CFUnited Blog

Topic Selection Procedures

As we finalize topic selection for CFUnited 2010, we are lucky and proud to have had so many quality submissions from great speakers. Topic Selection at CFUnited is quite an exciting process, a real nail-biter! To pick and choose what topics make the cut we relied on guidance from our wise, and much appreciated Advisory Board, including our faithful Track Chairs who oversee each track. Using a sleek spreadsheet within the genius of Stellr Intranet containing all the topics submitted to the Call for Speakers, the board voted on the topics in each track.

The public was asked to assist the process. Given the same spreadsheet the board uses to vote, people put in their two cents. As results came in from the vote, Stellr was able to use them to run a double check on the advisory votes. Also, if there is a discrepancy amongst the advisory votes and the public votes, we would If a topic got few advisory votes but was getting a lot of public votes, we could start a discussion with the board possibly reexamining their choice and giving a topic a second chance. This worked the other way too, examining why topics that had a high number of advisory votes were not popular with the public vote. Thanks to all the public voting, we were provided important leverage among the community voice and the voice of community experts!

There are other things too that come in to play like feedback on surveys from last years' presentations, which is we why we encourage attendees to participate in those. We do read them and we even send them to every speaker. They love it - you should see them go all gaga! They are always so eager to hear attendee comments. Makes you think twice about skipping them, huh?

The submissions for each track are key. We strive for topic relevancy and diversity. We aim to create a balanced event with engaging presenters - true rock stars. The topic selection process at CFUnited is indeed supreme, intricate, thorough and glorious in action. For example, from last week's release of topic, Pete Freitag's "Writing Secure CFML," received highest number of public votes of all the topics and it received a high number of votes from the Advisory Board. (Yay for Pete Freitag!). Another example is our own Elliott Sprehn, known as a good, interesting and reliable speaker. We were able to look at the public votes to see which topics we would like him to speak on. He submitted 3 topics, and the two chosen had the highest amount of votes.

As topic selection slowly comes to its close in 2010, we are pleased with the results and grateful to all who contributed to this thrilling contest. We look forward to completing the selection process and making those announcements. Hip Hip Hooray for all of our bona fide presenters and tasty topics! Woot woot for CFUnited!

CFUnited 2010 big news!

Hello CFUnited alumni and fans! It's Fall and the leaves aren't the only thing changing this season. Big news everyone, drum roll please... Liz Frederick is joining the Developer Relations team at Adobe to become a Community Manager! APPLAUSE! Liz has helped to build CFUnited into the premiere ColdFusion conference for over the last 8 years and has done an amazing job as manager and director of CFUnited, putting place practices and procedures that have made for an excellent ColdFusion community event each year.

As Liz is joining Adobe she will be missed at the office but we will retain her guidance through the detailed procedures she leaves behind. She will also continue to be an integral part of CFUnited conferences as a member of the Advisory Board, offering guidance to the Stellr team whenever needed. The Stellr team, including myself, Elliott Sprehn, and Cara Beverage, volunteers and its newest list of advisers (Charlie Arehart , Raymond Camden, Sean Corfield, Shlomy Gantz, Adam Lehman, Liz Frederick, Chaz Chumley, Bob Flynn, Simon Free, Brian Kotek, Andy Powell, Dan Wilson, Todd Sharp, Scott Stroz, and Mark Drew) are committed to put together an amazing CFUnited event in 2010. Registration is open for business, were running an incredible deal of $499 for a 3 day package, from now until September 25th! Things went great this year and it's totally gone to our heads! I guess we're just feeling really generous, take advantage and get the BEST DEAL EVER, so far.

Please, feel free to contact any of us if you have any questions or concerns. Remember, Adobe MAX is right around the corner, Cara and I can't wait to see you there!

Call for Women Speakers

Hello Ladies!

A recent conversation has been sparked by Raymond Camden with someone who recently asked why conferences can't find that many women speakers. I think lots of conferences would like to see more women participate as a speaker.

See blog entry here:

CFUnited has seen increased numbers in women attending over the years and I think it adds a nice balance to the event overall. However, we don't see that many women submitting topics in the call for speakers.

Because of this recent discussion I have decided to open the call for speakers again for women only. I've open up 5 more topic slots starting today. Submit on the call for speakers until March 20th. I'll post all the choices in a survey on March 23rd and let the community vote again for two weeks. And to further my support I'm going to submit a topic as well.

I'm glad to announce that Selene Bainum will be added as a speaker soon to a Database Track. And of course Dee Sadler is currently accepted as a speaker.

Thanks Ladies and I'm excited to see ideas for new topics.

Note: I will post on this blog what topics have been submitted from women already so that they get a chance too. And as they come in, I'll try to update this entry as well in the comments section.

Other half of Topics for 2009 Process

I wanted to clarify the process for announcing the rest of the CFUnited 2009 topics.

A total of 100 topics will be accepted for CFUnited.

We have announced about half of the topics last week.

We have a list of topics and new speakers that are potentially going to be accepted. We will announce about 5 or 6 per month. Speakers will be notified of their potential status and informed early enough of their acceptance.

Included in those 50 or so topics are CF, Centaur, Bolt, Flex, Air, Manager, Beginner, Advanced, etc. So it is still anyone's gain.

We are doing this so that we have a good number of topics that are new. The Advisory Board has made it very clear to me that they want to make sure we have the right variety and a good mix of speakers.

As for the Centaur/Bolt Topics there has been some adjustments lately. The exclusivity will be held only to a handful of certain topics that are assigned or approved from Adobe. The possibility that other events will be talking about Centaur/Bolt now is welcome based on guidelines from their organizer which I am not aware of at this time. But I do know that some events are looking at potential Centaur topics and are pleased that the exclusivity is lifted.

I am really pleased with the feedback from the Adv Board and the community. Blog comments and Twitter discussions have proven to be valuable to us.

Please add 'lizign' and 'cfunited' on your twitter follow. I'll ask questions from time to time and I'd love to follow you as well.

Happy New Year everyone. Please continue feedback and thanks for those who registered early. I'll have to think of a treat to send everyone. It is really helping us afford the venue deposit due soon and start off the new year right.


CFUNITED Advisory Board

Here is the list of people we've chosen to represent the cf community for CFUNITED. They will help us with topics, schedule, speakers, special events, and more.

Thanks for your help and support!

Michael Smith
Michael Dinowitz
Simon Horwith
Adam Wayne Lehman
Raymond Camden
Sean Corfield
Charlie Arehart
Nate Nelson

We will be adding two more members soon. Let your representatives of the community know what you want from CFUnited's talks.