How to get your submission rejected from the MySQL conference

I’ve written before about how to get accepted to the conference. We want great technical submissions in a broad variety of topics, for databases well beyond MySQL. I wanted to post a quick list of things that come to my mind as good ways to get voted down or rejected out of hand. In general, I can put it this way: you are being peer-reviewed by presenters and industry experts. You need to write your proposal for the committee as well as for attendees. Lightly edited copy-and-paste from real examples:

In this tutorial, __ will teach a condensed version of his standard commercial training workshop, a $1,500 value. THIS IS A MUST ATTEND FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO BECOME __ EXPERTS. Sometimes being a committee member is fun. My all-time personal favorite, from the 2010 conference: NETWORKING FOR TECHIES – BUILDING BUSINESS CONTACTS AT IT CONFERENCES… ___ ___ will guide you step-by-step through the networking process using demonstrations, exercises, role plays, and personal coaching that focus on networking between sessions, in workshops and at receptions.

And then, in the additional notes area, which reviewers see but attendees don’t, the submitter included this little gem: “This fee-based session (TBA)…” Oops! I almost didn’t notice that you thought you could make the conference’s business decisions for them!

In addition to these concrete examples, chest-thumping in general rarely goes over well. Keep in mind that some people on the review committee may have been called in to consult on the application you’re boasting about, and found it less impressive than you may be conveying in your proposal. The reviewers will note that down, and we all see each others’ notes and votes, so a conversation about the background story is likely to develop during the voting process.

Sometimes I think that well-intentioned submitters don’t realize that the submissions should be fully technical, and the products & services track is available by contacting O’Reilly directly about sponsorship:

____ is trying to make it easy for start-ups… Initial pricing is $___ for a single server. (This submission belongs in the expo hall, not the session rooms.) We will demonstrate why ___ appliances are optimal, showing examples of customer performance improvements.* (This looks like an infomercial.)* If you have a product or service that you think will benefit from exposure at this conference, you should definitely talk to them about sponsorship. It is a win-win.

I'm Baron Schwartz, the founder and CEO of VividCortex. I am the author of High Performance MySQL and lots of open-source software for performance analysis, monitoring, and system administration. I contribute to various database communities such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, Redis and MongoDB. More about me.