Join Newsletter


The aim of YOW! events is to bring the best international experts to Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong for  cutting-edge content, community and conversation.  We want to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible and we do this by inviting speakers that are innovators in their field of expertise.

We feel it is important to include original innovators and will often invite the creators of ground breaking technologies.  We also look for those experts that have expertise in practical applications.

Speaker Nominations for YOW! Conference

The signature YOW! conferences held in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Singapore and Hong Kong feature invited speakers only.  Unlike many other conferences, for these events we do not put a call out for papers.  We brainstorm possible speakers at our YOW! events and take suggestions for potential speakers and topics from attendees and user groups.  We also ask for speaker nominations in the follow-up surveys we send out after our annual conferences.

Topic and speaker suggestions for our signature YOW! conferences can be made via the Suggestions page

Our CTO Summits in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and our speciality conferences such as Data and Lambda Jam feature a mix of invited speakers and speakers sourced through a Call for Presentations.

Speaker Selection Process

YOW! shares an independent Program Committee (PC) with the international GOTO conferences.  This Committee is made up of 8-10 people and its composition changes frequently. The members of the Committee are made up different nationalities, gender, technical specialties and geographic location.  This diverse mix allows us to draw on a range of experiences, contacts and expertise.

Selection Criteria

The Committee has the responsibility of selecting from 30+ topics and 400+ nominated potential speakers.  The selection process is based on, but not limited to:

  • speaker ratings from other presentations
  • previous speaking history
  • expertise in their field
  • topic area
  • nomination
  • references

We also take into consideration the number of times a speaker may have presented at the Conference previously as we want to continually challenge ourselves to keep the agenda and content fresh and different.

Speakers Invited to YOW! Conferences

The wishlist of speakers is sent an invitation to attend by the Committee on behalf of YOW!.  Each year we also invite a small number of nominated local speakers and, where possible, have them speak globally.

The number of speakers we invite to attend and the number of those that are able to do so varies each year.  Many of our potential speakers are based in North America and Europe and attending the signature YOW! Conferences means committing to being away from work and families for 2 weeks.  While many are keen to visit Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong, for others a break of that length is not feasible.

Because of the commitment required from our speakers, we put considerable effort into making YOW! an enjoyable experience for them.  This effort has paid off.  Not only have we received a lot of positive feedback from speakers that have visited Australia with YOW!  but YOW! has also been rated as a top global tech conference by our speakers.

As a speaker, I highly recommend the YOW conferences because of the quality of the audiences: it’s such a joy to talk to and with smart, motivated, actively engaged engineers. I’d pay my way to the conference just for that opportunity. Even better, I don’t have to pay my way because the YOW organisers took excellent care of me. So if you’re invited to speak: accept!

Bjorn Freeman-Benson
CTO - Invision

YOW is a truly unique experience – it’s hard to know where to begin listing all of its attractions. First and foremost, speakers receive true VIP treatment, perhaps more so than at any other conference. And they travel together over the weekend to repeat the conference in another Australian city, giving speakers plenty of opportunities to meet up over the weekend and exchange stories with each other. Great beaches entice many speakers to spend a bit of extra time before returning to winter weather. And last but not least, the conferences fill to capacity with smart people who are eager to learn. Don’t pass up an opportunity to speak at YOW – it’s great fun.

Mary Poppendieck
Author - Lean Software Development

I find the YOW! Conference to be a unique experience all around. The conference is well-organized and well run. As speakers, we are really taken care of. In addition to getting to see a bit of Australia the conferences are also a unique experience. Where else do you get to hear talks that bend your mind, challenge your beliefs about future technology directions, and get to hang out with some thought leaders in our field for a week? The Australian folks are great, too. They’re inquisitive, insightful, and if you happen to give a tutorial they’ll keep you on your toes and share a lot of their own insights/experiences. This has been a unique opportunity. I’m glad I got to be a YOW! speaker.

Rebecca Parsons
CTO - Thoughtworks

The YOW conference draws on a wonderful group of speakers and attendees mixing the quirky with the controversial and the pragmatic with the pensive to brilliant effect. Over the years I’ve been involved with YOW it’s never disappointed and is a conference that I look forward to and gladly travel to, even from half a world away. It’s fabulous.

Jim Webber
Chief Scientist - Neo4j

The Australian participants are a joy to work with — lots of interaction and thought-provoking questions. The conference organizers are superb — very caring, always looking out for us! The YOW Team knows how to throw a great party :-)!

Linda Rising
Consultant, Speaker, Author - Fearless Change

I enjoyed YOW! very much. The audience is alert and engaged; the talks are interesting and not nearly as product-focused as other developer conferences; and the YOW team do a terrific job of looking after the speakers. It’s a busy week, but a lot of fun.

Simon Peyton-Jones
Principal Researcher - Microsoft Research