Warning: This is mostly a narcissistic post that will add little value to the testing community.

I’ve been pretty depressed about my proposal not getting picked for Let’s Test 2014.  Each of my proposals have been picked for STPCon and STAR over the past three years; I guess I was getting cocky.  I put all my eggs in one basket and only proposed to Let’s Test.  My wife and I were planning to make a vacation out of it…our first trip to Scandinavia together.

Despite my rejection, my VP graciously offered to send me as an attendant but I wallowed in my own self pity and turned her down.  In fact, I decided not to attend any test conferences in 2014.  Pretty bitter, huh?

I know I could have pulled off a kick-ass talk with the fairly original and edgy topic I submitted.  I dropped names.  I got referrals from the right people.  My topic fit the conference theme perfectly, IMO.  So why didn’t I make the cut?

The Let’s Test program chairs have not responded to my request for “what I could have done differently to get picked”.  Lee Copeland, the STAR program chair was always helpful in that respect.  But I don’t blame the Let’s Test program chairs.  Apparently program chairs have an exhausting job and they get requests for feedback from hundreds of rejected speakers.

Fortunately, my mentor and friend, Michael Bolton read my proposal and gave me some good honest feedback on why I didn’t get picked.  He summarized his feedback into three points which I’ll paraphrase:

  1. A successful pitch to Let’s Test involves positioning your talk right in the strike zone of an experience report.  You seemed to leave out the teensy, weensy little detail that you’re an N-year test manager at Turner, and that you’re telling a story about that here.
  2. Apropos of that, tell us about the story that you’re going to tell.  You’ve got a bunch of points listed out, but they seem disjointed and the through line isn’t clear to me.  For example, what does the second point have to do with the first?  The fourth with the third?
  3. Drop the dopey idea of “learning objectives”, which is far less important at Let’s Test than it may be at other conferences.

Bolton also directed me to his tips on writing a killer conference proposal, which make my How To Speak At a Testing Conference look amateur at best.

So there it is.  One of my big testing-related failure stories.  Wish me luck next year when it give it another go, for Let’s Test 2015…man that seems a long ways off.


  1. Unknown said...

    Thanks for the tips/links on writing a conference proposal.

  2. Dean said...

    Hi Erick,

    Sometimes we need to receive some "hits", like the one you've received in order to stop being cocky (just like you said) and probably hits like this will make us realize that we need to focus more on improving our skills and we always should give 200%.

    So don't be disappointed, chin up and be positive ... maybe this rejection will turn to be in the near future a good thing for you.


  3. Yury Makedonov said...

    Eric, your main error was that you have not used CDP (Context Driven Proposal) approach and reused SQE/QAI template without any modification.

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