Ruby for All

In this episode of 'Ruby For All', hosts Andrew and Julie welcome guest Kevin Murphy, Software Developer at Pubmark and member of the RailsConf program committee. The discussion kicks off with Andrew and Julie catching up, then transitions into an in-depth conversation about the RailsConf planning process. Kevin and Julie, the Speaker Liaison, share insights into the workings of the program committee, the selection criteria for conference talks, and the challenges and rewards of organizing RailsConf. Additionally, Kevin elaborates on his role in the committee, the theme for this year's conference, and his goals for impact, and Julie looks forward to supporting speakers and managing workshops. The episode emphasizes the importance of volunteer contributions to the success of RailsConf and encourages attendees to express their gratitude to the organizers, and to go check out all the details at and buy your tickets now!  Press download to hear more! 

[00:00:15] Andrew and Julie catch up, Andrew overslept after finishing a project, Julie was up late watching videos, and Andrew recommends the show “Invincible.”

[00:02:22] Kevin introduces himself and explains why he likes working with Ruby on Rails. 

[00:03:37] Kevin discusses the role of the RailsConf program committee, explains their responsibilities, including reviewing proposals and scheduling talks. 

[00:05:10] We learn what Kevin looks for in a conference talk proposal, emphasizing relevance to the theme and potential audience interest. Julie shares her perspective on reviewing proposals, considering both her emotional response and broader interests. 

[00:07:38] Kevin shares his first experience on the committee and discusses the time commitment involved and talks about the fairness of reviewing all proposals at once after the submission deadline. 

[00:11:03] Julie expresses her difficulty with the proposal reviewing process, suggesting that a grading scale might have been more effective for her. Kevin reflects on the surprises of the reviewing process and the difference between his perceptions and the rankings generated by the review system. 

[00:12:41] Julie adds that the difficulty in having to reject good talks due to overlapping topics or because they might fit better at another conference like RubyConf,

[00:13:09] Andrew asks if the proposers receive feedback on why their talks may be more suited for RubyConf, and Kevin explains that if they ask, Ruby Central will make their best effort to provide it.

[00:14:47] What’s been the most rewarding part of this experience for Kevin and Julie? Kevin finds the opportunity to impact the community through the program committee rewarding, and Julie says she’s waiting to see the full impact of her role as Speaker Liaison, which involves making speakers feel supported and pairing them with mentors.

[00:16:24] Kevin and Julie both explain how they were invited to join the program committee by Ufuk, who’s a member of the Ruby Central board, and Julie brings up a previous episode with Kevin on conference speaking. 

[00:17:52] Andrew asks what Kevin and Julie think the hardest part of will be being on the program committee at the conference. Kevin hopes his committee responsibilities won’t impact his conference experience too much, and Julie anticipates the challenge of not having as much personal downtime during the conference due to her responsibilities. 

[00:19:41] Kevin reflects on the subjective nature of selecting talks and how different perceptions among committee members can affect decisions. He emphasizes that rejected talks are not necessarily of poor quality but may not fit due to other reasons.

[00:21:02] Julie inquires about Kevin’s role on the program committee and how he feels so far. His role involves scheduling and organizing accepted talks and workshops, reviewing and giving feedback on rejected proposals, and just being available.

[00:22:00] Julie’s role is Speaker Liaison, helping speakers with their needs and feeling special, and helping with scheduling workshops. Kevin clarifies the concept of tracks at conferences and since there aren’t any this year, the goal is to align all talks with the overall theme of building with Rails. Julie mentions a blog post written by Kevin about the absence of tracks at RailsConf.

[00:23:28] Kevin shares his aspirations for his impact on RailsConf: ensuring a safe, educational experience for attendees, seeing first-time speakers succeed, and enjoying the mentorship process. Julie describes her motivation for becoming a Speaker Liaison: to provide a supportive experience for speakers. 

[00:25:03] RailsConf is happening in Detroit, May 7-9. Kevin expresses his excitement for various aspects, including the strong program and meeting friends, and urges everyone to visit, check the schedule, and get tickets. 

[00:28:19] Find out where you can follow Kevin online. 

Andrew Mason
Julie J

Kevin Murphy


Andrew Mason X/Twitter
Andrew Mason Website
Julie J. X/Twitter
Julie J. Website
Kevin Murphy Website
Ruby for All Podcast-Episode 50: The Art of Conference Speaking with Kevin Murphy
Tracks Not At RailsConf 2024-by Kevin Murphy
RailsConf-Detroit May 7-9, 2024
RailsConf Schedule
RailsConf Speakers
Invincible: Season 2 (Amazon Prime)
  • (00:00) - Introduction and Casual Catch-Up
  • (02:22) - Guest Introduction: Kevin Murphy on Ruby and Rails
  • (03:37) - Inside the RailsConf Program Committee: Roles and Responsibilities
  • (05:10) - What Makes a Great Conference Talk? Selection Criteria Explored
  • (07:38) - Behind the Scenes: Reviewing Conference Proposals
  • (11:03) - Challenges in Proposal Review: Fairness and Surprises
  • (12:41) - Rejection Reasons: When Good Talks Don’t Make the Cut
  • (13:09) - Feedback for Rejected Proposals: Bridging to RubyConf
  • (14:47) - Rewarding Aspects of Program Committee Work
  • (16:24) - Joining the Program Committee: Invitations and Insights
  • (17:52) - Preparing for RailsConf: Expectations and Challenges
  • (19:41) - The Subjectivity of Talk Selection: A Committee Perspective
  • (21:02) - Roles Deep Dive: Organizing Talks and Supporting Speakers
  • (23:28) - Goals and Aspirations for RailsConf Impact
  • (25:03) - RailsConf 2023 Preview: What to Expect in Detroit
  • (28:19) - Where to Follow Kevin: Online Presence and Contributions

Creators & Guests

Andrew Mason
Senior Product Developer at Podia, co-host of the Remote Ruby podcast, and co-editor of the Ruby Radar newsletter
Julie J
Software developer at Codecademy
Kevin Murphy
Full-stack Rails developer at BookBub.

What is Ruby for All?

A weekly Ruby focused podcast hosted by Andrew Mason and Julie J. Each week we discuss topics ranging from Ruby, Ruby on Rails, learning, how to be a better developer, and more. The focus is on providing a podcast that caters to junior Ruby on Rails developers.