Yesterday many people started getting their notifications about sessions that were approved and denied. I submitted two sessions this year and of the two one was accepted. I was pretty excited about the fact I have had a streak going of submissions and acceptances that I tweeted this out.
— Chris Colotti (@ccolotti) June 15, 2016
The really sad thing about it is that a number of people started replying about how it’s easier or at least there is the assumption that it’s easier to get sessions accepted as a VMware employee. I was more than a little offended to say the least, but being a day later I wanted to properly address this assumption, at least from my personal perspective.
VMworld Submissions Are All Treated The Same
Regardless of what you THINK you know about the process, employees follow the exact same submission process as everyone else during the open Call For Papers. We have to log into the same site, submit the same forms, and follow the same process. There may be a different process for event sponsors, but that’s a completely different story since they are paying sponsors. I am strictly referring to the call for papers. Once I submit my session(s), it goes into the same review cycle as all the others.
The bottom line is there is no back door process, no special treatment or favors that happen, at least when I submit mine. In fact each year for me it becomes harder to come up with something compelling to speak about and submit. It’s why each year I submit fewer, and have fewer accepted. I know people are going to believe whatever they want about the process, but for me I’ve never leveraged any internal connections. Good ideas, good abstracts, and compelling topics are what get noticed. That actually is the key, getting NOTICED in the sea of submissions.
Now, there may be people on the content side that recognize names on submissions, and maybe that does help, but then that means maybe you need to become a little more well-known in the community as well. It’s not posturing, it’s making sure people know who you are and what your expertise are.
Tips To Make Your Abstract Better
- Have a very compelling topic that is relevant to a large number of people, don’t make it laser focussed
- Make sure people know who you are in the community
- Make the title powerful, it’s the first thing people read. There is a feeling that “Deep-Dive” in the title will always get it noticed…I don’t think that’s the case these days
- Spend time on the abstract. This is your pitch to the content people. All you get is this to catch their attention.
- Make sure you pick the best track you can. Sometimes there is no great option, so pick the best.
- Make the key take aways VERY clear, but CONCISE. You can’t get wordy on those, make sure it’s as powerful as the title
- Have someone review it that has been successful before. To be honest, I’ve never once been asked to review an abstract….
My 2016 VMworld Session Information
Here is the exact details of the submission that was approved for me this year.