Call for Papers

—— The tek13 call for papers has ended! ——

Welcome to the 2013 Call for Papers!

NOTE: As a courtesy to all potential speakers, anyone who submits to the CfP but isn’t accepted will be given a discount code to allow them to buy tickets at the Charter rate.

This document gives you a brief (or, at least, as brief as we can make it) explanation of what we’re looking for and of how the selection process works. In addition, you need to review the Speaker’s Package for this year.

What we look for

Facebook is no longer a start-up. Most government agencies have public-facing websites running on PHP. PHP based blogs are integrated into major publishing workflows. Major corporations run customer portals on large-scale PHP installations. PHP is no longer an upstart; it’s entered a platinum age. So we’re looking for talks that address the grown-up needs of a grown-up enterprise language, such as:

  • TDD, Continuous Integration, DevOps or other “process”-oriented subjects
  • New modern language constructs in PHP such as closures, traits, late static binding, etc.
  • APIs and integration with other technologies
  • Performance and scaling
  • Mobile development
  • …and the usual plethora of PHP adjacent technologies, such as HTML5, JavaScript, Capistrano, etc., that are required to meet the needs of serious modern sites.

In short, we’re looking for anything that shows how PHP gets the job done not just in Silicon Valley but throughout the world in places you might not even expect.

Remember that most talk slots are 50 minutes long; therefore, you should aim to inspire more than to educate. Ideally, attendees should leave your talk with more questions than they come in, and with the tools to go find the answers they’re looking for.

Most importantly, we do not necessarily look for talks that are about PHP. Some of the most successful presentations over the years have been on products built on PHP (like frameworks) and on technologies that are tangential to it (e.g.: Apache, JavaScript, databases, and so on).

This is as much information that we are going to give you on this page about what topics we want to see covered—the rest is up to you specifically because the conference is going to be made up of people like you.

Who we look for

You don’t have to be a professional speaker to present at Tek. In fact, many of the most memorable talks we have seen over the years have come from people who never spoke publicly before.

When we decide whether to accept a talk, we look primarily at whether we think that the topic is relevant to our audience, whether you know what you’re talking about, and whether you want to make sure that the main goal of the presentation is to inspire and captivate your audience, rather than showing them how knowledgeable you are.

Talk types

Tek has two types of talks:

  • Tutorials take place on Tuesday and are either three or six hours long. This is the only portion of the conference where the attendees expect in-depth coverage of a specific topic. Because of the length and complexity of tutorials, we tend to be a little more conservative in accepting speakers for them.
  • Regular talks take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and are fifty minutes long, including Q&A.
Both tutorials and regular talks usually take place in the same rooms, with three tracks going at the same time. We try hard to schedule presentations so that attendance is evenly distributed among all three tracks, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it, even though we make the occasional mistake (we learned our lessons the hard way—the term “rasmussed” originated at one of our past conferences).


All our rooms come with the following:

  • Lectern
  • SVGA projector (1024×768) with RGB input. If your laptop only has DVI or one of the Apple connectors (take your pick), please ensure that you bring your own adaptor. We usually have a few on hand, but there are so many variations that we cannot guarantee we have the one that works for you.
  • Drinking water
You have hopefully noticed that Internet access is not on this list. That’s because you should not, under any circumstance, write a presentation that depends on the Internet being accessible. Not. Ever. Don’t even think about it. Access at conference venues poses a number of significant challenges, and counting on its availability is a recipe for disaster. Just don’t do it—don’t force us to take out the cluebat, because we will.

What happens if you’re selected?

If we choose your talk, we’ll let you know ahead of the official announcement (usually during the first half of January).

Later in the year, we’ll be in touch to help you arrange your travel. We provide a travel allowance for airplane/car/train/horse/magic carpet and hotel stay to all speakers.

What happens if you’re not selected?

We typically get ten or more proposal for each slot that we have available, which makes the selection process highly competitive. We also, however, have a policy of ensuring that a number of our talks are from new speakers, or at least on new topics, so don’t let the competition discourage you.

If your talk does end up not making the cut, not all hope is lost. First of all, we always extend our Charter Ticket pricing to those who submit proposals until the end of January. This way, you can still attend Tek and take advantage of our lowest ticket prices. And, if you make it, we always host an extremely popular and very well attended Uncon, which is perfect for you to test drive your talk and present it anyway.