IOUG 2016 Is Different: Here's How To Get Your Abstract Accepted

Posted on 15-Sep-2015 by Craig Shallahamer,

Collaborate/ IOUG 2016 is different this year!

The difference is awesome and understanding this difference can make a big impact in you getting a free pass to the conference... or not.

Last year I posted an article called, 11 Ways To Get Your Oracle Database Conference Abstract Accepted. While the content contents is still true, this year the IOUG/Collaborate conference has a new twist that you need to understand.

The two big changes are: 1) Technical papers are NOT required and 2) Each abstract must be related to at least one IOUG conference theme.

The conference themes are super important to understand. This post is about how to aggressively use the conference themes to help get your abstract selected!

Technical Papers NOT Required!

Did you notice the title of this post did NOT state how to get your PAPER accepted? For the first time ever, technical papers are not required. I am soooo stoked about this. Why?

Finally, IOUG understands that it is not a scientific conference. It's about practical hands-on content aimed directly at empowering Oracle DBAs and Developers. Period!

Oracle conferences can pretend to be scientific, but it's laughable. If Oracle conferences were scientific conferences, every paper would be backed by a repeatable experiment and the papers would be peer reviewed BEFORE the speaker was allowed to present.

IOUG is a practical-centric conference that is clearly focused on Oracle DBAs and Developers. It's about being the best you can be in your career and loving it.

New: Practical Value-Focused Content Themes

This is super important to understand for those of us who want to speak at IOUG. The 2016 IOUG is centered around THEMES, that is streams of content. Conference tracks are so 80's!

Content or conference themes are value-focused answers to the question, "Why should you go to IOUG in Vegas?"

Your manager asks you, "Why should the company pay for you to attend IOUG in Vegas?" You could answer like a schmoe and say something like, "Because I'm a DBA and this is a DBA focused conference."

A better answer would be, "Because I'm going to learn how to keep our databases up and running, how to make our environment run smoother and how to develop my non-technical skills." That's a good answer! And, each part of this answer is one of the conference content themes!

While this is good news from a "getting approval" perspective, it also have a massive impact regarding getting your abstracts accepted.

How To Use Themes To Get Accepted

When you develop your title, outline, learning objectives and finally the abstract you need to be answering multiple "theme" questions.

Here is why embracing the theme perspective is so important.

Each theme is controlled by a different IOUG content manager. If you tag your abstract with two themes, it is like you are submitting two abstracts!

Let me show you what I mean. Check out the screenshot below. This is snippet from the 2016 IOUG abstract submission page.

Most abstracts will naturally fall in one themes. If your abstract does not naturally fit into at least TWO themes, you need to modify it.

By aligning your abstract with multiple themes, your abstract will be reviewed by more managers and in-line with the conference's desire to have speakers make multiple presentations.

The bottom line is this, formulate each abstract submission around multiple themes and you are more likely to get accepted... and get your free pass to the conference.

Free Conference Passes Are Expensive

For a moment, think like a conference organizer. They are very concerned about expenses. They are not motivated to make a big profit, but they are highly motivated to keep the conference going every year. That's part of their mission.

If you enjoy conferences, you want the conference to at least break even. Otherwise, they will "go out of business" and there won't be any more conference!

It's a kind of hidden expense, but free conference passes directly erode the conference's bottom line. It's an ironic twist, but each speaker who receives a free pass also reduces the conferences ability to continue.

No one is disputing speakers provide amazing content. Or, that without speakers there would be no conferences. These are not the issues.

To reduce expenses, a conference is motivated to have the same speaker present multiple abstracts.

Understanding a conference's motivations will help you submit better and in this case, more abstracts. Bottom line: submit multiple abstracts; at least three!

Submit Multiple Abstracts

No one and I mean NO ONE knows what abstracts will be submitted until they are actually submitted. Your topic could be very similar to others. That's bad news because you will be in direct competition with lots of other people.

On the flip side, if your abstract is crazy unique, no one will care about the topic. Believe me, I know this; just because I am passionate about a topic, does not mean others will share my passion. So be careful about submitting abstracts that are super bizarre.

So, your abstracts needs to strike a balance between value for lots of people and being special. For sure, this is a difficult balance to achieve.

The bottom line is this: The more abstracts you submit, the more likely one of them will be selected.

The Bottom Line

Big and popular conferences can be difficult to get an abstract selected. However, by understanding how the conference is organized and being in-line with what the organizers are looking for, you significantly increase your chances of having an abstract or two selected.

For IOUG 2016 , I think it distills down to this:

Finally, if you are serious about submitting to this years IOUG or any Oracle technical conference, you should read my post, 11 Ways To Get Your Oracle Database Conference Abstract Accepted. It is just as relevant as last year.

See you at the conference... I hope!


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Craig Shallahamer is a long time Oracle DBA who specializes in predictive analytics, machine learning and Oracle performance tuning. Craig is a performance researcher and blogger, consultant, author of two books, an enthusiastic conference speaker a passionate teacher and an Oracle ACE Director. More about Craig Shallahamer...

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me directly at craig at

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