Blog Archive

Extending the Open Source Bridge CFP + Some Amazing Talks from Last Year

Extending the Open Source Bridge CFP

Haven’t got your proposal in for Open Source Bridge 2016? You’re in luck! We’re extending the CFP until 11:59 PM PDT April 20th.

Our co-chairs also rounded up their favorite talks from last year to give you a little extra inspiration for your proposals.

Thursday’s Favorite Talks

I pulled up a few of my favorite talks from last year and these four topped my list:

Put Up or Shut Up: An Open Letter to Tech Companies” by Kronda Adair — Kronda gave a straight-forward keynote on toxic cultures we see in the tech industry. (Session description)

Care and Feeding of a Job Search” by VM Brasseur — I send VM’s talk to everyone I know who is looking for a job. It’s a great resource. (Session description)

How to Teach Git” by Georgia Reh — Georgia’s walk-through on how to teach Git goes a lot deeper that just discussing the technicalities of a tool. She talked about the metaphors and ‘incantations’ we use while teaching. (Session description)

Building a Text Adventure Game in Python” by Katie Silverio — I walked out of Katie Silverio’s talk with a dozen ideas on text adventure games I could write, as well as an understanding of the tools I needed to get started. (Session description)

Shawna’s Favorite Talks

Some context: I actually had to miss the last two days of the conference, so these are my favorites just from the beginning of the conference!

Of course, I could listen to Kronda Adair preach about tech forever, but since Thursday’s already claimed that talk:

For Love or Money” by Audrey Eschright — Audrey gave an amazing, nuanced personal account of open source in her life and the community at large. (Session description)

HTTP Can Do That?!?” by Sumana Harihareswara — Sumana taught me so many astonishing things about HTTP, while making me laugh all the way through. (Session description)

Kenny_g.rb: Making Ruby Write Smooth Jazz” by Tim Krajcar — Continuing on the silly end of the spectrum, watch Tim make Ruby write smooth jazz. (Session description)

A Profile of Performance Profiling with pprof” by Lauren Voswinkel — And in the category of things you can start using to improve your work immediately, Lauren teaches us about pprof for performance profiling. (Session description)

So make use of our CFP extension and get your proposals in!

Proposal Help and Office Hours

We know submitting a proposal to a conference can be intimidating, especially for newer speakers. We want to help support you, so you feel comfortable submitting a talk to Open Source Bridge. To that end, we’ve put together some office hours and resources to help.

Video Office Hours

The video-based office hours will be hosted via Google Hangouts. The goal of these office hours is to help people who would like some face-to-face support and real time discussion. These office hours are good for things like brainstorming a topic or encouraging someone who isn’t sure if they should submit a talk.

If you already have a talk idea and want feedback on your proposal, you should check out the text office hours. Google Hangouts have a limit of 10 participants, so at most 9 potential speakers will be able to participate at any given time.

Text Office Hours

The text-based office hours will be hosted on the ##osbridge-proposal-help IRC channel on freenode. The goal of these office hours is to help people who would like feedback on their talk proposal(s). You can share your proposal(s) and questions with our hosts via text (e.g. email, gist, pastebin, google doc), and they will review and do their best to answer your questions and provide feedback.

Not sure how to use IRC? That’s totally ok! There is a web client you can use in your browser by going here. The only setup necessary is giving it a user name to identify yourself. If this doesn’t work for you, please send us an email with information about your proposal, and we’ll work on getting you feedback via email.

Below are the currently scheduled office hours. If these don’t work for you, be sure to check back. We’re in the process of confirming more times and will add more very soon.

Quick Tips

Here are some quick tips from organizers and past speakers to help you get started.

  • This is a great conference for first time speakers. Don’t discount yourself ahead of time. Leave it to the organizers to select the talks for the conference.
  • Make it clear what your talk is about and what the audience will get out of it. This is helpful for people reviewing your talk and for conference attendees if your talk is selected.
  • Keep the time slot in mind when scoping your talk. If your topic could fit well in multiple time slots, let us know in the “note to organizers” section, so we can keep that in mind during selection.
  • If you have more than one thing you want to talk about, please submit multiple proposals. If more than one talk is selected, we will check in and give you the option to pick your favorite talk or to give both. If you know ahead of time you only want to give one talk, feel free let us know in the “note to organizers” section. This will not impact whether your talk(s) get selected or not.

Take a look at sessions from previous years for examples of proposals that were accepted.

Additional Resources

Want even more help? Check out these resources about developing talks from past Open Source Bridge speakers.

We Want You to Speak at Open Source Bridge!

Now that our call for proposals is open, we wanted to follow up with more information about speaking at Open Source Bridge 2016.

Call For Proposals

The deadline for submitting your proposal is 11:59 PM PDT (UTC-7) on April 13th, 2016. Read on for more details.

Our Goal

Open Source Bridge’s purpose is to gather a diverse citizenry and inspire one another to make the world a better place through open source technology and open culture principles.

This makes Open Source Bridge stand out from other community-driven technology conferences. Instead of focusing on a single language, platform, or area of knowledge, we work to unite people across the spectrum of open technology and culture.

We are looking for people from all backgrounds and areas of experience to submit talk proposals. We’d love to hear about software, hardware, design, data, journalism, community, and more. Your starting point could be web development, project management, open hardware engineering, security, quality assurance, data visualization, user experience, or one of many other topics.

If you work or play in open source, we want to hear from you. Let us know how you are building your communities, small or large. All speaking experience levels are welcome.

We recommend checking out some of the talks from last year to get a feel for the event if you’ve never attended.

Conference Tracks

We’ve split the tracks into the following five areas in order to create a conference that promotes cross-pollination and provide space for detailed discussion:

  • Business: How do you contribute to open technology and culture projects while still putting food on the table and paying the bills? How do you run a business on open principles? Check out last year’s talks.
  • Practice: How did you get something to work? Show us how to write the script, configure the utility, debug the code. Share your best recipes. Check out last year’s talks.
  • Theory: We know that something works, but why? Show us the science behind the practice. Explain the components of a project and how they interact. Check out last year’s talks.
  • Culture: Give us your people recipes! What makes open technology and culture communities effective? Demonstrate how you motivate people to work together well. Check out last year’s talks.
  • Hacks: We want to know how you pulled it off. Show us your most ingenious hacks, kludges, work-arounds, and duct-tape jobs. It doesn’t have to be clever or elegant, it just has to work! Check out last year’s talks.

Don’t worry about selecting the perfect track. They are just rough guidelines, and we’ll check in if we have questions for you.

We Want to Help

We know submitting a proposal to a conference can be intimidating, especially for newer speakers. We want to help support you, so you feel comfortable submitting a talk. To that end, we’re putting together some office hours and resources to help. Stay tuned for a follow-up post soon with more information.

Update: you can now find the post here.

Public Proposals & Feedback Wanted

All proposals are public (except for fields marked private to organizers). We encourage everyone to read through the submitted ones, leave comments, and star the talks you would like to see at the conference. Your feedback is extremely useful to our content selection committee. If you’ve submitted a talk, publicize it and ask others to leave feedback.

Also, all proposals also have a unique identifier (like a course number) you can use to tag your blog posts or other online content with discussion and related materials. Later we’ll use this ID to connect the conference sessions with content from around the web.

Encourage Others to Submit

We’d love your help encouraging others to speak at Open Source Bridge. Know someone who you think is a great fit? Encourage them to submit a proposal or nominate them to keynote.

If you are part of a local community, this could be a great time to host a night where people work on proposals together. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

Speaker Benefits

If you are selected to speak at Open Source Bridge, we will waive your attendance fee. We regret that we are not able to cover the cost of travel or lodging for speakers at this time. By not covering travel costs for our speakers, we are able to keep ticket prices low and make the conference accessible to the largest number of participants possible. However, if your proposal is accepted but you are unable to come due to travel costs, please let us know and we will do what we can to help out.

Speaking at Open Source Bridge is a fantastic way to participate in the conference. Start working on your proposal today and then submit it here.

Additionally, all those who submit a proposal but are not selected to speak will be able to register at the early bird registration price.

Acceptance Notifications

Proposal acceptances and wait-list notifications will be sent the first week of May.

Keynote Nominations

Now that our call for proposals is open, we’re working on selecting and inviting keynote speakers. We want to consider a broad range of potential speakers and find people that you’re interested in seeing, so we’re requesting nominations from the community.

Submit your nominations using this google form. We look forward to hearing from you!

Deadline for nominations is 11:59 PDT (UTC-7) on April 13th, 2016.

What we’re looking for

Please nominate people that you’d like to see speak at this year’s conference. Nominees do not need to have prior keynote experience, although they should have some prior speaking experience (at a conference, user group, unconference or other event). Some aspect of the nominee’s work should be in line with ‘open source citizenship’, the main theme of our conference. This can include a synthesis of topics commonly discussed at Open Source Bridge or new perspectives on contributing to or working with open source communities. To give you an idea of what we’d like to see, take a look at previous keynotes including those by Kronda Adair, Carina C. Zona, and Stephanie Morillo.

This year’s conference will have three keynote speaking slots, one on each morning Tuesday through Thursday. Keynote speakers receive a $500 honorarium.


If you have any questions, please send us an email. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Our Call for Submissions Is Open!

Bridge Made of Legos

Photo by Cameron.

We are pleased to announce that our call for talk proposals is now open! The deadline for submitting your proposal is 11:59 PM PT (UTC-7:00) on April 13, 2016.

Submit a proposal here or see what others have already submitted for inspiration.

Our New OSB Chairs and Tickets!

After 5 years of building proverbial bridges in the open source community, Reid Beels and Christie Koehler, have stepped down as Open Source Bridge Chairs. Please welcome Thursday Bram and Shawna Scott, our co-chairs for 2016!

Thursday Bram illustrationThursday Bram writes about technology, design, and inclusivity. She organizes PyDX and other events in Portland, Oregon. You can find Thursday online at or

a photo of Shawna Scott

Shawna Scott

Shawna is a software engineer in Portland, Oregon. She works at 38 Zeros in Ruby on Rails and to increase empathy through software. Shawna strives toward social justice and creating spaces and communities that are affirming and accessible to all. To that end, she is a member of the Calagator core team, co-organizer for Women Who Hack, and a sometimes-responsible member of the PDX Ruby Brigade anarchist ghost pirate ship.

And now: Tickets are available for Open Source Bridge 2016! Get those early bird cheap ones!