The call for talk proposals for StarCon 2018 is now closed.

Decisions will be sent out Tue Oct 31.

Conference registration opens in November.

Original call for proposals (for posterity)

We’re excited to announce that StarCon is having its first Call for Proposals (CFP)! We’re looking for folks who have a passion for technology, learning and sharing to submit talks about their favourite piece(s) of technology.

We’ve named this conference StarCon (*Con) for a reason. We want to represent many different people and topics in technology, just like how the wildcard asterisk symbol represents any character or symbol.

We want to hear about anything technology related, from projects to bugs to something interesting you’ve learned.

We really want to hear from you if:

  • You are a first time speaker.
  • You are a member of an underrepresented group in technology.
  • You’ve hesitated to apply to speak at conferences in the past because you think that you have nothing to contribute or you feel less qualified than your peers.

Submit Your Talk Here

Basic Information

  • Talks are 15 minutes long.
  • Talks must be technology-related.
  • Previous speaking experience is not necessary.

Important Dates

CFP Opens: August 14 2017, 10:00AM EST

CFP Closes: September 17 2017, 11:59PM EST

Acceptances/Rejections Sent: October 31 2017

Selection Process

Here is how our selection process works:

  1. When you submit your proposal, your name and contact information will be anonymized.
  2. Once the CFP closes, proposals are distributed among the members of our CFP Review Committee.
  3. The review process has two stages:

    a) The CFP Review Committee members review their assigned proposals individually, and give the proposal a score.

    b) The CFP Review Committee gathers to discuss the proposals and to make a list of potential accepted talks.

  4. Speaker names and contact information are de-anonymized and there is a period for the CFP Review Committee to confirm their choices of proposals to accept.
  5. All applicants are informed if their talk was accepted or rejected.


We ask for three things other than your basic information: An abstract, a timeline, and a short answer to a question. Please keep in mind that these guidelines are things you must cover in your proposal, but are not limited to.

Your submission must follow our Code of Conduct.

Do not include any personally identifying information in your abstract, timeline or answer to the short answer question. This includes:

  • Your name
  • Where you work/go to school
  • Any relation to the StarCon organizers or members of the CFP Review Committee
  • Your gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion (or lack of) etc


In this section, we’re looking for a brief summary of your talk. The reviewers will use this to determine the relevance of the topic and to get a feel for what the talk will cover.

Your abstract should:

  • Be approximately 200 words.
  • Include:
    • The title of your talk.
    • What the audience can expect to learn from your talk. - Why you think the topic of the talk is interesting, important, cool etc.


Maintaining good relationships with your co-workers is vital to both personal and organizational development. In my talk “asdfhgj: How Stepping on Keyboards Can Improve Your Team” I will cover the basics of the technique and how it can improve relationships with your peers, or your human roommates. Stepping on Keyboards (SoK) is a relatively unknown team-building technique among humans, however it is very well known among the feline community. SoK prioritizes getting in the way of a human while they are sitting at their computer, preferably typing, and demanding that they pay attention to you, thus improving communication skills among any human-cat team. The audience will be introduced to the topic, learn several of the common techniques and see a live demo. I believe that this technique is an untapped resource for most teams and that it has the potential to have a large impact on team-building and team development for small to large scale organizations.


The purpose of this is to get a feel for the pacing of your talk. Unlike the abstract, this will not be posted on the website if your talk is selected.

Your timeline should:

  • Include time estimates to demonstrate that your talk is 15 minutes long.
  • Include descriptions of what will be covered in each section.


  • 2 minutes: Introduction to the topic:
    • What is SoK?
    • A brief history of how I’ve used SoK to improve teams.
  • 8 minutes: What is Stepping On Keyboards?
    • The Calico Method of SoK
    • The Siamese Method of SoK
    • Demo
  • 5 minutes: Conclusions
    • The Future of SoK
    • How you can incorporate SoK into your team

Short Answer Question: Why do you want to talk at StarCon?

The point of this is to get to know you better! Think of this as a friendly conversation rather than an elevator pitch.

Your answer should:

  • Be approximately 300 words

Accepted Speaker Compensation

We believe in compensating our speakers. If accepted you will receive:

  • 70 CAD. We are in the process of determining the best way to deliver this. It will either be via cheque or gift card.
  • Full access to the conference venue and events.
  • Breakfast and lunch for both days of the conference.


We will do our best to provide travel funding for speakers coming from outside the Kitchener-Waterloo area. If you would like travel assistance, please fill out the relevant section of the CFP application form. We will notify you about what assistance we can provide when we notify you about your proposal acceptance.

Creative Commons

Should your talk be accepted, it is our intention to record (audio/video), transcribe, and publish your talk on the internet for free under a CC BY-ND license. So we ask that you make any materials used available under a CC BY-ND creative commons license. You will retain full ownership of any materials used in your talk (slide deck, handouts etc).

If you are uncomfortable with this, please email our Speaker & CFP Coordinator Anna Lorimer at [email protected] to discuss alternatives.


What if my talk doesn’t get accepted?

Fear not! To thank you for submitting a talk, you will be granted access to early registration.

Can I submit more than one talk?

Yes, but please don’t submit more than two. If both your talks are accepted, we will ask that you pick one.

I am from outside of Canada, can I still apply?

Yes! We’d love to have you. Please note that you’ll be responsible for obtaining a visa, should you need one, to enter Canada.

Can I get feedback on my application?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer this. We simply don’t have the resources to offer this to everyone at a quality we feel is appropriate.

I have other questions! Who do I talk to?

Our Speaker & CFP Coordinator is Anna Lorimer, send any and all CFP-related questions to her at [email protected].