Each year we get 1000s of applications to speak at SaaStr Annual and Europa, and on our podcast and Workshop Wednesdays.  Maybe 1% of applications get accepted.

But — it’s not that simple.  The best ones just leap off the page.  And there are clear reasons some of the ones “on the edge” get slotted and others don’t.  At least 50% of the ones that meet the bar get slotted.  At least half.

A few learnings from 10+ years of events and meet-ups:

  1. Before you submit a session, ask if you’d personally fly 3,000-5,000+ miles just to hear it yourself  Be honest.  If you are honest here, you won’t try to pitch your product.  Or recycle a talk you just did last week.  Or talk about something way too niche to matter.
  2. Understand that no one wants to come to a session from a company no one has ever heard of.  So why would they come to yours?  How about … bringing a co-speaker folks have heard of?  Or putting together a panel of your top customers?  Or the best CEOs or CROs or CCOs in the industry?  Then, someone will have heard of your co-speaker(s).
  3. Almost no one wants to hear a commercial for your product.  See point #1.  A few might — and we have ways to help our sponsors here.  But not a ton.
  4. More diverse sessions get a +50% attendance boost.  Period.  We’ve been doing this a long time.  White dudes without a co-speaker get half the attendance of a more diverse session.  Just about every single time.
  5. We don’t do recycled content — it doesn’t have legs.  Speaking tours have their place, but if you do the same content 100 times, it stops performing.  We don’t want it.  It doesn’t perform for us.  Once in a while, we bend a rule here for a big, well-known public company CEO.  And even there, it’s not worth it.  No one watches, reads, or listens later.
  6. We are committed to > 50% women speakers and > 60% less represented speakers.  How do you help?  Not everyone has these goals, but we have for many years.  Help us achieve our goals — odds you get slotted go up dramatically.

Like a lot of things where the odds seem against you — bend them, hack them, understand them.  And then the odds go way up.

For Annual 2023, Sep 6-8 in SF Bay Area, we’re fully slotted with an incredible speaker line-up right now. We’re full.  And yet … we always save a few slots for folks that meet the criteria above.

Also finally, submit a Braindate session.  The crowd also speaks.  The more popular your braindate, the more we promote it.  The best ones sometimes get 100s and 100s of attendees.

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