We need your help to pick what speakers and talks you want to hear at Dev Days 2011! We're looking for 3-4 people (for each city) to join our Curriculum Committees - this group will be responsible for selecting the topics being covered and the speakers giving those talks.

This role has a lot of responsibility (since you'll be picking all the content for Dev Days). Ideal members should be heavily involved in the SO community, know the topics that people will find interesting, and have the time over the next month to put in at least 5 hours a week discussing options with your fellow committee members. Also, please only nominate yourself for the committee in the city that you are planning on attending Dev Days.

So, if you're interested in joining the curriculum committee, please submit your name as an answer below, along with a couple of sentences about why you'll be a strong addition to the team. You can also vote up people who you think would be good (the top 4 vote-getters aren't guaranteed to be the ones we select, but it will certainly weigh heavily in our decision).

Look forward to seeing you all at Dev Days 2011!

  • 10
    I want to hear about Lasers. From Welbog. He could expand on this recent publication of his.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:22
  • 2
    @Pekka: F**k yeah you do! Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:25
  • 3
    Pay my way to Washington and I'll do it.
    – Welbog
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:40
  • 3
    That's... actually a tempting offer, even if just for the video. @vam
    – mmyers
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:45
  • 1
    "put in at least 5 hours a week" that seems excessive - do you really think 3-4 people can spend 5 hours per week discussing topics and speakers?
    – Portman
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 18:53
  • @Mrs Yem, while I think I could probably come up with an hour-long talk on lasers with some planning, I don't think I could do so in such a way that does not involve at least five segments of 180 consecutive seconds of swearing.
    – Welbog
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 19:01
  • 2
    In my experience, finding one speaker can involve a few hours of searching, and interviewing three potential speakers for about 30 minutes to an hour each. Let's say 5 hours per talk. If we have about 10 slots that's 50 hours of search work. Divide it up among a team of 3, that's 17 hours each. Allow for 3 hours of team coordination and discussion, that's about 20 hours. Over four weeks, that's about 5 hours a week. If you already know great speakers, it'll be easier :-) Commented May 3, 2011 at 19:01
  • @Vampire your point being?
    – Pekka
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 19:07
  • 7
    I'd like to volunteer to speak. The subject of my talk will be about my burning hatred of Android developers and their incredibly awful questions.
    – user1228
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 19:09
  • 3
    @Will oh boy! I want a spot too, talking about the PHP tag. In the style of Krusty the Klown.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 19:17
  • @Pekka: My point being that there's no way I'd be able to sneak by any kind of screening process.
    – Welbog
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 19:19
  • @Vampire we'll sneak you in on an innocuous topic like HTML 5 or iPad programming or something, only to change it in the last minute. There'll be a way.
    – Pekka
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 19:24
  • 3
    For the last DevDays, I spent a lot of time talking to speakers and watching videos of talks they had done, just to ensure a (medium) quality of speaker. When you are dealing with known quantities, it's trivial. Jon Skeet and Scott Hanselman? You can't go wrong. But when you really want to find someone great to speak from experience about something relatively rare like node.js, you will find yourself spending a lot of time watching videos from past conferences to try to figure out who is going to be a good speaker... and then emailing them to persuade them to come, etc. etc. Commented May 4, 2011 at 2:08
  • 2
    @will I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. Commented May 4, 2011 at 7:22
  • 3
    @joel @jeff "A committee is the only known form of life with a hundred bellies and no brain." -- Robert Heinlein. Perhaps taking the top ten (or whatever) topics and making meta questions for speaker nominations would do the trick. You two can still choose (the 'answer' is the chosen speaker) as a quality-control measure. That way you get the wisdom and free research of the community, and the poor committee members don't have to spend time researching and debating a hundred potential speakers on their own. Just a thought. Commented May 11, 2011 at 7:59

4 Answers 4


Portman Wills -- Homepage | Twitter | StackOverflow | HackerNews

I would be good for the cirriculum committee because I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.

Suggested speakers, off the top of my head: Eddie Frederick, Ryan McGeary, Stephanie Hay.

Hidden agenda: I would favor speakers who are outstanding presenters over those with the most impressive technical accomplishments. It's okay to laugh during a tech talk. Really!

  • Washing D.C. you might want to clarify. :)
    – Trufa
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 4:09
  • +1 just for your family photo. :)
    – studiohack
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 16:33
  • (Incredibly late, I know.) Some great ideas. I'll +1 you being on committee and will throw my own name into the ring. Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 7:32
  • @CaseySoftware Keith, are you self-nominating for a speaker or for a committee member? Speaker submissions are up already here: devdays.stackoverflow.com/…
    – Portman
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 16:18
  • I'd love to lend a hand wherever I can. Commented Jul 2, 2011 at 21:55

I would love to help. I'll come right out and admit that I'm not as tied into the technical community as many other SO users are, but what I lack in "geek street cred" I hope to make up for in enthusiasm.

Here's my philosophy: attending a conference should be about the experience and getting opportunities you couldn't get elsewhere. If selected, I plan to evaluate potential speakers on stage presence and the amount of value audience members would get from listening to them compared to the value they'd get from skipping the conference and learning on their own.

Hidden agenda: Joel says "We’ll take care of the ... committee members expenses"; this is the only way I'll be able to attend. And, being a relative newcomer, I'll probably learn much more from this experience than I contribute to it.

  • 2
    Honestly, I'm surprised that this thread didn't see an explosive response in its first hour. I expected that our problem would be having too many good candidates from which to choose, not insufficient interest. But I will gladly step aside if more qualified candidates present themselves.
    – Pops
    Commented May 4, 2011 at 18:28
  • 1
    I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I know that I can't spare the time to do a quality job - hell, I haven't had the time to really actively participate in SO/SE.* like I want to. I'm just short of being at the right point to give a talk on burnout.
    – AnonJr
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 0:25
  • I have been valiantly struggling to find a topic I could talk on, but I'm not sure there's a need for a speaker on Classic ASP, being a one-man show, helping the last industry to migrate from paper to digital (healthcare), the challenges of online education, or any of the other things I'm "expert" at. :p
    – AnonJr
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 0:29
  • 1
    This year's speakers were chosen by popular demand. Sounds just like it should be!
    – Pekka
    Commented May 9, 2011 at 12:37

Well, I'm a little late to the party, but I'd love to help. I'm co-founder of Element 84, a local DC services startup. I'm a project manager, not a programmer, but obviously we deal a lot with development technologies, especially iOS and Rails.

I'm also the co-author of Head First iPhone and iPad Development, coming out in June from O'Reilly, and active in Women in Technology here in DC.

I can also offer a lot of logistical support - I've lived in DC for over 10 years, and attended DevDays 2009.

Let me know if I can help!



Heck, if no one else is interested in being on the committee I definitely am!

I'm a developer down in the trenches who knows a little about the top 3 technologies on the devdays topic list, but wants to know a lot more. I'm also (obviously) not huge in the community, but I very much like judging people :D. I'm also a part of a consensus-based selection committee for an international school, so I have experience with that. I also have the time to put into this.

Did I mention I'm local to DC, and will only need reimbursement/expenses for food and such? And also know of good places to eat that wont break the bank?

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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