Southwest Fox 2010 Call for Speakers

Out the window of my office, I see snow adding a new layer over the remains of the back-to-back blizzards that hit the Middle Atlantic states earlier this month, but at Geek Gatherings, we’re already focused on next fall. Today, we’re posting the Call for Speakers for Southwest Fox 2010, along with the updated proposal submission application.

Last year, we set a new record for the number of speaker and session proposals we received . If that happens again this year (as we, of course, hope it will), we’ll find our decisions even tougher than before.

The attendance at Southwest Fox 2009 declined more than we expected from 2008. We suspect that reflects both the difficult economy (many previous attendees we talked to said there was nothing in the 2009 budget for training) and that there are fewer VFP developers than in the past. Thanks to tremendous cooperation from the Arizona Golf Resort, that decline in attendance didn’t result in a corresponding financial loss for Geek Gatherings.

We plan to continue offering Southwest Fox as long as the community wants it and we can make the economics work. To make sure they do for Southwest Fox 2010, we’re trying something new for speaker selection. We will initially select enough speakers to run simultaneous sessions in three rooms, rather than four. If early registration warrants, we’ll add speakers and sessions for a fourth room.

This offers a challenge for both prospective speakers and those planning to attend. For speakers, the challenge is obvious. Competition will be tougher up front, so hone your proposals, offer us plenty of choices, and in general, try to make yourself stand out. (Be sure to read through the whole Call for Speakers before preparing your proposals and make sure you can meet the deadlines.)

What’s the challenge for attendees? Register early, and encourage others to do the same. In order to give the added speakers enough time to prepare, we’ll have to make our decision in early July. As always, we’ll offer other incentives for registering early.

We know that Southwest Fox is a tremendous value and vow that, whether we have three rooms or four, attendees will still get their money’s worth.

Southwest Fox 2009 Call for Speakers

Today we released the Call for Speakers for Southwest Fox 2009. Anyone interested in presenting should visit, read the Call for Speakers, and download the proposal submission application. Session proposals are due by March 16.

We’re hoping to add a track this year called Technology for the VFP Developer. It’ll cover things other than VFP that make life easier for FoxPro developers, like source control and virtual machines. Of course, we still plan to offer a good selection of topics in core VFP development, extending VFP, using VFP with other technologies, and of course, VFPX.

If you think you have something to say to the VFP community, please submit session proposals, even if you’ve never spoken at a conference before. Our community is strengthened when more people take an active role. Do be aware that speaking at a conference is a serious commitment. Even for experienced speakers, preparing a new session takes 40-80 hours. Doing it well at the conference calls for several rehearsals beforehand, too. So make sure you can commit the necessary time–the Call for Speakers lays out all the deadlines.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you all come up with. Reading through the proposals we receive each year is really exciting, and choosing among them is always a challenge.