PASS SQLRally Pre-Conference Seminars – The Application Process

Today we’re announcing the call for speakers for pre-conference seminars at the first SQLRally being held in Orlando in May 2011. Please follow this link (login required) to the final guidance.


SQLRally Winner

For those of you that read the earlier draft there are only a few changes that matter, all resulting from the great comments you provided:

  • We’re extending the submission deadline to Oct 15, with the caveat that if we get a ton of them, we may not be ready to announce the winners at the 2010 Summit
  • Removed the line asking for a list of the demos

We had a question about an option to pay expenses for our speakers instead of a direct payment due to the tax challenges outside the US. For now we’re following the payment process for Summit pre-cons (one area where common policy makes sense) which doesn’t provide for that, I’ll try to update this with a link to that policy, and we’ll try to revisit the topic again, but for now that’s what we have.

The other change is that we removed the text that covered the scoring process. I still want to do that, but getting that even close to right is going to be hard and I didn’t want it to hold up the rest of the process. The key is want to do it, but I’ll tell you that I’m sweating it, maybe too much, but I really want to do something that helps more than it hurts. Here is what I think matters:

  • Can they show me some proof of subject matter expertise?
  • Is the topic something that will appeal to a good portion of our attendees?

We’ll continue that topic on a separate thread!

If you’re interested in moving to the next level, stepping up your game, etc, go get the application and give it a shot. Think you don’t have a chance, that Person X is better than you? Bah! Get in the game! Here’s what I’d suggest if you’re interested:

  1. Put some sweat into the application, it’s the primary tool that we’ll use to sort things out.
  2. Do #1 again
  3. Pick a topic that you know AND that you think would be of interest to a decent number of attendees. Maybe you’re the world export on collations and maybe you can make a day class out of it, but the appeal (in my opinion anyway) is limited.
  4. Don’t make it so broad that’s it a catchall, remember – these attendees are paying to acquire skills, make it easy for them to understand what they will learn and how it will help them at work. Sell it to them, and sell it to their boss, often two different points of view.
  5. Don’t assume name recognition wins. Does it help? Sure. But it’s not the end-all.
  6. Find a mentor. Ideally it’s someone that has been previously selected to do a pre-con, or someone who has been on the selection committee, maybe even a board member. Get someone (not on the SQLRally team please!) to cast a critical eye on the application before you send it in.

Our intent is to do what we can to make this a open and interesting process. If you have a question or concern, post here, or drop me an email (andy @ mydomainname) and we’ll work on it. Good luck!

4 thoughts on “PASS SQLRally Pre-Conference Seminars – The Application Process

  1. Hey Andy, going through the application in detail, just a note that you might want to address. You’re asking for a Word document. In the outline you’re asking people to circle particular items. Clearly, they’re going to designate those items, not circle them, but if you don’t specify how you want them designated, you’re likely to get all kinds of different constructs. Niggling detail I realize, but it might make it easier during your evals.


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