is that you never really know what talks will get picked up. My "Getting Started With React" talk was never really intended to happen - it came out of a workshop I did for our internship program at Centare, and I was reluctant to submit it anywhere. But after Chicago Code Camp, I will have given this talk more than any other talk. Crazy how that works out.
May 19-20, Detroit
I will be doing my favorite talk - "Code Is Communication" - at Self.conference in May.
This is a really fun talk, and I'm excited to get to do it again. I'm also really excited about the other talks at this conference. Getting accepted to Self.conference was my first big surprise.
Open Source North
June 8, Twin Cities
In June, I'll be doing a revamp of my oldest talk - "The Static Web Revolution" - at Open Source North.
I'm excited about some visual updates I'll be making for the slides for this talk, playing on the "revolution" idea.
August 7-9, Wisconsin Dells
Oh man, this is the grandaddy of them all. This conference (that conference) is the reason I wanted to start speaking. I saw Cory House speak two years ago, and realized this was what I wanted to do. Getting into That Conference was the first speaking goal I set.
So yeah, I'm pretty stoked about this one. I'll be doing "The Static Web revolution" here as well.
August 16-18, Twin Cities
Back to the Twin Cities again, this time for Midwest JS. I'd heard great things about this conference in 2016, so I was planning on attending even if I hadn't gotten in as a speaker.
I'll be doing a brand new talk here - "Unit Testing Your React App". This talk was born out of the work I've been doing over the last year or so, as well as a desire to learn more about Jest and Enzyme.
A few things I've learned from this year of craziness, so far.
I was frustrated last year, and early this year, with not getting accepted into conferences. Admittedly, some of my very early submissions were not very good. But I thought a lot of the stuff I was submitting last year and early this year was pretty good.
It turns out it was, because all of the talks I had picked up this year were things that had been submitted and rejected many times. Especially early on, I think the ratio of rejected to accepted is at least 5 to 1. I just knew I wanted to speak at conferences, so I pushed through the rejection, and it is paying off.
You never know which talks will be accepted.
It blows my mind how many times I'll be giving my intro to React talk. I hesitated to submit that talk every single time. I thought "this is such a basic thing, they must get a ton of these, why would mine get picked?"
I'm not sure why. But it did, several times. So, yeah - you never know which talks are interesting to organizers. It might be the one you least expect.
Don't spread yourself too thin.
For as many talks as I'll be doing this summer, I've been pretty lucky with which ones have been selected. Considering the range of talks I'd submitted to these events, I could have found myself with a brand new talk for every event. Luckily, I didn't, so I get to focus on nailing down just a few of them. And I only have one brand new one that I have to start from scratch.
For next year, I'm going to make sure that I'm submitting talks that I have a pretty good start on. I don't want to get stuck having to write 5 new talks over the summer. This can be a hard thing to balance when you're first starting - I just wanted to get into conferences, so I was submitting anything I thought was a good idea. But it probably makes sense to restrain those ideas a little, to make sure you don't get swamped with accepted talks that you haven't written.