GalSagie A blog about network virtualization and cloud

Submitting a Talk To OpenStack Summit

I haven’t written a post for some time now, been busy creating something very special which i hope to share about really soon. I usually write in this blog about technical things, and i will continue to do this after this post :) but i wanted to share some of the insights i gained both from being a returning speaker and track chair in the recent OpenStack summits.

I was fortunate to be a track chair in the last two OpenStack summits (And part of the team for OpenStack Israel 2016 and 2017), a task that i personally take very seriously and make sure to devote and allocate the needed time. To you who isn’t familiar what a track chair is i suggest you read this link which describe how a talk is being selected for OpenStack summit

In this post i wanted to share some of the points that i personally think are important for the potential speaker to address and pay attention to, i believe at least some of this is shared by other track chairs and other committees for other conferences and hope that these tips will help the future track chairs make better decisions.

Your Bio

It is extremely important for me to understand who you are, some of the criteria for my selection is the speaker. No matter what title you hold or what your experience is, there is absolutely no reason that your bio will consist of only one sentence.

I want to hear what is your current role, but also what you work on and how it relates to OpenStack (That’s already 2-3 sentences). If you are a contributor, or you write a blog, or you presented before, please share those details.

I tend to look up the speakers in order to find this information, but you can make this process much easier if you just supply it :)

The One Speaker Syndrome

OpenStack and i feel open source in general is a team work, it’s a community effort and i personally like to see talks with more than one speaker, preferably from different companies.

Its of course not mandatory, and not the highest criteria in this list, but if you are really presenting a topic which is interesting and which the community is working on, i suggest you devote some time and try to find a co-speaker. From my personal experience, when you work in OpenStack it’s not that hard to find this person.

Talks with diverse speakers help us track chairs identify that this is obviously a subject interesting for more than one company and let us feel safer that it’s not going to be a marketing pitch (Of course, i have been disappointed before…) and make sure we will receive few points of view on the subject.

The Topic

This is a personal preference, but to me topics should be engaging, they should trigger your interest and make you read the abstract.

Give some thought to your topic, try to make it unique and capture the essence of what you are going to present and how it might be different than all the others. You will be surprised how many recurring topics, topics which try to be an abstract (too long) or ones that are not really clear i see…

Picking a good topic is probably an art, try to devote some thinking to it.

The Abstract

The abstract should give potential audience a pretty good and accurate picture of what is going to be presented. (in summary)

Keeping a “mysterious” abstract can be appealing at times, but it makes the audience and the track chair job difficult, how can we determine if this is interesting and should be included if we don’t even understand what it is you plan to present.

If there is any information about what you are going to present, like project links, blog posts, code, previous presentations include this in the extra sections you have when submitting a talk.

Try to see if what you are presenting was presented before, it’s hard but i think everyone prefer updated and new things.

Avoid marketing pitching, that’s what the market place is for.

Fixing The World Yesterday

Abstracts that sounds and look unrealistic or are improving everything with nothing are less appealing to me. There are always exceptions, but i think it’s important to show at least some potential feasibility (now or in the future) to whatever it is you are presenting.

Too Much Inner Topics

Your time is limited, your audience might be diverse from beginners to the creators of OpenStack, you need to focus! Don’t try to cover too much, plan your time and presentation and do this before you list all these subjects you going to present in the abstract.

Filling the abstract with as many buzz words as you can is really not helping you getting selected and is really not helping us understand where you going to focus with the limited time you have.


I hope these tips will help you when you submit your next talk proposal. It’s important to note that all of these thoughts are only my own and are in no way reflecting any official statement from OpenStack or anyone else, feel free to disagree and contradict them.

The selection process holds many other criterias that i didn’t list here, in the end it’s everyone’s goal to have the most interesting and diverse agenda for the ENTIRE OpenStack community and the people who attend the summit. If you have any more suggestions or tips i would love to hear them.

Until next time…

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