Call for Papers

Welcome to the php[tek] 2014 Call for Papers!

Here’s an explanation of what we’re looking for and of how the selection process works. Please read the whole thing before submitting your proposals. In addition, you need to review the Speaker’s Package for this year.

What we look for

PHP runs over 80% of the internet at the moment. Take a moment to think about that staggering statistic.  Because of this, the use-cases of PHP are extremely broad, and we want php[tek] to reflect that. We therefore want submissions that cover the entire range of Web Development processes. We want to hear about how PHP is getting the job done throughout the world.

Importantly, we don’t necessarily look for talks that are only about PHP itself.  Some of our most successful presentations have been on products built on PHP (such as WordPress, Drupal, and other frameworks) and on technologies that are crucial to building on the web (HTML5, JavaScript, Mobile Development, Apache, Databases, Deployment, etc.)

Who we look for

You don’t have to be a professional speaker to present at php[tek]. In fact, many speakers at our conference are speaking publicly for the first time. What matters is the content that you are going to provide. If you submit a talk and we think that the topic is relevant to our audience, we are going to accept it (or try to).  Each and every person out there has unique experiences and unique knowledge, and we can all come together at php[tek] to share this.

Suggestions to get accepted

There are a few ‘tricks of the trade’ that many regularly accepted speakers follow. We want to share these so everyone has an equal footing in the process.

First of all, make sure you submit at least two proposals to us—three would be even better.  Why?  Well simply put, we do have to be wary of costs. If you have an amazing talk that we want at the conference, we will pull you in regardless. But if we have the choice between two similar talks, and one speaker only submitted one talk we were interested in while another submitted two, we are going to choose the speaker who can give two talks as it’s more cost effective. Because of this, most of our speakers will be asked to give two talks.  The more you give us to choose from, the greater chance that you’ll have a couple talks that we can’t live without.

Secondly, make sure that you are really descriptive on your bio and your talk description.  You want to sell us on the talk and on you.  If you just enter a single sentence, your talk isn’t going to be rated highly.  Similarly, don’t just submit something like:  “I could give any talk you want”.  We realize that you probably can; however, we get over 400 submissions for each conference. We don’t have the time to play ‘what if’.

Finally, we would prefer that your bio be written in 3rd person, but your sessions themselves use 1st person language.  Use your own voice and express yourself to us personally.

Talk types

This year at php[tek] we have three types of talks:

  • Tutorials
    • These take place on Tuesday and are 3 hours long.  Attendees here will expect in-depth coverage of a specific topic; however, 3 hours isn’t that much time to get hands-on.
  • Regular talks
    • These take place throughout the rest of the conference and are 1 hour long, including the Q&A.
  • Short talks
    • A new idea this year! On the two main conference days, we have a block of time set aside for shorter 30-minute talks.  Sometimes there are topics that don’t need a full hour. This block will allow these kinds of topics to be exposed.

Equipment and setup

You will be expected to bring your own laptop capable of displaying your presentation and appropriate adapters for your laptop to connect to a projector.  (If you need to borrow something, just let us know).  In turn, we will provide in each room:

  • A lectern for presenting from, including wireless & wired microphones
  • A WXGA widescreen projector (1200×800) with both DVI and VGA connections
We will have Internet access available, but highly discourage speakers from relying upon it for their talks. Internet access at conferences can always be problematic, and so relying upon it for your presentation can be problematic.

How does the selection process work?

After we’ve closed the Call for Papers, we will review every submission that we received. We have a team of reviewers that will go through and rate each one individually so we can sit down and start looking at a spreadsheet of all the submissions sorted by average rating.

Then the magic of conference selection happens. Just having the highest rated talk doesn’t mean you will be selected. We also have to create a balanced conference with a good cross section of topics and accommodate lots of speakers. Also we often want to bring in new topics and new speakers. We typically get more than 10 proposals per each single speaking slot that we have available, which in the end means that 90% of the people who submit will unfortunately have to be declined.  Just because you are declined doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an amazing talk!  It just means that we couldn’t fit it into our schedule this year.

If you are selected, we will let you know as soon as we have the schedule ready, which should be in mid to late January, and then we will reach out again later in the year to organize all of the travel and hotel accommodations for the speakers.

For those who don’t make the cut, well, that’s the hardest email that we have to send out each year, we know it’s a disappointing thing to hear. Don’t be discouraged, however: there are lots of other conferences, and we’d love to see you submit the next year as well. (Plus there’s a decent chance that we’ll be in touch about getting you to write some articles for our magazine!)

OK. At this point you should be ready, so go submit some proposals to us!