Valid question and yes. Of course!
You might think getting speakers is a trivial task but in fact it's really not. So let's break things down some and provide a peek behind the curtain.
For us speakers can fit into a few different areas:
Keynoters. For me, keynotes drive inspiration, entertainment and are different than just the average session. I don't think ours will be any different in that regard either. thatConference is currently working with a few folks who fit that bill and we look forward to making that announcement when appropriate.
Sessions. This might be one of the harder things to decide on. When you get hundreds of sessions to pick from, that process can be brutal. Of course we're going to use technology to solve that problem but it still takes people. Yes we have over 100 sessions but when you start to break down all of the different technology areas, .NET, Ruby, Node, Cloud, HTML5, Mobile and on and on, those categories start to get really small. Bring your 'A' game and be creative.
Sponsored Sessions. Some partners get sessions slots, it's a fact and one we're not trying to hide that. Having said that, thatConference has a process in which it will work with our partners making sure the content is not only epic, but representative of the conference, well balanced and attractive.
Open Spaces. Open Spaces are a great way to tailor your conference experience beyond what is already in ink. To date we have had so many people reach out excited to speak but unfortunately not everyone will get a spot. Open Spaces help address this not only providing an opportunity to speak but speak in the non-traditional setting AND connect deeper with your peers at the conference.
This is all a delicate balance, one of which we take very seriously.
So when does call for speakers open? Our current sketched plan is to open call for speaker around April 1st. This isn't locked or some April fools joke but we want to announce our speaker lineup before registration. We also want to allow for enough time for people to plan their summer.
Start getting those creative abstracts ready.
a note from the past for the future -
One of the goals of mine as we are planning thatConference is to provide transparency into the process, a peek behind the curtain if you will. Maybe your trying to plan something too, and hopefully this provided you one ounce of help.