Call for Speakers

Quick Tips

We highly recommend you read this entire page before submitting. But if you don’t have time, the top tips are:

  • Don’t write your abstract in 3rd person
  • Be opinionated, don’t give us options
  • Give us a minimum of 3 submissions
  • Prefer ‘fresh talks’ that haven’t been over-presented

Welcome to the php[tek] 2016 Call for Speakers!

This call will close on January 16th, at 23:59:59 UTC (just before midnight)

Here’s an explanation of what we’re looking for and of how the selection process works. Please read everything before submitting your proposals. In addition, you need to review the Speaker’s Package for this year, and should make sure that you’ve read through and agree to our Code of Conduct.

What we look for

PHP runs over 82% of the internet at the moment. Take a moment to think about that staggering statistic.  Because of this, the use-cases of PHP are extremely broad, and we want php[tek] to reflect that. We therefore want submissions that cover the entire range of Web Development processes. We want to hear about how PHP is getting the job done throughout the world.

Importantly, we don’t necessarily look for talks that are only about PHP itself.  Some of our most successful presentations have been on products built on PHP (such as WordPress, Drupal, and other frameworks) and on technologies that are crucial to building on the web (HTML5, JavaScript, Mobile Development, Apache, Databases, Deployment, etc.)

Who we look for

You don’t have to be a professional speaker to present at php[tek]. In fact, many speakers at our conference are speaking publicly for the first time. What matters is the content that you are going to provide. If you submit a talk and we think that the topic is relevant to our audience, we are going to accept it (or try to).  Each and every person out there has unique experiences and unique knowledge, and we can all come together at php[tek] to share this.

Suggestions to get accepted

There are a few ‘tricks of the trade’ that many regularly accepted speakers follow. We want to share these so everyone has an equal footing in the process.

First of all, make sure you submit at least two proposals to us—three would be even better.  Why?  Well simply put, we do have to be wary of costs. If you have an amazing talk that we want at the conference, we will pull you in regardless. But if we have the choice between two similar talks, and one speaker only submitted one talk we liked while another submitted two, we are going to choose the speaker who can give two talks as it’s more cost effective. Because of this, most of our speakers will be asked to give two talks.  The more you give us to choose from, the greater chance that you’ll have a couple talks that we can’t live without.

Secondly, make sure that you are really descriptive on your bio and your talk description.  You want to sell us on the talk and on you.  If you just enter a single sentence, your talk isn’t going to be rated highly.  Similarly, don’t just submit something like:  “I could give any talk you want”.  Or even submit a talk and note: “Could give as tutorial or session”.  We realize that you probably can; however, we get over 600 submissions for each conference. We don’t have the time to play ‘what if’.

Third, we do prefer ‘fresh talks’.  What do we mean?  Well as fellow speakers we appreciate the desire to write one talk and present it multiple times to get your benefit out of your effort.  However we’d prefer that any talk you submit to php[tek] be either unique to us, or at least not given recently at similarly large PHP conferences.  We love if you’ve given it at user groups though to hone it!

Finally, we would prefer that your bio be written in 3rd person, but your sessions themselves use 1st person language.  Use your own voice and express yourself to us personally.

Talk types

This year at php[tek] we are accepting submissions on three types of talks:

  • Tutorials
    • These take place on Tuesday and are 3+ hours long.  Attendees here will expect in-depth coverage of a specific topic; however, 3 hours isn’t that much time to get hands-on.
  • Regular talks
    • These take place throughout the rest of the conference and are 1 hour long, including the Q&A.
  • Short talks
    • Sometimes there are topics that don’t need a full hour. We often design a few 30-minute sessions into our schedule to ensure that these topics can be covered.  Note that we expect unique talks to fill these sessions, and accept very few of them.  Don’t just submit a ‘normal’ topic during this time slot and hope to be accepted here.
  • Other Sessions
    • Of course we do have other sessions.  We offer full day training, keynotes, and sometimes special evening activities.  If you would like to propose yourself for any of these other kinds of sessions, please drop us an email and we can chat.

Equipment and setup

You will be expected to bring your own laptop capable of displaying your presentation and appropriate adapters for your laptop to connect to a projector.  (If you need to borrow something, just let us know).  In turn, we will provide in each room:

  • A lectern for presenting from, including wireless & wired microphones
  • A WXGA widescreen projector (1280×800) with both HDMI and VGA connections
We will have Internet access available, but highly discourage speakers from relying upon it for their talks. Internet access at conferences can always be problematic, and so relying upon it for your presentation can be problematic.

How does the selection process work?

After we’ve closed the Call for Speakers, we have a team that will review every submission that we received individually. Then we can sit down and start looking at a spreadsheet of all the submissions sorted by average rating.

Then the magic of conference selection happens. Just having the highest rated talk doesn’t mean you will be selected. We also have to create a balanced conference with a good cross section of topics and accommodate lots of speakers. Also we often want to bring in new topics and new speakers. We typically get more than 10 proposals per each single speaking slot that we have available, which in the end means that 90% of the people who submit will unfortunately have to be declined.  Just because you are declined doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an amazing talk!  It just means that we couldn’t fit it into our schedule this year.

If you are selected, we will let you know as soon as we have the schedule ready, which should be in late January, and then we will reach out again later in the year to organize all of the travel and hotel accommodations for the speakers.

For those who don’t make the cut, well, that’s the hardest email that we have to send out each year, we know it’s a disappointing thing to hear. Don’t be discouraged, however: there are lots of other conferences, and we’d love to see you submit the next year as well. (Plus there’s a decent chance that we’ll be in touch about getting you to write some articles for our magazine!)

OK. At this point you should be ready, so go submit some proposals to us!


Keep Track of Us

Follow @phparch on twitter for timely updates about php[tek]. Our official hashtag is #phptek.


We'd like to thank the following sponsors for making this conference possible!




Casino Night Sponsor

Red Ventures

Community Night Sponsor


Special Sponsor

10UP / Joyent

Reception Sponsor





Classy Llama

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Coffee & Lanyard Sponsor


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Supporting Sponsor


Training Day Sponsor