August 21-23, 2019 in Pittsburgh, PA

Abstractions’ Call for Proposals

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Our CFP opened on Monday, February 18, 2019
  • Our CFP closed on **
  • We will notify speakers of their status on April 22, 2019
  • We must hear a response from accepted speakers by April 28, 2019

If we do not hear from accepted speakers by April 28, 2019, we will consider the invitation to speak declined. To avoid the spam, please add to your contact list so it doesn’t fall into spam.

Submission information

For your reference, the information below is what we had posted while the CFP was open.

About Abstractions’ CFP

Abstractions is a software conference that will have the best of design, engineering, management, and devops talks while also highlighting important non-technical topics like communication, work-life, privacy, and mental health. No matter what your role, experience level, or industry is, we want you to share your knowledge!

We anticipate our event to have about 6 tracks and will have somewhere between 140 and 190 talks, depending on how we plan out our program.

All speakers, whether they submit to the CFP or are invited, will need to agree to the Code & Supply Conduct Policy and sign a speaker agreement after acceptance. The CoC is at


  • Talks submissions should be presented in English, Spanish, Chinese, or French, and should be between 30 and 40 minutes long.
  • Don’t include time for questions and answers.*
  • Abstracts should be written in English for the review process.
  • Abstracts should be thorough and let us know your goals and what the audience will take away from your talk.
  • Abstracts should be free of typos and sloppy formatting.
  • Because Abstractions tries to push the boundaries of what you expect to see at a tech conference, we will aim to accept more original and creative submissions than generic tech talks.
  • If you add a talk proposal, you can review and edit it until you mark it as final, or until the CFP closes on Sunday, March 24, 2019 11:59pm Eastern.

* We’ve found Q&A sessions don’t usually offer good questions that everyone would want to hear, and we would like our speakers to be approachable. By taking out Q&A time and encouraging post-talk discussion, it helps offer better engagement with speakers and attendees.

Selection Process

When you submit one or more talks to Abstractions, we will use a blind review process on the first round and then openly review on the subsequent rounds.

  1. We will review all talks with the speaker information removed. This ensures we look fairly at each talk and not at the person submitting.
  2. Any talks passing the first round will be reviewed by the committee again with speaker information visible to try to make sure we accept up to 2 talks per speaker.
  3. Any talks passing the second round will be sent to the Programming Team for final selections. We will try to make a good balance of talks by topic, area (development, design, DevOps, etc.), field, diversity, etc.
  4. We will notify all submitters of their talk status by April 22, 2019.
  5. For the speakers of the talks we accept, we’ll need an acceptance answer by April 28, 2019.

Remember: If we don’t take your talk, it’s not necessarily because it’s a bad talk, we probably just don’t have the room for all the great things we receive or it wasn’t a right fit for our particular conference.

What You Get for Speaking

As a speaker at Abstractions, you’ll receive the following perks:

  • A free admission ticket for you and a guest to the whole conference
  • Travel assistance for speakers that need it (please contact us to discuss it). Please do not let travel costs stop you from submitting. We will find a way!
  • Car service to and from the airport
  • An honorarium*
  • Free dinner at our speaker dinner event
  • Hanging out with therapy dogs
  • Exclusive speaker gift
  • Childcare for those that need it
  • If you’re a newer speaker, we offer mentoring and review sessions. (See the next section)

*The nature of the service or work performed, the type of visa held, and the country of residence all affect whether or not our organization can pay a foreign national individual or entity and what the taxation may be on a payment.

Before entering into an agreement with a foreign national guest, speaker, or entity, we will determine whether or not it is legal to pay the individual or entity, the potential tax implications, and proper documentation.

Mentoring Help

We know not everyone has an amazing stage presence, and that people have great ideas but not sure how to mold them into a talk. Or maybe you have an idea and just don’t think of yourself as a speaker. We’d love to help!

We are happy to offer some mentoring before or after you submit:

  • We can brainstorm new ideas with you and find out what great topics you are hiding and haven’t discovered yet
  • We can help you take your idea and get it into abstract submittable form
  • We can advise you along the way on how to write notes out for your talk and make slides from it
  • We can rehearse your talk with you
  • We can hook you up with other speakers that’d be happy to share their knowledge as well.

Join us for one of our scheduled open sessions, or send us a message at

Open Mentoring Sessions

The open mentoring sessions are an online meeting that will let anyone get advice or ask questions about the CFP process or about their abstracts. The sessions will be for 1.5 hours on these dates below. At least one Abstractions organizer and we’ll try to include at least another experienced public speaker. All of the mentors will not be involved in the reviewing process.

All times are in Eastern Time.

Date Web/App Link
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 1pm
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 4pm
Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 8pm

Open Diversity CFP Day

If you are an underrepresented person in tech, Global Diversity CFP Day is an outreach program to get more underrepresented speakers into technical conferences. It is held on Saturday, March 2nd this year in many cities worldwide. Go to to see if there’s a meeting in your area. These free sessions will take you from basic idea to a submittable talk with mentors and other public speakers to help you along the way.


We’d love to hear from a variety of topics. Some ideas to get you started are:

  • Introductions and deep-dives to command line tools
  • How to solve inefficiencies in build processes
  • How to design more intuitive user experiences
  • Creating better communication in organizations and what tools improve it
  • How to create or run an effective remote team
  • How to get started with neural networks or natural language processing
  • How to have good allyship for underrepresented people in your team/company
  • How to build a better company culture
  • Discussions about ethics in tech
  • How programming languages have evolved over the years
  • How can smaller companies adopt newer technologies
  • Increasing software quality or decreasing technical debt
  • Discussions on better interviewing, hiring, and compensation
  • Testing paradigms and strategies
  • Evaluating developer tools
  • Managing data at extreme scales
  • Open data and code activism (hacktivism)
  • Combining art & code or creative coding (edited)
  • Managing your work/life balance, family, and health
  • What else can be automated/what shouldn’t ever be automated
  • Comparing cloud architectures and why choose one service over another
  • Practical applications of new technologies (such as decentralized apps, blockchain, and centralized storage)
  • Architecting for the cloud and/or serverless systems
  • Easy approachable and immediately useful hardware projects
  • Comparing cross-platform development frameworks
  • Implementing security for the average developer (adding encryption, cryptography, better authentication)
  • Social engineering and defensive thinking/threat analysis
  • State of open source technologies (licensing, dependencies, sharing, open data)
  • Optimizing your software and website for low-tech or older tech devices
  • Designing architecture or technology to be privacy respective (including communication tools)
  • Stories of career successes and failures
  • Alternatives to mainstream technologies (ex: something other than Raspberry Pis for embedded things, using tech from small computer manufacturues)
  • Ethics and sustainability across an engineering organization (ethical and sustainable on-calls, hiring, employee retention, sales)


We’re happy to answer any questions you have. Please email us at and we’ll reply within the day.