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The Best Way to Master a Technology Is to Teach It to Others

Call for Papers:
Colorado Software Summit 2008

Send Your Proposals Right Away!

If you would like to be a speaker at Colorado Software Summit 2008, now is the time to send us your proposals. Don't delay. We will have chosen the majority of the speakers and topics by early April, 2008, and essentially all of them by the end of April, 2008. Although we do hold open a few slots for important late-breaking developments (and we welcome proposals on such developments at any time), in general if we have not received your proposals by the end of April, it will probably be too late for you to be included in the 2008 agenda.

About the Colorado Software Summit Audience

This conference is sharply focused on building and deploying Web applications and services using Open Source technologies and/or Java. Any topics that are aligned with this focus will be considered. Our audience is comprised of experienced professional programmers who are well grounded in programming fundamentals and a broad range of programming technologies and techniques. The majority of attendees at Colorado Software Summit will have been involved in Web-based and/or Java programming, and they are well prepared to learn more advanced techniques. Although we may continue to feature one or two introductory topics, such as introductions to new programming languages or technologies, the majority of the topics for CSS 2008 will be at an intermediate to advanced level.

What Kinds of Presentations Does This Audience Expect?

Our audience expects to attend sessions that have a lot of technical "meat" in them. Marketing-style presentations are unwelcome at this conference, and "stealth" presentations that appear to be technical but whose primary goal is to sell products are particularly unwelcome. The majority of our tutorial sessions will be in-depth discussions of specific Web-based programming techniques, accompanied by source-code examples. All of these sessions will be presented at a technical level that would be suitable for teaching one's professional peers new techniques that their background and experience have prepared them for. Our attendees are eager to benefit from experiences gained in "the real world." Proposals to merely review APIs or to present "concepts" or "architectures" will not be accepted (an exception might be if those APIs or concepts were being introduced at this conference for the first time). Topics that emphasize "how best to" and "what happens if" and "traps to avoid" and "difficult lessons learned" are the most successful, and are the type we seek. Our attendees especially want to see presentations that illustrate how to put the various technologies to their ultimate use, creating a usable Web-based product.

Speakers should not be surprised if some members of their audience know as much or more about the topic than themselves. Speakers who are not comfortable answering questions that are related to, but not necessarily central to, the primary theme of their presentation would not do well at this conference. To put that another way, if you are proposing to present material prepared by someone who understands it thoroughly while you do not — don't waste your time, ask the original preparer to send the proposal instead. Our speakers are themselves active programmers, and they are expected to speak confidently to our audience of professional programmers.

Keep the World Audience in Mind

Colorado Software Summit attracts attendees from around the world; all twelve of our previous conferences have drawn at least one-fourth, and more often one-third, of their attendees from outside the U.S. Our attendees have come from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Peoples Republic of China, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the Ukraine. Our recent conferences have featured speakers native to Australia, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands. With this strong international participation, it is very important that speakers plan for their topics to at least recognize (and ideally, exploit) internationalization.

Begin by Examining the 2007 Agenda

If you haven't already done so, you should examine the CSS 2007 topics carefully, to get a good "feel" for the kinds of topics we are looking for, as well as to stimulate your thinking of topics that ought to be included this year. We have posted many of the presentations from the 2007 conference, and we will continue posting presentations from the 2007 conference during the coming weeks.

With only a few exceptions, proposals that are focused upon specific proprietary products will be rejected; this conference is definitely NOT an opportunity to pitch the wonderfulness of some particular product. However, a presentation that describes in detail for some well-known Web service product or technology "how we created it, what problems we encountered, how we solved them, etc." would be given serious consideration. Proposals to teach our audience something that they will be eager to use immediately when they get back to work are the most likely to be successful here. With few exceptions, topics on future technologies, programming philosophy, project management, architecture, etc., do not meet that "immediate use" test and are not what we are looking for.

Focus on Web-based Programming using Java and Open Source, Not on Generic Programming Technology

This conference is sharply focused on developing and deploying Web-based applications and services using Java and Open Source tools, and especially on programming techniques that will be of immediate interest to professional programmers creating Web services. There are many other conferences whose primary focus is on the technology of programming (object oriented design and implementation, design architecture, project management, testing, etc.). Topics that closely tie any of these programming technologies to Web-based programming or Java might be good candidates for this conference; topics featuring a more generic focus on these programming technologies would not be good candidates. Some quick examples: "Using Design Patterns" is almost certainly too generic, but "Design Patterns in JavaBeans " or "Understanding Design Patterns in J2EE" would be good candidates. Similarly, "An Introduction to Object Oriented Design" is too generic, but "Optimizing Objects for Web Services" might be a good candidate.

All of the best rules have exceptions, of course. A few years ago we featured some presentations on Extreme Programming and on UML, neither of which is directly related to the focus of this conference. However, our audience always contains a high percentage of "early adopters," and in those earlier years a significant portion of the audience was either already using or very interested in learning to use these technologies to augment the productivity gains they had already seen with Java. So, while we generally will reject programming technology topics that might be a perfect fit at, say, OOPSLA, we will at least give serious consideration to those topics if they are very closely tied to Web-based programming and Java.

Be Certain You Understand the Commitment of Time and Effort

Our conference differs from most in that we expect our speakers to be here throughout the entire week, and to present their topic(s) three times during the week. The majority of our speakers will present two unique topics, which means they will do at least six presentations during the week (presenting each topic three times). We do this in order to keep the session sizes small, and to give our attendees several opportunities to schedule each topic they are interested in without having to agonize over choosing between two "must see" topics that are scheduled at exactly the same time. We also need your finished presentation by early August for this late October conference, in order to print all of the presentations for inclusion in a notebook we give to everyone as they check in. And, not least, our conferences have established a reputation for the technical skill of, and easy accessibility to, its very friendly and helpful speakers. It is a very tough audience, and at the same time a very rewarding one. If you really know your stuff, and if you enjoy talking about it outside your presentation times as much as during them, you would fit in well here.

Be Certain You Have the Support of Your Manager

Speaking at Colorado Software Summit is an honor, but it is also a firm commitment. If you are accepted as a speaker, we will post a description of your topics on our Web site and in our brochure, and it is likely that some of the people who decide to attend will have been influenced specifically by the promise of attending your presentations. We will ask for assurance from your manager that this commitment of both preparation time and actual time at the conference is completely understood, and that they fully support and have budgeted for this commitment.

But I'm Not a Great Speaker...

Colorado Software Summit emphasizes content first; presentation polish is less important (and is completely irrelevant if the technical content is not of the highest caliber). If you can present a timely topic in a manner that conveys crucial and immediately useful information to a group of professional programmers, via a high-tech multimedia presentation, while singing, dancing, juggling and solving Rubik's Cube, you'd be very popular here. But if all you can do is present a timely topic in a coherent manner that conveys crucial and immediately useful information to a group of professional programmers... you'd still be very popular here!

What We Need from You

At this initial proposal stage, we are looking for a simple description of what you might plan to do here, not an elaborate and detailed outline, and certainly not a fully-finished presentation. An ideal proposal would be very similar to the topic descriptions and speaker biographies you can see by following any of the links in the table of CSS 2007 topics. That brief topic description and brief biography gives us enough information to understand what you are proposing, and to evaluate your unique qualifications to be the person who presents that particular topic.

We expect our speakers to present two unique topics, so you should propose at least two topics — you are welcome to propose more (although we will not accept more than two). If you do propose more than two topics, we will assume that you have put them in "preferred priority" order. Be sure to include complete contact information in the text of your proposal, specifically including your email address — we sometimes get email that has an invalid or blocked return address, and we are unable to respond! Also, it is likely that we will want to call you and discuss your proposal in more detail as we are evaluating it, so please include your phone number with your proposal.

Principals Only, Please — No Intermediaries

With only rare exceptions, when we receive proposals that originate from third parties (such as speaker bureaus, PR firms, marketing groups, executive assistants, etc.), it is obvious that their primary motivation is to promote a product or service. Those proposals are immediately rejected. Even when the primary motivation of a third-party submission appears to be more in line with the goals of this conference (to teach important and timely Web services and Java programming techniques to a very technically oriented audience), we have found that the people being represented are almost never the right people to speak here. This conference is known not only for its technical excellence, but also for its open access of attendees to speakers and for its egalitarian atmosphere. It has been our great pleasure to feature some of the most influential people in the computer industry at this conference — industry "giants" who also happen to be some of the friendliest and most accessible people we've worked with, people whose universally acknowledged importance has not inflated into self-importance. Although we will give serious consideration to third-party submissions (as we will to ALL submissions), they will arrive under an extreme handicap.

What Happens After I Send My Proposal?

We will acknowledge receipt of your proposal within one or two business days. After that acknowledgment, in most cases we will need some time to evaluate your proposal. Some proposals are so compelling that they are accepted almost instantly, but for the majority we need to evaluate each individual proposal within the context of all the proposals we might receive for this year. Because of the volume of proposals we receive, it is a very busy time, not just an arbitrary delay. Don't delay sending us your proposal in the belief that waiting a few weeks won't matter; we will begin making decisions during February, and will be well on our way to a "cast in concrete" agenda by early March; by April, there is usually room for only one or two topics to be added (space that we leave for late-breaking Java developments that we might want to cover). If you want to speak at Colorado Software Summit 2008, send your proposal right away!

Important Dates:

Earliest date to submit proposals:

Immediately!

Latest date to submit proposals:

April 30, 2008

Completed presentations due:

August 15, 2008

Conference dates:

October 19 – 24, 2008


Where Do I Send My Proposals?

Email your proposals to CSS2008Speaker@SoftwareSummit.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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