How to select sessions for conference?

CzechDreamin

Organising conference is easy – you find place, attendees, speakers and sponsors and put it on one big heap. Done.

When I helped to coorganize first (and later) Sutol conferences, we found speakers amoung ourself. We realised we limit the diversity by it, but it was really hard to find speakers outside of our circle. Not a way I wanted to follow with CzechDreamin.

When the Salesforce Basecamps are organised, those partners who pay enough get slot to talk about something. Again, not a way I want to follow with CzechDreamin, as – to me – it doesn’t sound fair to partner and attendees. And I’m not alone in this thinking.

So when I started to organise CzechDreamin I knew, that we will open call for abstracts and hoped we will get enough traction to get some great speakers to submit their idea. Not many people here believed me.

Then we opened call for abstracts, got some absracts, I wrote to a few people, pretty sure others helped me to promote as well. I rather didn’t check our Salesforce till the very last day.

And then came the moment when we closed the call.

What now?

Easy, that’s what I thought.

I exported the session titles and abstracts out and the whole team marked how they like each session. 1 – 5 as in school. We did average and just after that I linked it to names.

Looks our job should be done by now, just choose those top 20 or how many fits into our schedule and we are done.

It wasn’t that easy. First of all some sessions overlap in content and it make sense to choose just one of them. But which one – the one with better points or the one with better speaker.

What about speakers who submitted more sessions and they are all great? So we prioritised with the intention of one session per speaker. Just to have the diversity.

Equality and balance

Then came the question typical in Salesforce community – what about equality? Is it important or not? After all we did a blind selection so the best won, should we take gender into account later or not? And if we have less women then men is it our fail that we didn’t reach out to so many of them? Or that we aren’t open enough? Or anything else?

Of course we also had to balance the sessions for the attendees we want. My ultimate goal at the beginning was to have some really deep dive session, as I felt from conferences I attended that the sessions don’t go deep enough. At the same time I wanted to make the conference open to beginners as well, to people who don’t want to get deep but still want to get deeper than on Salesforce organised events.

We also had to balance the topics. We got plenty of marketing sessions, development topics, basic admins and much more. 22 slots we have sudently feel not enough and I understand the whispers about YeurDreamin being multiday event next year.

I’m grateful for everyone who submitted their session, selecting those few we are able to host was one of the hardest thing I ever did. Something, I didn’t expect at the beginning.

Thank you everyone who submitted one more time. And for all of you – it is time to check the session at CzechDreamin and get your tickets.

Zajímá mě tvůj názor