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

I brought up something with organizers once (an attendee didn’t seem dangerous, just a little lecherous) and they waved it off with “oh, him–he’s a nice guy, just confused”.

A few years ago a woman was speaking at a front-end conference on a non-tech topic. Twitter was flooding with negative and sexist comments. I left the conference as the organizers did nothing about it and made no comments after the talk.

I received the gift of an umbrella once when the weather was wet - this was a great because it was a very warm country and I hadn’t planned for it!

Finding out at the last minute that my talk slot is longer (or shorter) than I’d expected is frustrating & difficult.

Web Directions gave me a super high-quality water bottle that I still use. It’s right next to me now.

So much strain on family that it causes my wife to forbid future conference talks (she softened this stance when the talk lead to paid work). Hard to quantify childcare costs when you have a spouse at home, she shoulders most of the additional burden & there’s not a dollar figure on it. If I had to pay for the childcare in cash it’s unlikely I’d ever put together an unpaid conference talk.