MySQL Conference & Expo Call for Papers - tips on submitting a great proposal

It's the time of the year again: You have 2 more weeks to submit a great proposal to the biggest and baddest MySQL Conference: Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo 2013 (Santa Clara). Like many things in the MySQL community, this conference has also gone through a transformation over the past 3 years. But last year the growing pains and uncertainty ended with Percona putting up a great show. Attendance was up again (over 1000) and there was a sense of energy and excitement for the future of MySQL. If you are like me and like to dwell in nostalgia (so that you can get into the right mood for submitting great proposals) my coverage of last year's conference is found here: part 1, part 2. (If you don't care about the nostalgia, remember that speakers get into the conference for free!)

Over the years many blog posts have been written about how to submit a great proposal for the MySQL Conference. By myself, Giuseppe, Baron, Shlomi, just to name a few.

All of that advice is still valid today. But let me instead share some inside information...

I'm on the conference committee again this year, so I can see the incoming talks. Most of the usual suspects have already submitted great proposals. By the end of the Call for Papers there will be over 200 proposals (it's very close already), most of which could be good or very good conference talks. And we will be able to select less than a hundred. It is thanks to this competitiveness why we get such a great conference every year: because we had so many great talks to choose from.

But don't let this discourage you! I'm here to tell you what you need to do to get accepted. You will see it's really easy!

This year, there are 2 obvious ways to be almost sure your well written proposal (see the links above) will be accepted.

End user experiences

As in years before, various vendors of MySQL variants, addon products, support and consulting have submitted talks on the state of the art of their respective solutions. But there is one thing that always trumps a vendor talk: the end user talk. Did you successfully deploy Tungsten or Galera replication across 3 Amazon datacenters? If so, I have good news: Most members of the committee will prefer your talk over those rock stars that developed and sell the product. (Think about it, you can easily be a preferred speaker over Ronald Bradford and Giuseppe Maxia, how about that?)

Did you evaluate 5 monitoring tools and figured out which is the best one? Did you use chef and puppet to devops your MySQL? These may seem like boring routine tasks for you, but this is what great conference talks are made of.

MySQL 5.6

This is a unique opportunity that has never happened before. It's your instant speedway to become speaker at the biggest MySQL Conference in the world: Speak about MySQL 5.6. Why?

MySQL 5.6 has tons and tons of great new features. Possibly more than MySQL 5.0 to 5.5 had combined. Just for fun, let me see how many I can remember without looking them up: Performance Schema, Performance (ie talk with benchmarks), Online DDL, Changed defaults and new default config file, Ability to put table partitions on different disks, Replication stuff, A new mysqlfailover utility, Usable GIS functions, Authentication plugins and the .mylogin.cnf file, Audit plugin, MySQL Workbench stuff...

A conference like this should cover most of the MySQL 5.6 awesomeness. To make it even easier for you, Oracle engineers who created the product will (probably) not be speaking. So there's like at least 15 speaker slots just waiting for their takers. Let me help you be one of them.

Now, unless your name is Tomas Ulin, Peter Zaitsev or Giuseppe Maxia, you probably don't have what it takes to propose the "What's new in MySQL 5.6" talk. You need to be smart: Pick one new feature in MySQL 5.6 and propose a talk on just that one feature.

Find out about MySQL 5.6 features such as by RTFM or from this MySQL DevZone article. To win, you just have to pick one topic, and write an abstract that looks like you know what you are talking about. Then you have 6 months to actually know what you are talking about.

Becoming a speaker at the MySQL Conference has never been this easy. We will be waiting for your awesome submission!

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