I decided not to submit to the CFP for any LnuxFests this year. Bethlynn from Ohio LinuxFest was surprised to not see me on Southeast LinuxFest's speaker list and asked why. I told her I didn't submit anything to SELF and would not be submitting to OLF either. I'm not doing public speaking this year.
On the one hand, I'm taking a break. Coming up with new topics that I feel comfortable with is hard. Plus, I know I end up working on slides the night before and therefore missing out on the Friday night party.
On the other hand, I've spoken three times at Ohio and once at Southeast now. LinuxFests are a great environment for new speakers to get their first experience speaking in front of a few hundred people. It would get boring to end up with an "old guard" taking up a chunk of the speaking slots every year. I wanted to step back and make way for some new blood. I don't have a list of everyone who's spoken at Ohio LinuxFest and what years they did that (though that might be interesting), but I do have a list of all the women who spoke at OLF. Catherine Devlin, Dru Lavigne, and I all spoke at OLF the last two years. Dru was at SELF last year and will be speaking there again this year. I'm sure if I had a list of all the men who'd spoken there, I'd find a similar group who'd spoken repeatedly at the Eastern-US fests.
I'd really like to see some new faces applying to speak at these fests. Ohio extended their call for proposals to 1 June, so if you think you've got something to say, please submit a proposal. If you know someone who doesn't yet know they have something to say, please inform them and get them to submit a proposal. The first time I spoke at OLF I was insistent that I couldn't possibly have anything to talk about that everyone there didn't already know better. Remember: everyone is someone else's guru.