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

Best ever conf as a speaker was ‘notconf’ , a side conf for jsconf that was as well run as jsconf itself. Beautiful venue, great audio, a demo hall, snacks, a band, a proper mc. I generally like confs with social events days. Love meeting other people, especially when I’ve travelled long to be there.

I hate draconian speaker contracts that make me personally liable if i can’t attend; I can’t sign a contract that binds my employer, and why would i risk my house when I get no personal benefit from speaking (because i don’t accept speaker fees; it’s my salaried job).

Endpoint conf organizers paid for an extra night at the hotel as they didn’t have to pay the full price for my flight (I managed to an existing route). They also let my brother (who joined me) join the speakers dinner and gave him a ticket to the conference and breakfast at the hotel!

I was part of a lineup which included only one woman speaker. Raised it to organiser who was surprised it was even an issue.

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.

2 days of conference cost me the PTO that it takes 7 weeks to save up.