In April, 2011, I received one morning an email from Simon Ritter one of Sun Microsystems long standing Java Evangelists and now Oracle. The message was an invitation to be a part of Java SE, Client Side Technologies, and Rich User Experiences track. The track included all JavaFX sessions submitted along with any other UI related sessions. Simon had invited me to be track reviewer for JavaOne 2011. Of course, with hesitation, I said yes!
I submitted myself a couple of papers to JavaOne 2011 in a track that was fiercely competitive. I will be speaking on JavaFX 2.0. There is a lot to be said of the talented people who made it through to the end. I was a little bit surprised by a small number of proposals that were not relevant to Java platform. If you want some advice on submitting a J1 proposal then here is mine:
First rule: Know Your Audience; Do aim for Java relevant content when the organiser and reviewing committee explicitly say they are looking for it. Your proposal has to exploit features of the Java platform, probably in new unexpected and innovative ways.
Second rule: Promise Really Good Know-How and Transferable Content; write a decent abstract that rather aptly declares that you are going to serve the audience. Make sure that the proposal is sufficiently detailed. Remember that first impressions last, therefore check your English for any grammatical errors, hyperbole and nonsensical arguments.
Third rule: Provide Capable Evidence; Much of JavaOne presentation comes from a reputation. Respect is earned from previous behaviours. JavaOne should really not be your very first public speaking situation?! Your reputational risk is usually up against big-draws, including the rockstar developers, who keep coming back every year for another session or two. If you have in the past spoken well at other Java conference then it helps the reviewer make a decision about you.
Whilst there are places for brand new unknown speakers, these opportunities tends to be usually very far and between, so if this is your first public speaking situation then you must already better than very good. In fact, I was would expect you to be amazing. My advice is to attempt to hone your speaking skills at a much smaller scale conference. Here is an analogy, learn to play to crowd as a singer/musician at The Jazz Cafe, before you take on the stadium rock of the Tokyo Dome.
The audience is usually large for a popular technical session, and for the most popular talks there are people queuing up outside to get in that room. You can find yourself standing in-front of a 200 – 300 audience member set, easily. Some JavaOne attendees travel long distances to get to San Francisco, from London, United Kingdom; from Brisbane, Australia, Sao Paulo in Brazil; Brizzabane, Congo, St. Petersburg in Eastern Europe and Seoul, South Korea to hear what is new and great about the Java platform. They are the ambassadors for their respective countries, territories and native language locales. As well as people from North America these are the people who are need to be impressed by your proposal, your talk.
Above all, JavaOne is about investment education, finding out what, where, and who are the things that I as a developer, designer or architect should spent my next 365 days studying for, learning about or interacting with.
If your topic is too narrow as a subject matter then, we, as program reviewers, working in the committee team, we have to think why is it so niché? So broad a category, then we have to think your proposal may not possibly cover all of what you promise. I do say promise, with conviction, because at JavaOne you have to perform in order to be a success. It is all about performance and delivery.
I will be seeing you at JavaOne 2011 from 2nd – 6th October. I agree with Oracle it is time to move Java platform along. Thank you Oracle for taking the initiative.
PS: Thanks to the track reviewers in our team including Jim Clarke, Stephen Chin, Dean R Iverson, Simon Ritter, Jim Weaver and Geertjan Wielenga.