The developer week 2018 conference in Nürnberg was the occasion to see many speakers whom I consider “family”. I spent three days there, held a talk about questioning and spent the rest of the time listening to interesting talks, networking, talking and recording podcasts.
One topic that came back a few times was the pain of following “call for papers” (CFPs).
CFPs are published by conference organizers in order to fill up their agendas. Everyone can answer with one or more talks. And the conference committees ultimately decide who will speak at the conference or not. I am part of the Herbstcampus program commitee, and for the upcoming event in September 2018, we had close to 200 talks to chose from for 40 slots only.
The CFPs often happen 6-10 Months before the conference, when the conference marketing hasn’t really started yet. Speakers have thus to know about the conference beforehand, listening to/follow the right persons or being at the right places at the right time. Thus it is not uncommon to “miss” a CFP deadline.
I personally do this curation for my colleagues. I created a list of 50/60 interesting conferences and keep adding some more. My sources are
- Lanyrd which seems to be down forever now
- CFP List which has everything and its contrary
- IT CFP List
Note: If you know any other source, please comment below, I'll add it to the list.
So I know when the previous conferences happened and I can guess when the CFP will be released. Right now, in July 2018, I am looking at the conferences happening in the first and second quarter of 2019 for instance. So I either I receive a notifications from the conferences, or I regularly check the websites of the conferences when I think their CFPs should be out. And I document the whole thing in a Trello board. where my colleagues can then create "cards" when they submitted a talk somewhere, get accepted or rejected.
After those DWX discussions, I figured:
- Other speakers would be interested by this curation as well
- I could spread the curation effort on more shoulders
- This would be a very easy task with Airtable & Zapier (5 Zaps and 12 Steps only).
Fast forward a few days, the tool is called SeeCFP, and it is alive and kicking.
Here's the homepage:
Here are the current features:
- Submit a CFP
- View existing (open) CFPs
- Search, filter and sorting functions (on non-mobile devices only, I opened a feature request)
- Weekly digest per Email with all the new CFP and all the CFPs ending in the following week
- Tweets of every new CFP added
Note: For the time being, SeeCFP is limited to EU events only. I want to create a minimum viable product before scaling too much & adding too many events. If you are not in the EU & would be interested, make sure you let me know there is demand for it: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me know what you think of SeeCFP and what I could improve it!!