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Current 2022: How to Become a Speaker

At this year’s Kafka Summit London we announced Current 2022: The Next Generation of Kafka Summit. This is a technical conference for everything data in motion. Current 2022 will take place October 4-5 in Austin, Texas.

The Call for Papers is open until June 26th. Now is your opportunity to become involved in this inaugural event!

Current 2022

“What happened to Kafka Summit?” I may well hear you ask. Well, the good news is that Kafka Summit is not going away! Kafka Summit will continue to thrive as part of Current.

You’ll find all the usual stuff you’ve seen at Kafka Summit: event-driven design, streaming technology, real-time systems, etc. But Current takes Kafka Summit to the next level, covering all technologies that connect applications with data, process it in different ways, and monitor, govern, or orchestrate data flows at company scale. Talks will range from introductory to deep dive, and cover everything a developer, architect, or operator might need to succeed in this new world of data in motion.

Any conference is only as good as the content, so now is the time to consider submitting an abstract. Speaking at Current 2022 is a great way to connect with hundreds of your peers, become more involved in the data streaming community, and have a public platform for you to share your story of the future of streaming and real-time data.

Calling *all* speakers!

We welcome every speaker, experienced or not. One of the things we’d like to do for Current is to feature speakers who represent the diversity in our community and beyond. We want the conference speaking regulars—but we also want the people who have never spoken before. Maybe you work as an engineer or a consultant and have a great story to tell about data in motion. Perhaps you’re a technical program manager or an architect and want to share the success you’ve had in the field. Here is your opportunity!

Why should I submit a talk?

For yourself. Speaking is a great way to learn more about a topic since you have to properly understand it in order to explain it to others. It’s a good way to improve your communication skills—important regardless of job function. And it’s a good way to raise your public profile and establish your credibility in a field of expertise.

For the community. A conference is made by the quality of its content. You can have as much awful coffee and lame swag from the exhibitors’ hall, but if you hear engaging and inspirational talks, you will still come away buzzing from the event.

I’d like to speak at Current! How does the submission process work?

That’s awesome that you’d like to speak! 🙌

First off, decide if you want to present a lightning talk (10 minutes, no Q&A) or a breakout session (45 minutes, including Q&A).

Then you need to prepare a title and abstract for your talk and submit it to the Call for Papers by June 26th. You don’t need to have written the talk itself at this stage.

You’ll be notified by the end of July whether your talk was accepted. If it is, then hurrah! You now need to write and rehearse your talk, ready for its prime-time debut at Current in October in Austin.

I really would like to speak at Current. What tips can you give me?

Speaking at a conference hinges entirely on the strength of the abstract you submit. You have approximately three short paragraphs to make the reader feel like they’ll learn something interesting if they come and hear you speak. So plan to spend a good chunk of time thinking the abstract through, writing it, and polishing it. Those ~200 words are your conference ticket.

This blog post explains in-depth some of the things you can do to improve your chances of being accepted to speak. There’s also this video that gives a good overview of what you need to have in mind when you write your abstract.

Does it matter if I’ve not spoken before?

No. We would love to see more new speakers, and we can support you every step of the way, including as follows:

  • We can help you with your abstract, either at the public Speaker Office Hours (see below), or if, as a new speaker, you would rather work directly with someone on your abstract, you can email new-speakers@currentevent.io and we will put you in touch with a mentor.
  • If your talk is accepted and you would like support in preparing it, we can pair you with an experienced speaker who can work with you on it as part of the mentor program.
  • One of the secrets to a great talk is practice, practice, and then some more practice. We can help arrange for you to speak at a meetup before Current. This will give you valuable speaking experience in front of a real audience and a chance to try your talk out.

Current 2022 Speaker Office Hours

We will be running two Speaker Office Hours sessions to help you with your abstract(s) for Current. Office Hours is staffed by members of the ​​program committee, giving you direct access to some of the people who will be partly responsible for choosing the program.

If you have your abstract written you can get feedback on it, giving you a valuable opportunity to hone it to perfection before submitting it. We can’t write your abstract for you, but we can cast a practised eye over it and make suggestions for what looks great and what perhaps might not quite fly.

You can also bounce ideas for talks that you may have off those there. Oftentimes a great talk is just submitted for the wrong conference—take advantage of this opportunity to understand directly from a subset of the program committee if your idea resonates with them or not.

Office Hours are held on the Confluent Community Slack group on the #current-2022-office-hours channel. The dates for Office Hours for Current 2022 are as follows:

If you are a new speaker and you would rather work directly with someone on your abstract, please email new-speakers@currentevent.io and we will put you in touch with a mentor.

How many talks can I submit?

Each speaker can submit up to three talks.

Can I have a co-speaker?

Yes! Each talk can have up to two speakers.

How are talks chosen for Current 2022?

Talks will be chosen by a program committee made up of around 25 people. Members of the committee are from across the community. The committee is chaired by Robin Moffatt.

The program committee will review abstracts and score them. Those scores are then used to evaluate the talks and plan an interesting and excellent agenda for the conference.

How do I submit a talk?

Go to the Call for Speakers submission page and submit your talk before the closing date (26th June 2022).

What should I talk about?

tl;dr:

  • ✅ DO speak about something that interests you
  • ✅ DO share stories that are useful and will benefit others
  • ✅ DO consider introductory content—a lot of attendees are new to the event streaming space, and there are never enough of these talks submitted
  • 🛑 DON’T submit a product pitch
  • 🛑 DON’T just try and shill your company
  • 🛑 DON’T trash talk other technologies or companies

Talks should be informative, interesting, educational, and thought-provoking. If you’re talking about a product, don’t just pitch it. Come along with a talk that explains the problem it solves and the benefit it will bring. Leave the sales folk at home and bring your technical people instead. 😉

Talk topics

We’re looking for talks about all aspects of event-driven design, streaming technology, and real-time systems. Think about Apache Kafka® and similar technologies, and work outwards from there. Whether it’s a data engineering talk with real-time data, software engineering with message brokers, or event-driven architectures—if there’s data in motion, then it’s going to be relevant.

The talk tracks are as follows:

  • Developing Real-Time Applications
    All things related to building applications with streaming technologies. Development practices, scaling, testing, CI/CD, microservices, etc.
  • Streaming Technologies
    Technology talks about Kafka et al. Introductory talks through to deep dives. KRaft, Tiered Storage, consensus protocols, and more. What’s happening under the covers, and upcoming features.
  • Fun and Geeky
    Random stuff that will be interesting but probably has nothing to do with event streaming 😎
    What interesting thing have you done with a Raspberry Pi and some houseplants? Or a brainwave monitor and ksqlDB? Or just an entertaining talk about the nuances of git…if it’s fun and geeky, it belongs here!
  • Architectures You’ve Always Wondered About
    A show-and-tell of the software stacks and architectures being used to run data in motion at scale.
  • People & Culture
    Whether insights about being glue, how to build one’s career, or how to structure an organization to enable streaming adoption, this track will be host to a variety of fascinating ideas.
  • Data Development Life Cycle (including SDLC for data, data mesh, governance, schemas)
    Building company-scale platforms with data in motion comes with a host of interesting challenges, both around system architecture, data, and more.
  • Case Studies
    How has streaming been used in your business? Why did they adopt it? What lessons have you got to share that would help others on a similar journey?
  • Operations and Observability
    Stories from the world of the SRE. Operating a streaming pipeline or other streaming technologies, both in the cloud and on-premises. Tracing applications and testing in production.
  • Pipelines Done Right
    Streaming ETL, modern data flow, batch pipelines, and beyond!
  • Real-Time Analytics
    What uses does a real-time dashboard serve, and how are you building them? Do you even need data in really real-time for analytics?
  • Event Streaming in Academia and Beyond
    Interesting papers and studies about the theory of event streaming, applications of real-time data in academic studies, and more.

💡 Example talks

Here are some sample talk titles to illustrate the kind of content we’re looking for and ideas to inspire your own talk:

  • Our move at Gotham Bank from batch to real-time – what worked and what didn’t
  • This one library (or tool) will revolutionize your job as a developer with $STREAMING_TECHNOLOGY!
  • An overview of real-time machine learning techniques
  • Data mesh vs. ETL vs. ELT – an unbiased comparison
  • Tiered Storage deep dive
  • Streaming ETL at ACME_CORP – here’s what we built
  • We adopted a streaming architecture in our business, and here’s our story
  • Rewiring your ‘relational brain’ for event sourcing
  • How Nidavellir Enterprises manages schema change in a multi-team streaming environment
  • Getting started with $STREAMING_TECHNOLOGY
  • Event sourcing and event streaming – conceptually similar but a world apart in practice
  • We blinked and it was gone: Ops stories from running streaming systems in production at Vormir Corp.
  • Who needs event streaming when you’ve got Postgres?
  • Queueing to streaming: Why?
  • My first Kafka Connect pipeline
  • Modern data flow in action
  • Kafka deep dives (KRaft, Tiered Storage, etc)
  • KIP deep dives
  • Stuff I wish I knew sooner when working with $STREAMING_TECHNOLOGY
  • Here’s the skillset that takes you from average Kafka developer to amazing stream processing developer!
  • How to evangelize Kafka to your internal stakeholders
  • How to project manage a stream processing project
  • Reduce production deployment time from 18 months to 6 months with this one weird trick
  • Do you need a Chief Data Officer?
  • Kafka and microservices
  • Hands-on guide to developing applications using the Schema Registry
  • If you’ve got to self-manage Kafka, what’s the least painful way to do it?
  • Kafka security: All you ever wanted to know (plus a bit you didn’t)

Don’t delay – submit today!

The Call for Papers closes on 26th June at 23:59 CDT.

Submit Now

Robin Moffatt is a principal developer advocate at Confluent, as well as an Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador and ACE Director (alumnus). His career has always involved data, from the old worlds of COBOL and DB2, through the worlds of Oracle and Apache™ Hadoop® and into the current world with Kafka. His particular interests are analytics, systems architecture, performance testing, and optimization.

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