Organizing & Speaking at Tech Conferences

About this site

I’m Rachel Andrew - a web developer, author and frequent speaker. I presented at ConfConf - a conference for conference organizers - in May 2016. I was asked to talk about what speakers needed to help them have a great conference and be their best at the event. As I didn’t want the talk to be all about what I personally like, I opened up a survey.

The results of that survey were enlightening to me as well as for the conference organizers who heard that talk. I felt that the things people had shared deserved a wider audience than the people at that conference so the bulk of the content on this site is quotes taken from that survey. I’ve edited only to anonymize comments, and have chosen to only “name names” when the story is a positive one - giving credit where it is due.

Speakers Said

It’s the small thoughtful things, like a car waiting from the airport to the hotel - this isn’t necessary at all - but it was really lovely. The same conference took all the speakers on a day trip after the conference which was also great.

RubyConf AU 2014 offered to pick up all speakers from the airport (or from their homes if they were locals) - something we continued in future years (I was part of the 2015 team).

I don’t have a credit card. So whenever confs are “It’s cool. Just charge it and we’ll reimburse you” I have to awkwardly go to a colleague/open source friend/childhood friend/someone (I’m not close with my family) and beg them to drop $3k on their card for a while until the conf reimburses me.

It’s great when an event offers a +1 ticket for a friend, so I can give it to a friend who wouldn’t otherwise see the event.

An event didn’t tell me that they were only covering the 3 nights of the conference (though they agreed to book me 4 nights at the hotel). It was a fancy hotel, too, so I got a $350 bill on checkout.

I speak for free at community conferences, but typically require travel reimbursement and compensation for my time to participate in conferences held to promote for-profit brands.