For several years now, I've replied to CFPs from OSCON, submitting different open source topics. Unfortunately, year after year I receive the same boiler-plate reply:
The response to our Call for Proposals was overwhelming this year. We received over X proposals, a record number for us and far more than we can possibly accommodate in the program.
We had intense competition for speaking slots, and we unfortunately have to turn away many strong proposals. We take this as an exciting signal of the demand for OSCON, but it also means we had some hard decisions to make in putting together the program.
We're still working out a few loose ends in the program, but unfortunately this proposal was not selected for inclusion.
I have tried finding the criteria for selection, but I'm at a loss:
- Quality of the proposal: I always posted an original proposal for OSCON. After it was refused, I reused the proposal for other events, such as Tech Startup Days, Java One, Devoxx,... More often than not the same proposal was accepted at that other event.
- Seasoned speaker: I am a mentor at the Founder Institute (about IP and Legal). I presented talks at Java One, Devoxx, T-DOSE, Startups.be, PDF Days, PDF Technical Conference,... I know how to entertain an audience.
- Open Source Champion: I am the original developer of iText, a successful open source PDF library. I accrued 29K+ reputation points on StackOverflow.
- Expert: I wrote two books for Manning publications. I am a member of the ISO committees for PDF. I've won Deloitte's Fast 50 competition in Belgium (ranking 28th place in the EMEA region),...
- Experience: I wrote my first open source library in 1998. I founded 5 companies, 4 of which still exist. I succeeded in creating a profitable open source business.
Granted: this list doesn't exactly sound modest, but I'd expect that all of these "achievements" are relevant in the context of choosing a speaker. Would I have a better chance at being selected for a talk at OSCON if I submitted a talk anonymously?
Being a speaker at OSCON is one of those items that I just don't succeed in checking off from my bucket list.