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CFPs! Submitting talks to conferences Episode 9

CFPs! Submitting talks to conferences

This week we talk about Call for Proposals and how to submit a talk to a developer conference.

· 34:04


CJ: Welcome back to Build and Learn.

My name is CJ.

Colin: And I'm Colin, and today we
are talking about submitting talks to

conferences and maybe a little bit of what
happens once you get your talk accepted.

CJ: Awesome.

So I, we've both spoken a lot.

I don't know, like I feel like both
you and I have kind of like gone in.

We've done talks at a
lot of different places.

But mostly meetups.

I think both you and I have
like shared the stage at several

meetups in Reno for sure.

But yeah, like you recently
spoke at Rails conf.

I'm excited to dig into that.

But before we get into Rails Conf
and submitting talks to conferences.

I watched yesterday, I watched
the Laracon online conference.

Which it was like a 10 hour
video basically on YouTube.

And when I started watching it,
they, they didn't have the chapters

in the description, so I was like
kind of just scrolling through

and watching as much as I could.

And gosh, Laravel has some
really cool stuff that Rails just

does not have, or does not have
like, first class support for.

So yeah, there was a bunch
of really cool stuff.

Colin: That's interesting.

So is that how they, did they have a in
person version or was it just online?

CJ: It was all online this
time, as far as I can tell.


Have you played with Laville at all?

Colin: I have not, My only PHP
experience is WordPress and I think

I need to fix that because I've
heard really good things about it.

. So I think it's, I'll have to check
out that video and maybe zoom through

some to some of the interesting parts.

CJ: Well, there's a really great
thing that they announced during

the like keynote that Taylor gave,
and that is this Laravel bootcamp.

So at bootcamp.laville.com, there is like
a, a guide that you can walk through.

And you basically rebuild Twitter
and chirps and stuff, but it uses

inertia js, which apparently has
support for both Rails and Laravel.

and it's kind of hot wirey , where you
basically kind of like render something on

the back end with the inertia library and
then you can pick it up on the front end.

But the bootcamp it takes like an hour
and a half or so to run through it,

and you go from scratch to kind of like
knowing how to do basic crud with laville.

So yeah, it's fun.

It's cool.

It's, it's so wild to see how.

They have builtin, they have this
thing called Mail Hog that will like

intercept mail that's going out.

And you don't have to use a gem for that.

They also have tooling for all of these
event notification things, not just email.

They've got like builtin Yeah,
builtin pubsub builtin tooling for

authentication with Laravel Breeze.

And so yeah, it's, it's, it's fun to play
around with and just see, you know, where

Laravels got cooler stuff than rails.

Where Rails really shines.

Cause there's definitely some developer
experience things that Rails has that

that Laville is missing out on still.

But yeah, it's kind of fun
to compare and contrast.

Colin: That's cool.

Yeah, this is gonna be a little
bit weird cuz this episode's

not gonna come out for weeks.

But this weekend is also a
rails hackathon around like

kind of hot wire focused themes.

So I'm thinking about just kind of
hacking on something, not necessarily

competing as much as just I haven't
touched anything hot wire or.

Turbo frames or any of that kind of stuff.

So it sounds cool, but I haven't
even touched that before I even start

looking at things like inertia and
I love how a lot of the stuff that's

happening in the development world
is going back to like just html, you

know, on the wire, which is great.


CJ: Totally.


Yeah, like the, I think.

, That hackathon was like
Rails, hackathon or something.

Colin: Yeah, it's railshackathon.com.

So they'll probably, I think Chris from
Go Rails set this up for potentially

having future hackathons, but you
know, maybe we'll talk about it

in a future episode, how it went.

I've got a few ideas for things to
kind of tinker with just as learning

exercise, and we'll see how that.

CJ: Cool.


It looks like at the very bottom of that
landing page too, you can sign up to

get notified about future hackathons.


Colin: Yeah.

CJ: Nice.


Turbo, like turbo and stimulus and
like all of the hot wire stuff.

Has been really interesting.

I definitely don't feel super,
super comfortable with it yet.

And I know there's a lot more to it, but
it definitely is, seems pretty powerful.


Colin: Where might you learn
more about those things?


CJ: yeah, stimulus or, I mean, I don't
know if you wanna watch my YouTube channel

about me stumbling through this, but

Colin: Well, I was kind of, kind
of setting you up there for media

conference you might go to, or if
someone gives a nice talk on it might

be a good way to, to jump in there.

CJ: Oh yeah.

Well, I mean, so there, I think there's
probably lots of talks about stimulus

and hot water , but yeah, if you want to
come to Ruby Comp in Houston in November,

that is gonna be that'll be really fun.

There's actually a couple different
versions of Ruby Comp happening.

There's a Ruby Comp Mini
that's mid-November, and

then there's a Ruby Comp.

Like the, I dunno, the bigger one is
happening end of November, which like

surprisingly, I got a talk accepted to
. So yeah, super, super pumps to go talk

about how we generate client libraries
at Stripe specifically like the Ruby

Client Library, but others I think I, I
did like a super short lightning talk at

one of the dev reno meetups about this.

Colin: You did and you kind
of melted everybody's brain.

So I am very excited to see the
video of this talk when it comes out.

Why then, let's just to jump into the
topic, like why are you looking to talk

about that at Ruby Conf and maybe what
are the general reasons that someone

might want to speak at a conference?

CJ: So, yeah, that's a, I mean,
for me, It's, there's like a

whole bunch of different reasons.

For my job, it's important that
I go and speak at conferences.

As a developer advocate, we want
to make sure that people are aware

of Stripe, and so as part of that,
I can go and speak at conferences.

I'm also just really, really excited
about the tooling that we have for

SDK generation and because it's this
private internal thing that we use.

It's not open source and it's not public.

It's really hard for me to go and like
scream about it from the rooftops and

like tell people about it without being
able to go speak about it in public.

So it's a thing that I'm
really excited about and.

I think it's also like a tool that
we've learned a lot of lessons

from that hopefully the community
can pick up and learn from.

And then there's like also
selfish reasons, right?

Like, I want, I, I want people
to like come and watch my YouTube

channel and like, know about
the stuff that I'm putting out.

And so yeah, like growing an audience,
but what were some of the reasons

that you did your talk at Rail?

Colin: Yeah, so I think for me it's a lot
of just sharing like what I've learned.

So I think we'll talk about it a little
bit more, but you don't necessarily have

to be like a super senior or expert in
your field to do one of these talks.

It's more of like, Hey,
we had this problem.

This is how we fixed it.

Hopefully, you know, whoever washes
that talk will now, you know,

be able to, to learn from that.

And so you know, sharing hard one
learnings and then, yeah, like I think

similarly meeting other people, I
would say like if you're intimidated

by introducing yourself to people,
getting up on stage and giving a talk

is going to make people know that
like, CJ's giving a talk on this thing.

If you didn't know CJ before,
now you know cj, right?

And so people might come ask you
questions afterwards and it's

just a good, like jumping off.

At the same time, if it's your first
conference experience, probably just

go and see how it is and watch the
talks and, and figure out like if

this is something you'd wanna do.

But yeah, I think like it's pretty
rewarding to get up and be able to share

something that you've been working on,
especially if it's something you've

been thinking about for a long time.

Like, you know, the SDK
generation for you for.

I've been dabbling in integrations
and APIs for so long, and I feel

like it's all like trapped in my
head and I needed to get it out.

And, you know, there's only so much
I get to talk about it at work.

So, you know, maybe it's, you know,
being able to have other people listen

to me and, and learn something from
it because it's, you know, 10 plus

years of APIs that we can hopefully
share that with other people.

And you know what's really cool too
now is that there are getting more and

more niche conferences for this thing.

There's like open API spec conferences
where we can geek out on the spec

itself instead of like more high
level stuff all the way down to SaaS

and MicroConf and language specific
or framework specific conferences.

So I think those are all
pretty exciting to, to check.

CJ: Totally.


Yeah, I think so.

Yeah, we definitely have similar.

Overlap in terms of why we
wanna speak at conferences.

I think one other reason that I've heard
is that if you're a super small startup

and you're looking to hire people, then
I've often seen CTOs go and give talks to

help build the brand around or like build
like yeah, the talent, the engineering

talent brand, so that then people
are like, Oh whoa, that's super cool.

I wanna go work for that person.

Cuz they're doing really interesting work.

Colin: Yeah, I would argue that's
the case even for Stripe, right?

Like when I see Shopify or Stripe or
certain companies talk about how they

things work inside, you know, even if it's
not a public gem or a public service, some

people are, you know, you'll be like, I
wanna work with stuff like that, right?

Like, I wanna work with people like that.

And so it can really help with that.

I know we did that
pretty early on at Orbit.

We had some orbiters speak at conferences.

I think we had some people
at Sin City, Ruby and Ruby.

And yeah, it definitely gets
the company out there as.

CJ: So how did you pick the topic
of build versus buy and Yeah,

like how did you narrow in on.

Colin: Yeah, so this
is an interesting one.

So if you're looking at applying
to a conference, they will normally

announce a cfp, so a call for proposals.

And in that they typically
will list a bunch of themes.

And so I think most people will pick
a topic that they care about and then

they'll shop it around to conferences.

I went the other way around
and I took the themes and I

developed a talk for the themes.

So you can do both, right?

Like you have this SDK generation talk.

You can go figure out which conference has
a theme that fits that, and then apply.

Or you can apply for like the
miscellaneous track or you know, maybe

go find an API or SDK conference, right?

That would make the most sense for it.

But the challenge with that is
now you're gonna be up against a

bunch of API SDK generation talks.

And so for me, I, you know, my
build versus buy talk was more

specifically I was trying to
do build versus buy on rails.

And why rails is like specifically
helpful for going the build route.


There was a theme at Rails Conf this
year on switching , like switching

costs or switching from A to B
or migrations, things like that.

And it didn't end up being in that track,
but that's kind of how I pitched it.

And I'm actually not sure technically
what track it ended up in, but.

I've found that it's helpful to go
backwards from there, especially if

you're not sure what to talk about.

CJ: Hmm.

. Totally.


I think.

Build versus buy is like a
really valuable, it's like

it's valuable no matter what
language or ecosystem you're in.

And so it was, I like that you,
Yeah, put a spin on it that

was like rail specific too.

And were able to speak to the tools
that you were using inside of Rails

that helped you with your decision.

So that was cool.

Colin: Ruby Conf have
like a list of themes?

CJ: they did.

I don't remember what they were.

Colin: But you already had a sense of like
what you wanted to talk about or like, I'm

sure you have a list of potential talks.

CJ: Yeah, so that's what I was
gonna mention was that for for

a lot of folks that I know, they
will build several different talks.

Maybe they'll have like three talks
that they go and give, and they're

gonna give those for the next 18
months, and then they will craft CFPs.

That will sort of just be like a small
bend on the like, or like a different take

or a different angle on the talks that
they've already got canned and so swyx.

So yeah, if you find swyx on Twitter,
he's got a whole process where he'll

like really quickly submit to just
tons and tons of conferences by this.

But yeah, I, I've had this idea in the
back of my head about talking about

these, this SDK generation stuff.

And so I've actually submitted a
similar talk to like go conference, like

Gopher Con and it didn't get picked up.

And I've, in fact, I've like
submitted this same talk to like

a bunch of conferences and no, it
was never picked up by any of them.

So I was excited when it was
finally picked up by by Ruby Con.

And yeah.

So here were the different themes
hidden Gems giving back with Ruby.

Bringing your backgrounds with you off the
beaten path and navigating systems change.

And I think I tried to categorize this
one as like off the beaten path because

it is like a weird thing that we're doing.


Colin: Nice.

Well, and I would say you, you also
don't have to do a talk that's super

technical, like especially if you want to
get your feet wet with your first talk.

And you, I, I'm gonna just say
like if there's a lot of imposter

syndrome that comes up when submitting
a talk, when writing a talk.

At Rails Conf, there were a lot of really
great talks about developer happiness,

wellness, productivity, the kind of quote
unquote, I wouldn't like soft skills, but

they're like, Just as important, Right?

That makes us an engineer, right?

It's thinking about what we're
doing when we're not coding.

taking care of our tools
and, and all of that.

And then you have on the other side of
the spectrum, you know folks who are

doing like literal ruby archeology Will
Link, will link to, to Schwad's talk in,

in here as well on that, where it's like
he's trying to replicate what Ruby and

Rails looked like back in 2011 on a, you
know, a digital ocean server, running

the same versions of everything back
then and seeing what, what was there.

It's like that doesn't have
to be what your first talk.


If there's something that you're really
interested in, something you're excited

about, or maybe that you uniquely just
know a lot about, maybe you went super

deep on something that was really
meant to just be a paragraph in some

docs somewhere, but you know way more
than that, then that's like a great

place to start looking for your topic.

Typically when you submit, what
kinds of things do you have to submit

for your talk to be considered?

CJ: Yeah, so everywhere
is a little bit different.

But the, the main, the main piece
of this is called an abstract, and

I think usually this is also what.

Ends up in sort of like the the
schedule or the pamphlet or whatever

that goes out to attendees and also is
what sort of attracts people to attend

the conference in the first place.

And so your abstract is like a short, it's
not tweet length, but it's, it's a short.

Description of what someone would get
out of the talk when they come to it.

And usually that's like where a lot of
folks focus their efforts when they're

trying to craft one of these submissions.

But you might also have more detailed
descriptions and more detailed

outlines that would cover, like,
okay, here's an actual, like, bulleted

list of all the topics I'm gonna
cover with like, an estimate of how

long each one's gonna take and the,
you know, what attendees can expect.

No, after watching the talk and oftentimes
they're usually like anonymized too.

So they ask like, please don't, you
know, add any information that would

identify you or your company or whatever
as part of the submission details.

And then they'll be like another section
that's like, what is your, your bio,

your like speaker bio, where then you
can say like, Oh, you know, here's why

I'm qualified to to give this talk.

Colin: Yeah.


Even in that blind selection, you
know, they'll usually ask like,

what's your speaking experience?

And I don't think that they're necessarily
looking for you to be a pro speaker.

They just want to know like
how much help you might need.

Cuz some conferences are really good at
giving you support through this process.

Like with Rails Conf, I was invited to
a Slack channel with the other speakers.

People, you know, would have
conversations in there about, you

know, Slide questions format, right?

There's all these little technical
things that you gotta get down.

Is there gonna be a monitor
to see your slides on?

Is are you gonna have a
remote to click through?

Do you need to bring those things
yourself if you rely on those things?

So like there is a little
bit of support there.

But even in that, like how much experience
do you have, you don't necessarily

wanna disclose who you are, which I
actually think allows more new speakers

to get into into the, the market,
the business, the whatever, , right?

Like more people to get into the
circuit, the speaker circuit, because.

It can be obvious, like you said,
someone shops around the same,

talk to all these conferences.

You might see the same kinds
of names popping up at, at,

at conferences everywhere.

And when they do a blind selection,
they're picking based on the

topic, not by by the person.

And they're definitely, like, I've run
events, they're definitely thinking

about what's gonna get people to buy a
ticket to this conference in addition

to some rounding out of themes and
like beginner, intermediate, advance

type themes as well, so that you can.

Folks new to Rails, going to
Rails Comp, having talks that they

can feel really comfortable in.

And then maybe you've got those
intermediate and advanced ones where they,

they'll go and they now see like what they
can kind of reach for or, or grow towards.

CJ: Yeah, totally.

I think the The fact that it's blind and
like, no, actually, just knowing that

the abstract is going to be used in order
to sort of sell tickets, that also is

a good motivation for you to be like,
Okay, how can I make this abstract really

interesting and like exciting instead
of being like, You know how to do for

loops in Ruby or something like that.

You can make it really fancy, like spin
yourself around on a, you know, like on

a Ferris wheel and like, let's go for a
trip to learn about how to loop through

the universe with blah, blah, blah.

It's like, you really, really gotta,
it's like a sales pitch, right?

Like for people to come,

Colin: That's a very ruby
specific or ruby rails.

I feel like that a lot of the
talks have a lot of fun in their

either titles or their abstracts.

I'm blanking on who, who I can think
of, but there was like a, how GitHub

builds GitHub using GitHub talk.

This was like in 2011 or something that
was just like, that one stands out to me.

I think like some tips here for
writing that abstract is I would check

out a website called speakerline.io.

It's where anyone can submit their
abstracts and their descriptions

and then they note whether or
not it was accepted or not.

And then that way it's a little bit of.

There's a bias, like confirmation
bias in that like, this is

what I did and it got accepted.

So it doesn't necessarily mean that's
gonna work for you, but what I did, I

read through a bunch of speaker lines,
kind of got a sense of like what a

lot of the accepted ones kind of do.

Like the description on the outline
needs to follow an arc, a story,

like a beginning, middle, and end.

And remember, you only have a
certain amount of time for your talk.

So if it's a 30 minute talk, you can't
shove every single thing into it.

And you need to think about what
your takeaways are gonna be.

And then I would watch past talks
from the conference that you're

applying to just to see like.

again, the topic content, but like
what do a lot of the talks feel like

and try to go backwards from there.

So taking the theme, the past talks,
the speaker lines, and then like those

components of the cfp, and you're making
a sales pitch for yourself at that point.

CJ: Yeah, totally.

I think the other, there's
a bunch of other resources

too for reviewing CFPs and.

I think for all, I like submitted tons and
tons of talk submissions and like almost

all of them were rejected or denied.

And so like, I was like,
what am I doing wrong?

Like, why is no one, why
is no one picking this up?

And I think there's a
lot of reasons for that.

But I would say, I think this talk that
was accepted, part of the reason why

I was accepted was that I had a lot of
people look at it with me and give me

feedback and help me like craft it and.

Colin: Yeah,

CJ: It was definitely like when I was
on my own, I was missing certain things.

So in the same way that you might have
someone review a resume before you send

it in to apply to a job, you, it's, it
can be helpful to have other people look

at your stuff and make sure that it looks
nice and tight before you send it out.

And along those lines, wnb.rb they
have like a pretty amazing crew of

people who will review your talks.

So if you're part of.

Group, they've got like slack
channels and everything to help

review each other's talk proposals.

So did you, did you have anyone look at
yours before you submitted to Rails Comp?

Colin: Yeah, we have like a little
informal process of like, I'll share

in our Slack like, hey, the CFP
is open if anyone wants to submit.

And so then like a few of us pulled
together some, some CFPs and we,

What I think I did first was I
like had really, really short like

one-liners and I was like, Which
one of these things would you go to?

And then whichever one they voted on most
was the one that I focused on writing out.

And then just did a Google Doc on that
and then had people comment on that.

And I think that definitely helped.

Cuz my original talk idea was a little
bit more, it was like how developers

develop themselves or something like that.

It was like a little bit too, It was
good talk I thought, but like more for

like a developer wellness conference than
a, Than like it wasn't Rails specific.


So that one would've
been a little bit harder.

Then, then something that had rails in it.

But yeah.

So when you do that, do you
just do a Google Doc or is

it one of these other tools?

CJ: Yeah, Google Doc and
then ask people for comments.

We actually do this also with
like all of our other content.

And in the previous episode of Build
and Learn here, if you go back to

Build and learn.dev/nine, maybe
slash 10 we talk about doing or like

creating content for developers.

And so this is actually like
another form of content for

developers is giving some talk.

Like, or, or like, yeah.

Submitting to a conference
and then also giving the talk.

And so yeah, for a lot of, or for
all of the other formats of content

that we create for developers, we
also have the whole team kind of

jump in and try to share feedback.

And it's, it's really interesting
because, Everyone on the team has a unique

perspective and a lot of unique experience
that they can bring and be like, Oh, hey,

have you heard of this library that's
related to this talk that you're giving?

Or have you seen this
weird, funny meme about it?

Or yeah.

So that's, it's, it's a really
valuable workflow and we actually

use Google Docs for people to come
and comment on the content, and

then we use Jira and inside of Jira.

For each piece of content, if
someone reviews it and gives you

feedback, they mark themselves
as reviewers and we reward.

And yeah, like people will get
credit for all of the things that

they've reviewed also, not just
the stuff that they've created.

So there's people on the team who
just give tons and tons of feedback

and review and edit and help people

Colin: takes a lot of work.

CJ: Totally,

Colin: It's like reviewing poll requests,

CJ: Exactly, exactly.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So it's like kind of the same
weight that we would give to

someone for reviewing a pr.

They can instead review a talk.

Colin: Nice.

Yeah, so episode nine, so build and
learn.dev/nine, you can check that out.

Does is creating other developer content,
does that, have you found that it's

helped you in this process of applying
to, to talks like you're already writing

scripts for YouTube videos and things
like that, so like, When it comes time,

and we can always do another episode on
like, okay, your talk has been accepted.

Now what do you do?

But like, has it helped you in
writing the CFP or you know, because

most of these are blind selection.

I assume that like, you know, being known
on the Stripe Docs videos is probably

not necessarily getting you through here.

As, as you mentioned, you've
been denied plenty of times,

but like, has that helped?

CJ: so I think it is,
it's helped a little bit.

For the past couple years
I've focused a lot on video.

And I was maybe writing an intro
script, outro script, and sometimes I

would write a script, but most of the
time I was just kind of riffing or,

you know, to use a bulleted outline
and go through and just build stuff.

The thing that I've, I think has
helped the most is this year I've

been super intentional about trying
to improve my writing and like doing

more articles and blog posts and even
like tweeting more and you know, doing

shorter form LinkedIn posts and things.

I read this book, and if you
haven't seen, I would, I like

super highly recommend this.

It's called On Writing Well, and we can
link to it in the show notes, but it

is really, really excellent in terms of
being concise, getting your point across,

and it, it has a lot of tips and tricks
for basically just non-fiction writing.


Colin: This is different than
Stephen King's on writing.

CJ: Yes.


Colin: Okay.

also highly recommended.

Well, maybe a little bit more
fictional based, I think.

CJ: Yeah, this one is from
Williams as Zinser Zinser.

Colin: Nice.

All right.

Yeah, we'll include a link to that.


Well, yeah, as you mentioned, like, you
know, you've submitted a lot of talks.

They haven't all been accepted.

I think that experience was a
little bit harrowing for me.

It's like I literally did the whole
like get feedback from my, you know,

colleagues, from friends, and then I
just decided I wasn't gonna submit and.

CJ: Oh really?

Colin: Yeah, like at the 11th
hour, I like, I think I got an

email or a tweet that was like,
submissions close in an hour.

And what's cool on the real CFP thing
is they show you a graph of submissions

over time which is like kind of
daunting as well, where it's like,

okay, no one's really submitted yet.

And I'm like, Oh, this is easy.

No one's hardly submitted.

And by the admit, by the deadline,
like you, everyone is crafting

and perfecting their pitch.

Everyone just is submitting at the last.

And so I was like, you know, like,
you know, getting that rejection

and when we say denied or rejected
all these things, like it can feel

a little bit harsh even though they
don't know who you are and all of that.

And so I was like, You know what?

I don't think this is a good enough
talk and I just wasn't gonna submit it.

And I think it was like literally
the, the, within the last hour,

I was just like, You know what?

I'll push the button.

Worst they can do is say no.

And then you just wait.

Once you submit, you wait and
eventually you'll get an email whether

or not it was accepted or rejected.

CJ: Yeah.

It's funny to look at the chart now.

There it's just like, you know,
little, little, like some people

are obviously like procrastinators.

As soon as the CFP opens, they submit,
and then there's a couple throughout,

and then a giant spike like in the last
day, right before submissions closed.

So okay, so you, you were considering
not submitting, Was that, do

you think it was like a imposter
syndrome thing or like you weren't

super pumped about the actual talk?

Colin: No, I was definitely excited
about the talk, but it, it was kind of,

I will say as much as we just said, like
watch a bunch of talks, check out speaker

line, like the more you do that, you
start to think like, am I this person?

Like, am I as good to be on this list
of speakers and things like that.

So it was a little bit
of imposter syndrome.

You know, I knew that I
could talk about the content.

The problem was that like the CFP
doesn't capture, you know, not being

identified as to who you are or like your
experience and all that kind of stuff.

It's really easy to see.

Are they gonna fully understand
what I'm pitching here anonymously?

Because it wasn't the full talk.

It's like a bulleted list at best.

That I think was, I, I'd actually should
go back and see what, how different

the talk turned out from the outline.

But the abstract was pretty close.

That was what ended up in the, in the.

The website, like you mentioned.

So that didn't really change.

But yeah, it was just probably
nerves and imposter syndrome.

This was like, like you said, we've
done a bunch of talks at meetups.

Meetups feel pretty low stakes, so
like, if you want to get practice

at this, like take your talk to a
meetup and get feedback on it there.

I didn't do that with this one, but I've.

Lots of meetup talks lots of ignite
talks, which are like very, like stand

upy and like off the cuff type of talks.

And and then this one, and I,
you know, submitted it the last

minute thinking there's nothing,
no way this is gonna get approved.

And it actually got accepted.

And so this was my, my first
CFP submission, which I think

is not gonna be what most people
experience, like your first one.

CJ: It's

Colin: Probably is not gonna get approved.

But yeah, it was a good experience for me.

CJ: Yeah.

I, I was, I mean, I enjoyed the
talk and I I thought you were.

Like more than qualified
to give that exact content.

And I thought it was really good.

So if you are listening and
you haven't seen it, you can, I

think you can go online right?

To YouTube.


Colin: Yeah, we

CJ: they up on YouTube?

Colin: We'll do some,

CJ: Yeah, we can link to it,

Colin: we'll link to it.

But I appreciate that.

Yeah, and I'm just saying like that
is like, don't let that stop you.

But also don't expect that your
first one will be, Approved, right?

Like I need to app apply to more
to just get that little bit of

exposure therapy to being rejected.

But I've actually found it kind of
difficult to find CFPs before they close.

Have you found any good ways of doing
that or finding CFPs in general?

CJ: yeah, there is a
couple of newsletters.

Receive about developer relations
and like in the bottom they'll

have a block with all the CFPs.

And then there was also
I wanna say CFP land.

Yeah, CFPLand.com is another like
site where you can just go and

search for upcoming proposals.

So yeah, it's tough because
sometimes a conference will

be in nine months from now.

Their CFP is open now for like
a couple months, and then other

times the conference will be
happening next month and their

CFP is just now opening right now.

And so it kind of really depends
on, I think, the maturity of the

conference and you know, like how big
the conference is and how much time

they take to review conference, like
talk submissions, et cetera, et cetera.

So yeah, it can be, it can
be kind of like, it'll, it'll

creep up on you basically.

Like if you wanted to go to.

Like, let's see, so Rails Comp is in
the end of, or Ruby Comp is in the end

of November, and I think CFPs closed
in August or something like mid August.

So that'll give you like, kind of a sense
for Ruby and Rails Comp, but in other

yeah, in other language or framework
communities, it's gonna be different.


Colin: Nice.

Yeah, I had heard that there used to be
a CFP email newsletter and it looks like

CFP land might have taken that over.

That's super useful.

Mostly like you just said, knowing
what is even out there, like there

are some niche conferences that.

You know, maybe you build up to as well.

Like for me, jumping straight to Rails
Comp also feels like the weirdest one.

Like I feel like there's definitely
smaller like, regional conferences

that I could've like built that up.

But again, they don't know who you are.

So like submit, right?

If you, if you don't submit, you're not
gonna even be put in the running for it.

So definitely do it.

It helps you build that muscle,
so I highly recommend it if you're

trying to like get really good at
a certain topic or even be known

as being good in a certain topic.

It's definitely good for that.

And it'll definitely make you look
good when, when you know, review cycles

and things like that come around too.

CJ: Right.

Yeah, I was thinking about that.

Like going back to the top of the show.


We bounce around a lot.

, we don't like, say super focused,
but going back to like why you

would speak at a conference.

Oh, if you're a CTO and you're trying
to build your talent brand to hire

people who are at the conference,
another reason would be to get hired.

Like, Oh, go demonstrate your skills
so that people want to hire you.

So if you, maybe you're
a junior and you're Yeah.

Like you're looking for, A job and
you learn something and you wanna

share that with people and it's gonna
demonstrate your skills and you can

like go give a talk about it at a
meetup or go give a talk about it at

a regional conference, and that'll be
recorded and put online and that really

helps improve your, your dev brand.

And it kind of also like helps
you skip certain interview stages

because you're not going in as
like a completely unknown quantity.

The hiring manager has watched
your talk about whatever concept

that you've presented on before.

Especially if you wanna get
into developer advocacy.

I've seen a lot of people asking
like, Oh, how do I get into advocacy?

How do I get into dev?

It's like, well, you can kind of go
and create content on your own and

then that will speak for itself and

Colin: There's no gate
keeping around that.

CJ: Exactly.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And when I, when we're interviewing
or looking at candidates for advocacy

positions, I definitely like will
go and look at their Twitter.

I'll go look at their previous talks.

I'll go look at their
YouTube channels, et cetera.

And so, yeah, I mean, I don't know.

That's, yeah, it could be a, a
way that you get a job basically.

Colin: Totally.


There I've been listening to
this podcast called Staff E, like

for staff engineer type content.

And then they have a whole website called
staff edge.com, but they talk a lot.

Like having a brag sheet, and this
is like that thing where maybe it's

not the actual resume, but it's
the list of things that you use.

Either make the case for a promotion
or getting hired at a new company.

Or maybe when you do give a talk
and they ask for your bio, you

now have things to pull from.

So that can be super helpful.

And honestly, like one line link
to YouTube talk replaces like a

whole paragraph on your resume.

Like that is great.

You can just link.

CJ: Yeah, totally.



Colin: Thanks for listening
to Build and Learn.

CJ: In the next episode, we're gonna talk
about getting hired, we're gonna talk

about engineering levels, and we really
want you to tune in if you're thinking

about starting your next developer role.

Colin: As always, you can head over to
build and learn.dev to check out all the

links and resources in the show notes.

That's all for this episode folks.

We'll see you next time.

CJ: bye friends.

View episode details

Creators and Guests

CJ Avilla
CJ Avilla
Developer Advocate @StripeDev. Veteran. 📽 https://t.co/2UI0oEAnFK. Building with Ruby, Rails, JavaScript
Colin Loretz
Colin Loretz
I like to build software and communities. Building software at @orbitmodel 🪐 Coworking at @renocollective 🎙Sharing software learnings on @buildandlearn_


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