Week 14: To My Fellow Procrastinators

Check out the stats for on-deadline DAC paper submissions.

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“The psychological principle is this: Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” — Robert Benchley, American humorist, 1930

Are you a procrastinator? For the record, I am. My creative juices flow much better when I’m under deadline. However my tendency to delay does have downside. Last weekend we had planned to go backpacking in Three Sisters Wilderness. I love that part of Central Oregon, especially when the kids are back in school as it is really serene and quiet up there – well, apart from my younger Schnauzer Diesel, who is rather protective of us, the tent, the food, the lake, the trail, the mountain… But work got in the way. I’ve been dragging my feet on a keynote for Mentor’s Greg Hinckley, so instead if hiking and camping I was stuck in my little office at home working away on it.

Our industry must be full of procrastinators. Last year, a week before the deadline to send in abstracts for DAC papers, just 26 had been received, according to Kathy Embler at MP Associates, the management company that runs the conference. By the day before the deadline 147 had been received. And on the deadline day itself, the avalanche: 601 submissions came in. Talk about waiting until the eleventh hour!

Submitting a paper just before the deadline might impact your blood pressure, though it won’t hurt your chances for an acceptance. However there are many other examples where tardiness might have drawbacks. One is the case of signing up to be an exhibitor. I understand the value of waiting before making a commitment to industry events, of which there are too many to count. But DAC stands apart in many ways, from a reputation perspective and otherwise (not that I’m biased). By delaying, companies risk losing out on the most valuable space on the show floor in terms of foot traffic or proximity to a larger company that might help draw welcome attention.

The same principle applies when it comes to submitting ideas for panels, tutorials, and workshops. At this point in the year, DAC seems far away and it’s nearly impossible to solicit ideas, though we will happily consider any that we receive. The experience of those of us on the executive committee is that a few months before the conference, people start clamoring for speaking opportunities — and are increasingly frustrated as content slots fill up.

And there can be a penalty for dawdling on sponsorships. While there are a limited number of the most visible sponsorship opportunities, of course we’re happy to work with any company that might want to support the conference in any way. We can’t stop the march of time though. The bottom line is that companies that sign up earlier get more mileage out of branding opportunities, including those on the DAC website, emails and social media channels.

Yes, I’m cringing slightly as I type this as I realize that social media and the web in general are responsible for procrastination of all types. This February article in The Telegraph cites an array of alarming survey data on the topic, including that more than 60% of respondents claim to have lost their train of thought because they checked email or responded to a social media notification.

What were we talking about again? Oh, right, DAC and deadlines. Don’t wait until they start to loom to think about submitting a paper or content idea, or signing up to be an exhibitor or sponsor. The call for submissions is coming next week! And as you well know by now, I’m always eager to hear your ideas.



  • I took a quick look at the 52nd DAC Exhibitor map, and see that 120 exhibitors have already signed up. Last years total was 195 and included the ARM Connected , Constellation IP and Automotive Village Communities. So I think we are off to a great start.