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Speaker Issues: The Quandry of Double Submitting

This is in response to yesterday’s Twitter conversation, and subsequent blog by Eddie Wuerch, about submitting to more than one SQL event on the same date.

Doubling down? It’s just not my bag, baby…

I guess it never occurred to me that this would be such a problem: submitting to two SQL Saturdays at the same time.  I suppose I believe that, generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to submit for an event that you’re only iffy on actually attending. I made sure I had work clearance to go to London before I submitted for SQL Bits, so I’m preaching what I practice (if you can call this preaching).

This sorta rarely comes up as an issue because:

 (1) I’m reasonably choosy about where I’ll speak – not because I dislike some cities/orgs, but because I only get 1-2 out of town SQL Saturday weekends, and I like to leverage those. For example, I like speaking in Atlanta, because that gives me a chance to visit a close friend out there. (Hi Christine!) 

 (2) The events that I would pick rarely overlap. Last year I had to choose between submitting to a SQL Saturday in Colorado, or one in Kansas City (not the same, but adjacent weekends). I have good reasons to go with either, but I picked Colorado because that was the weekend my daughter could go with me.

Solution 1: Pick Another Weekend

Is it too simplistic at this point to say that double submitting shouldn’t be that big an issue for others, either?  I mean, Eddie gave the example of four SQL Saturdays on one weekend.  Couldn’t you submit to the most likely of those, and if it falls through, submit to another later in the year? 

Solution 2: Get Input

Better yet, is there anything wrong with getting a feel for the likelyhood of your being accepted?  Meaning: Just ask.  We talk to SQL Saturday coordinators all the time. Those conversations can go a little like this:

Hey, I’m Jen McCown. I’m looking at submitting to SQLSat YourCity. How are you guys looking for speakers so far?  SQLSat TheirCity is the same weekend, and I certainly wouldn’t want to submit to both, in case I’m suddenly in high demand :) .  I understand of course that you can’t promise me a spot, I’m just feeling the waters.

And while Eddie brings up a good point – Sean and I are, in fact, in a favored position because we’re experienced speakers, and MVPs to boot (and slightly famous) – I don’t think that we’re in any better position when it comes to asking than anyone else. (Just make it clear that you don’t expect a guarantee, and that you want to submit ONLY to the SQLSaturday where you’d do the most good.)

Solution 2a: Get More Input

What’s more, once a SQLSat’s call for speakers has gone on a little while, ask the organizers what kinds of session submissions they’re lacking. If you have more than one kind of session, you can be a real lifesaver to a planning committee that’s overrun with sessions of type A, and scraping the barrel for type B.

Hi again, it’s me, Jen McCown.  The speaker call for SQLSat YourCity closes next week, and I’ve been looking over the submissions list. It looks like you’re short on BI session abstracts, so I’m thinking of submitting a couple of my SSRS talks.  Would that be helpful? Are you running short in any other areas?  Again, I understand that you can’t guarantee me a spot.


Allowing or Disallowing Double Submissions

Finally, I don’t agree with the community proposal that the PASS board should programatically disallow conflicting submissions; it would certainly be useful to organizers if they received a notification, and then they can decide how they want to handle it. (I think that’s where the Twitter conversation ended up, anyway. Hooray for solidarity!)

Happy days,
Jen McCown

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