The TOC NY 2013 Call for Proposals (CFP) was originally scheduled to close September 6, but in the past few days we’ve spoken with a number of potential speakers, eager to submit, but not sure if they were hitting the right note with their proposals. Many have asked for extensions, as well as some more info on what we’re looking for. So, we are providing both.
I can’t say for sure what speakers and topics will make it onto the TOC 2013 program, but in addition to the general topics/tips/etc on the CFP page, I can also offer some of the criteria our fantastic program committee will be appying in evaluating proposals and building out the program.
If you are submitting a proposal (and I hope you are) —
FOCUS ON THE ATTENDEE EXPERIENCE: TOC is devoted to helping publishers and others in our industry create the best possible user experience for their audience. As a conference, TOC is no different – we want to create unparalleled experiences for our attendees. We want presentations that not only make the most of the live and communal nature of a TOC conference setting, but demand it. In other words, what will attendees experience in your session that they aren’t going to get from reading a blog post, watching a video, or attending any other conference/in-person event?
GO BIG: Do not shy away from more advanced content. One of the most common attendee requests last year was for more advanced level information
BE ORIGINAL: Another common attendee request last year was for more unique information. If it’s a well-trodden topic, let us know the unique angle or approach you will be providing when presenting it at TOC 2013.
LET US KNOW YOU KNOW YOUR STUFF: Let us know why you are uniquely qualified to speak on the topic you are proposing. Maybe it’s your unparalleled passion for the subject at hand, or maybe it’s your professional qualifications (even better if it’s both), but please do toot your own horn to make it clear to the program committee you can deliver the goods.
GET ENGAGED: Our audience always ALWAYS says they want to see more engaging presentation formats. If you have played it out in your mind, and concluded that a straight lecture or panel of talking heads is the best format for your presentation, okay. But, REALLY? Come on. Even if it’s just making sure you leave time for, and encourage audience Q+A, make an effort to introduce some interactivity into your presentation. TOC is live and in person – take advantage this setting!
IT’S OKAY IF YOU ARE NOT A PROGRAMMER OR ANALYST, AND HAVE NOT BUILT A ROBOT: Yes we love our consumer data. We crave publishing programming miracles, and fantastic shiny gadgets, and we seriously can not get enough on designing artisanally for the multiple-screened world in which we live. But, it’s just as likely we want to hear from you if you have other things in mind.
IOW, the fantastically fun and quirky community that is TOC is NOT just about technology, data, and/or people who like to analyze everything endlessly. We are a diverse community of people working together to discover the ways forward for publishing. Data and programming are part of that. Sales channels and marketing research are also. And designers and indexers. Not to mention authors, and readers, and people who work to bring them together. Yes, sometimes shiny steals the show, but we want to make sure everybody gets their voice into the TOC mix.
For more pointers about submitting to us, check out our esteemed O’Reilly colleague Ed Dumbill’s (Chair of OSCON and Strata) smart post over on the O’Reilly website outlining his essential rules for conference development. He says everything there that I would say, only with a British accent.
So, we’ve given you more time (till September 17), and more tips — now you really have absolutely no excuse for not submitting a proposal.