One of the key mechanisms that we've identified as being key to broadcasting the work that we do to the wider world is to speak at top-tier conferences around the world. Presenting a high quality talk is an excellent way of either deepening your own understanding of a topic, or jumping into a new area of expertise, becoming a better articulator and orator as well as being an excellent vehicle for career growth. I encourage everyone to try and present at conferences - to formalise some of the practices that we have followed till now, I'm writing down some tips on
How to select conferences
What support Obvious can provide
A small collection of resources on how to choose a topic for your talk, prepare for it and present.
Work with your colleagues to shortlist high impact conferences around the world. Choose conferences have featured speakers whom you've personally admired, talks that have changed the way you have worked etc. A good event or conference usually has the following features:
cares about its attendees and speakers
has got a Code of Conduct and is prepared to enforce it (here's a good example)
is accessible and inclusive
deeply cares about and works on diversity in its speaker lineup and attendees
cares about creating a good environment in which people can learn
It also should be an event that I can somehow relate to in terms of my work or interests
And, of course, the talk topic should fit the event as well.
Cover up to $100/day for your expenses during the conference. If it's a one day event, we'll cover $100, two days, $200 and so forth.
Note that this will be capped at $500 - so if you choose to attend all ten days of SXSW, be prepared to skip a few meals.
To qualify for the expense reimbursement, you will have to do two things:
Present the talk that you are going to give to a local audience which includes your entire team before you leave and refine it based on feedback that you will get
Publish a high quality post on the subject of your presentation/talk on our blog within two weeks of returning to work.
We believe that conferences should pay for the basics (travel/accommodation/conference tickets), but in the unlikely event that the conference organisers do not cover your these expenses and your manager determine that this is a worthwhile/high-impact conference to attend, Obvious will try to cover a part of those expenses.
If a conference gives out a speaker honorarium (usually $150-$500), that's yours to keep! Consider it a reward for the many nights that you've undoubtedly spent putting together your conference talk, reviewing it with colleagues, friends, designing your slides and practicing your talk.
Unless it falls foul of conference guidelines, make sure you take some Obvious swag to give out - use it to make some new friends!