I have been speaking at conferences since yearly 2006. My first major 100+ crowd was during the Houston .NET Meetup Group, where I talked about LINQ to SQL technology. After that I have spoken at many different conferences including Houston Tech Fest, Houston iPhone Meetup, IndieDevStock, 360iDev, NSCoderMexico, ALTConf 2017, 360iDevMin etc.
Having spent a decade in Microsoft community, one thing I immediately noticed about iOS conferences was the lack of diversity in speakers. It looked like all the conferences had pretty much the same set of speakers (male and female). If there was a upcoming conference you could guess with 100% confidence who would be speaking based on who spoke at another recent conference.
During 360iDevMin I had a chat with Craig Clayton who also experienced the same issue. We even questioned the whole point of open Call for Papers approach, when organizers have already picked their speakers behind the closed doors and the call for papers was no different than the theater of security we experience at the airports.
I think the audience can take only a so much amount of the same speaker. Even pizza start tasting bad when served every day.
Another thing I learned from the Microsoft community is that even though they have sessions but they also have other activities like Fish Bowl type discussions. Fish Bowl approach is a great way to get a conversation going between attendees and get them engaged.
Having said that I still have hope and I still apply to a lot of iOS conferences. Most of the time I get rejected only to see the same set of predicted speakers selected. But maybe one day I will fell through the cracks and break the norm.
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