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Community News:
"Are Conference Talks Getting Too Soft?" (Adam Culp & Cal Evans)
March 03, 2015 @ 11:57:42

There's an interesting set of posts from PHP community members Adam Culp and Cal Evans each on a similar subject centering around conferences and the presentations made at them. They both wonder if talks are getting too "soft" and not focusing as much on the technology and getting in-depth as they should be. From Cal:

PHP conferences are changing very slowly, and not in a way that I like. I blame myself. As a frequent speaker I am getting lazy. I get caught up in the excitement of the CfP, I write up 5-10 abstracts and shotgun them into the CfP system hoping that something hits the mark. I've not actually written these talks. In most cases, I'm pretty sure I can get 45 minutes on the topic, but I don't know for sure because I've not bothered to write it yet. Adam Culp talks about this very thing in his post "Are Conference Talks Getting Too Soft?".

Adam points out that, while introductory talks and overviews are acceptable level coverage for someone new to the speaking scene (or development), the trend seems to be that everyone is providing less "meat" in their talks.

It is hard to teach a great amount in a 1 hour talk, but if there is not some immediately usable content an attendee will have a tough time proving to their short sighted boss that it was worth their time.

Both Adam and Cal set out a challenge, both to themselves and other speakers in the community. They encourage you to spend more time with your subjects, get in-depth into the topics, present on what you're excited about and maybe even try them out locally first.

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conference talk soft indepth opinion topic adamculp calevans

Link: http://www.geekyboy.com/archives/1076

Matthew Setter:
The Path To The First PHP Conference Talk
February 24, 2015 @ 12:08:10

Matthew Setter was encouraged by some recent conversations and conference sessions about getting out into the PHP community and taking up presenting at conferences. In his latest post he talks about some of these conversations and his ideas moving forward.

[The PHP UK Conference 2015] was an especially meaningful conference for me, as the opening keynote, by @coderabbi, moved me to take more action, more serious, dedicated, and focused action than I've taken to date. [...] I sat there thinking "WOW, I'm really a part of the community". I also started thinking I want to contribute more, and build a profile just as big as his, and many of the others at the conference. So what to do?

He talks about the encouragement from others he's gotten to get up and present at a conference and the feedback he's gotten on his (unfortunately so far) rejected submissions. He's renewing his effort, though and has plans to document his progress via a "pseudo-journal" during his journey to hopefully serve as a guide to others wanting to share their knowledge with the community. He talks some about his plan moving forward and the work he's doing on the public speaking side to improve his skills.

While not for everyone, speaking at conferences is a great way to share experience, information and start conversations about new technology. If you've ever thought about making the move, follow Matthew's journey or check out these other articles to help you get started.

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first conference talk public speaking phpuk15 community

Link: http://www.matthewsetter.com/path-first-php-conference-talk/

Beth Tucker Long:
How to Submit a Talk to a Conference
October 29, 2014 @ 09:21:00

If you've ever considered taking the leap and trying your hand at speaking at (technology) conferences but weren't sure where to start Beth Tucker Long, well known PHP community member and speaker, has posted a guide to help you submit a talk to your conference of choice.

I've been on both sides of the proverbial conference table. I have been the one submitting proposals, hoping against hope that they will pick mine, and I have been on the selection committee, struggling to choose between hundreds of awesome proposals when you only have a few talk slots available. Through these varied experiences, I've learned a few things about what works and what doesn't when submitting a conference proposal.

She provides a "checklist" of sixteen things that she's learned over the years about submitting ideas to events and what to do/not do when giving the actual presentation including:

  • First and foremost, remember to hit spell-check
  • Don't talk about yourself in your talk description
  • Explain the practical applications of your topic
  • Share past feedback in the comments or notes section
  • Submit a lot of proposals
  • Don't submit multiple topic ideas or variable time lengths in one submission

The final three on her list have more to do with the presentation itself than the proposal and, in my opinion, are almost more important: don't talk down to your audience, be brief and be interesting.

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conference talk submission tips top16 list submit

Link: http://www.alittleofboth.com/2014/01/how-to-submit-a-talk-to-a-conference/

Mastering Zend Framework:
Gary Hockin's Maximising Zend Framework 2 Performance Talk (Review)
February 28, 2014 @ 10:33:30

From the Master Zend Framework blog there's a new post reviewing a talk from this year's PHPUK (2014) from Gary Hockin, "Maximising Zend Framework 2 Performance".

Whether you're new to Zend Framework 2, or an old hand (can someone really say they're an old hand after such a short period of time?) the talk covered a range of tools, tips, and techniques for increasing application performance. This wasn't an academic run through; it was a talk based on practical, hands-on, experience from Gary's time as a core ZF2 contributor, and his work at Roave, Yamgo and AdSpruce.

The post talks some about the tools Gary used to benchmark his improvements and some common metrics to be aware of in your own results. Xdebug and Xhprof were also recommended for more introspection into what the application is doing and where the bottlenecks lie.

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phpuk14 zendframework performance tools talk session

Link: http://www.masterzendframework.com/reviews/maximising-zend-framework-2-performance-phpuk14

Matt Frost:
Getting Talks Selected
January 27, 2014 @ 09:04:23

If you're considering getting into the world of speaking at an upcoming PHP conference, Matt Frost has some advice for you to help you get started. It can be intimidating, so learn from some of his own experiences as a relatively new speaker in the community.

It's a very busy conference season in and around the PHP Community. [...] These conferences are such a blessing to those who are able to attend, the speakers know their stuff and are very open to sharing and talking outside of their sessions. But you're a smart cookie too! You've got ideas and thoughts and knowledge that other people would like to have, so how do you get in on this? I'm going to tell you how I got into it, your mileage may vary, but hopefully it helps.

He points out that submitting a talk and getting accepted is "a lot like the lotto" sometimes, that you can't win unless you buy a ticket (submit that talk). He looks at a few of the other common questions from beginning speakers - what do I talk about, how do I write an abstract and common first time speaking concerns.

There's no magical elixir that will land you speaking gigs at cool conferences. Everyone that speaks, from the seasoned pro to the up and comer, has worked extremely hard to not only put the talks together; but acquire all the knowledge necessary to give the talk in the first place
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talk session technical conference advice beginner speaker

Link: http://shortwhitebaldguy.com/blog/2014/01/getting-talks-selected

Beth Tucker Long:
How to Submit a Talk to a Conference
January 03, 2014 @ 09:03:25

If you've ever thought about submitting a topic to speak at a technology conference, but never quite knew how to take those first steps, check out this advice from Beth Tucker Long. It's a list of steps and reminders to follow when thinking about your topics and submitting.

I've been on both sides of the proverbial conference table. I have been the one submitting proposals, hoping against hope that they will pick mine, and I have been on the selection committee, struggling to choose between hundreds of awesome proposals when you only have a few talk slots available. Through these varied experiences, I've learned a few things about what works and what doesn't when submitting a conference proposal.

Her list includes things like:

  • First and foremost, remember to hit spell-check
  • Have someone else read your submission
  • Identify a clear problem that the topic of your talk will help solve
  • Be honest about your topic
  • Share past feedback in the comments or notes section
  • Submit a lot of proposals
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submit talk session technology conference suggestions

Link: http://www.alittleofboth.com/2014/01/how-to-submit-a-talk-to-a-conference

Reddit.com:
What are the must see talks/tutorials about php?
December 11, 2013 @ 12:47:36

On Reddit.com a conversation has started about some of the "must see" talks or tutorials that are out there for PHP. It starts with a suggestion of this talk about Symfony2 and includes other suggestions of:

If you have a talk or tutorial you think is a good resource for any level of PHP developer, head over and add it to the list!

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mustsee talk tutorial suggestion video phptherightway

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/1shr8o/what_are_the_must_see_talkstutorials_about_php/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Talk PHP with the Experts The Transcript
October 16, 2013 @ 10:43:07

SitePoint had another "Talk with the Experts" session with two of their own developers, Jude Aakjaer and Michael Sauter. They've posted the full transcript of the session to their PHP blog today. It was a Q&A session between them and the attendees.

Topics discussed included:

  • What beginners should know about PHP
  • Most used frameworks
  • Using WordPress
  • Tools/IDEs the two developers like
  • Packagist/Composer
  • Using 3rd party libraries
  • Naming conventions and namespacing

You can read the full discussion here.

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experts talk transcript questions answers chat

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/talk-php-expertsthe-transcript/

Ben Ramsey:
Writing an Effective Talk Proposal
December 03, 2012 @ 10:25:32

if you've ever considered contributing to a PHP (or any other technology conference) but weren't sure about how to even get started writing up a proposal for a session, you should check out this recent post from Ben Ramsey with a good guide (and some advice experienced speakers could use too).

Earlier today, I was asked "Any tips on how to write a proposal for a major conf?" I've never shared tips on this, and since the calls for proposals for Sunshine PHP and Midwest PHP both end tomorrow, I thought it would be a good idea to share my approach to writing conference proposals. Remember those standard, five-paragraph essays you used to write in high school? Remember how you thought they sucked and wouldn't provide any practical benefit to your life? Well, it turns out they do have some redeeming qualities.

He suggests that this "five paragraph essay" format helps you not only come up with a more fleshed out, full idea but also can provide you with the abstract to submit to the conference (possibly the first paragraph). He mentions the need for a "hook" and finishing off with an opinion that's the basis of the talk. He also has a reminder of a few things - don't talk down, don't use negative language and try not to use absolutes.

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talk proposal conference suggestion opinion session


Reddit.com:
Suggestions for a University Talk Covering a PHP Introduction
August 30, 2012 @ 12:09:04

In this new post to Reddit, the author asks the community for suggestions for a talk they're giving at a university to cover the PHP language and some of its major features.

I've been asked to give a 1.5-hour talk to university students about PHP. What helpful information should I not miss to impart? Little help please. I plan to name the talk "Why PHP?" to give an introduction of the language and give reasons why it's a good/bad career path. I'm also asked to show a short demo and show some past projects. [...] What would be really helpful facts, tips, etc that I can impart to the students?

Suggestions in the comments include:

  • PHP performance
  • The accessibility of the language
  • Popular sites that currently use it
  • The wide community
  • Corporate usage

Have any other thoughts? Share them here!

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university talk introduction reddit suggestions



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