SQLSaturday & The Speaker Wait List

When a new SQLSaturday event is launched an email is sent to all the speakers who have opted in to notifications for the region, basically saying “we hope you’ll speak at our event”. It’s lightweight and useful, and generally the only ‘send to all speakers’ message for that event, but with around a 100 events a year it’s still a lot of email to parse if you’re a speaker.

The organizers set a closing date for abstracts. Here in Orlando we try to set it 90 days out so we have time to shuffle the sessions around and have our schedule set no later than 60 days out (and earlier than that if possible). Marketing is more effective once the potential attendees can see the schedule.

We typically send one or two reminder messages to our previous speaker list (ones who attended any previous SQLSaturday Orlando) inviting them to return and noting the closing date. For the past couple years it’s been common to get a message after the closing date from speakers who missed the date. Informally we’ve put them on a wait list and if (when!) there is a cancellation we pull from that list to backfill after we give slots to speakers on our organizing team. Two reasons for that; one is that we know we’ll have cancellations and we like to keep a full schedule and the other is that we have other obligations on event day – not speaking eases that just a little.

There’s no speaker wait list in the site tools. Right now it’s an informal list in email which mostly works (except this year when there was one name I couldn’t find that Kendal finally dug out of his archive). I don’t know if needs tooling. I don’t think we want a public wait list – we really need 99% of them in by the cutoff. It might be useful as an organizer only tool though. It’s a minor issue/niche and I wouldn’t put at the top of the list by any means, but tools drive/enable behavior. Having an easy(ier) way to manage something can mean the difference between getting done and not getting done.

As far as seeing all the cutoff dates, it  turns out there is a page that has them all in one place! Go to MySQLSaturday page once you’re logged in to sqlpass.org. Thanks Karla!