web analytics

Rejected by EuroIA

The blog posts that I tag with Props are not-so-subtle pats on the back for all my hard work and determination to make a difference. Since I spend enough time tooting my own horn, I thought it only fair to share some disappointment with you as well.

Today I received an email from Eric Reiss, chair of EuroIA 2009, informing me that my presentation proposal had been rejected. I had submitted Evangelizing Yourself, the presentation that I gave at IA Summit in Memphis this March, and was asked to reprise at the Reduxes in NYC and DC.

I had felt that the presentation was well received both in person and online, and I looked forward to sharing it with the European UX community at EuroIA.

Given that I submitted the exact same proposal to EuroIA that I had submitted to IA Summit, I was caught off guard by the diametrically opposed feedback. So in order to provide a different perspective on the topic, I felt it only appropriate to post the reviewer comments here for your reading pleasure. I look forward to your thoughts!

Dear Whitney Hess:

I’m really sorry to inform you that your submission was not selected by the program committee for inclusion at EuroIA 2009:

Evangelizing Yourself: You Can’t Change the World If
No One Knows Your Name

Even though our call for papers was only open for about 10 days, the quality of the submissions this year was really outstanding. Moreover, there were a LOT of them – in fact over 40 rolled in during the last hour before the deadline.

Alas, due to time and space limitations, we could only choose a small fraction of the submitted papers to appear on the program. The full list of speakers and presentations should be available on our website by late next week.

I have enclosed the reviewer comments, which may be useful to you. They’re at the very bottom of this page. Please note, that not all reviewers provided specific comments, only their numerical evaluation from 1-5 where 5 is the best. Also, during the final round of voting, the committee had to limit their choices, so even some submissions that received high scores, ultimately had to be rejected.

Naturally, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to get in touch. And under all circumstances, I hope you’ll can attend the conference.

Warmest regards,
Eric

- – - – - – - – - – -
Eric Reiss, Chair
EuroIA 2009
www.euroia.org

============================================================================
EuroIA 2009 Reviews for Submission #252
============================================================================

Title: Evangelizing Yourself: You Can’t Change the World If No One Knows Your Name

Authors: Whitney Hess
============================================================================
REVIEWER #1
============================================================================

—————————————————————————
Reviewer’s Scores
—————————————————————————

My rating of this Submission: 2 Poor
Accept this paper?: No

—————————————————————————
Comments
—————————————————————————

This does not have to do with information architecture. Quite apart from that I do not this this is apropriate for our conference, this is a very thin submission.

============================================================================
REVIEWER #2
============================================================================

—————————————————————————
Reviewer’s Scores
—————————————————————————

My rating of this Submission: 4 Good submission
Accept this paper?: Yes

—————————————————————————
Comments
—————————————————————————

Interesting topic for practicioneers not only IA’s

============================================================================
REVIEWER #3
============================================================================

—————————————————————————
Reviewer’s Scores
—————————————————————————

My rating of this Submission: 2 Poor
Accept this paper?: No

============================================================================
REVIEWER #4
============================================================================

—————————————————————————
Reviewer’s Scores
—————————————————————————

My rating of this Submission: 3 Nothing Special
Accept this paper?: No

============================================================================
REVIEWER #5
============================================================================

—————————————————————————
Reviewer’s Scores
—————————————————————————

My rating of this Submission: 2 Poor
Accept this paper?: Yes

—————————————————————————
Comments
—————————————————————————

Funny but not exciting

============================================================================
REVIEWER #6
============================================================================

—————————————————————————
Reviewer’s Scores
—————————————————————————

My rating of this Submission: 2 Poor
Accept this paper?: No

============================================================================
REVIEWER #7
============================================================================

—————————————————————————
Reviewer’s Scores
—————————————————————————

My rating of this Submission: 3 Nothing Special
Accept this paper?: No

—————————————————————————
Comments
—————————————————————————

Submission is thin, nevertheless the goal of the presentation is a useful one. IA’s in Europe would benefit from knowing ways to promote themselves better ‘globally’.

If there is a ‘self development’ type track at the conference – this should be on it.

Related Posts:

Stay in Touch

Be the first to get my regular updates on user experience and compassion in business.

  • Lynne Polischuik

    I only saw this presentation through the webcast of the NYC Redux last month but I certainly didn't find it to be 'thin'. While it definitely wasn't a technical presentation I thought the intent and the message was an important one. One of the hardest things in this industry is evangelizing and showing the inherent value of the work we do. A bit of coaching and advice around how to navigate these waters was something I really welcomed.

    It's unfortunate that this doesn't fit the program EuroIA wants to promote, but they probably should add a 'self development' or 'business development' type track if they don't have one. I drifted over to UX after years spent dealing with search optimization and this one area I always felt the various SEM conferences covered well–how to promote yourself, how to manage projects, how to communicate our unique value proposition to clients. Enrichment of this sort only makes the industry stronger. We can only help make experiences better if people know we're here and available to do it.

  • http://erielookingproductions.info Stephen Michael Kellat

    Ouch! That has got to be the most verbose rejection letter for a conference. I've never seen the votes like that before in notes I've gotten.

    Being in Las Vegas, I didn't get to witness your original presentation live. I can only assume from the “thin” remarks in the comments that the reviewers wanted hardware involved. As technology alone does not make the world go round, it is unfortunate they went that way.

    Still, good work getting reviewed. How many folks don't even get that far?

  • http://twitter.com/craigmelbourne Craig Melbourne

    That's a shame. Us EuroIA peeps could do with some pointers in the art of self development and promotion as we're clearly rubbish at it (apart from the clearleft and dopplr gangs). Is this on slideshare?

  • http://www.yahnyinlondon.com yahnyinlondon

    Ouch, funnily enough last night I finally got around to writing up the Top 10 sessions I wished I'd seen at the IA Summit and yours was on there!
    Hope you'll still attend the conference, despite the rejection.

  • http://twitter.com/gabbyhon Gabby

    I think what we have here is fundamental clash of cultures: the very notion of self-promotion is not one that people outside the U.S. tend to be very comfortable with. This, of course, goes along with the tiresome perception of Americans as arrogant and self-aggrandizing. Had the conference organizers taken time to listen to the recording of your presentation, I think they might have understood its nature more clearly.

    • http://www.cennydd.co.uk/ Cennydd

      I'm not sure that's really the case. Just as Americans aren't necessarily arrogant and self-aggrandizing, Europeans aren't necessary culturally averse to promotion. We're complex, multi-dimensional people too :)

      I'm sure the reviewers understood the nature of Whitney's proposal – I think it's just more likely that EuroIA has a different set of criteria to IA Summit. Ian Fenn gives a good analysis of it below. It's also worth pointing out that the conference organisers couldn't listen to the recording since it was a blind submission.

  • http://infinityplusone.com/ Yoni

    You kinda gotta wonder about Reviewer #5. Rated the submission “2 – Poor,” but still accepted it. Apparently, humor is particularly important to that one.

  • http://epcostello.net/ e.p.c.

    Knowing nothing about the potential costs involved, why not go anyway? Grab a space in a hallway or spare room and hold an informal session.

  • http://www.chopstixmedia.com/ Ian Fenn

    Before I comment, I'd like to make clear my connection with EuroIA. I am the current 'UK country ambassador' for the conference. My role is simple: to encourage fellow IAs in the UK (and others generally) to submit proposals, attend the conference or otherwise participate. That is all. Otherwise, I am not involved in the organisation of the conference and did not participate in the reviewing of submissions. So, what follows is my personal opinion. I am not speaking on behalf of EuroIA or anyone involved with its organisation.

    If I understand correctly, you submitted to EuroIA an identical talk to the one you did at the IA Summit. It is unclear whether you updated the talk (or proposal) to reflect the needs of EuroIA and its attendees.

    As you know, I saw you do the presentation at the IA Summit and complimented you on it afterwards. I really did enjoy it. However, I do think your talk would have needed a great deal of work to reflect the needs of a diverse European audience of IAs and UX professionals. Otherwise, you would simply be a USA citizen visiting Europe to tell Europeans what has worked for you in the USA – and I wonder how valuable that would be to the majority of attendees?

    EuroIA is a smaller conference than the IA Summit. There has never, to my knowledge, been a self-development or business development track, and I'll be surprised if I see one there this year. Diversity across Europe would be a significant problem in determining content. Yes, the UX industry is pretty advanced in the UK, but what about other countries?

    In many ways, EuroIA has a difficult task: it aims to reflect and deliver against the diversity of IA and UX practice across a variety of countries and cultures.

    Another point to bear in mind regarding the review process is that it's possible that the majority of the reviewers are reviewing proposals in their second language, English. So, their responses may seem terse as a result. To those poking fun, I ask how they would cope if they were reviewing a number of papers in a language other than their native own?

    Whitney, I hope you will still attend EuroIA as an attendee and discover Europe for yourself. Network with other IAs and discuss how the approaches mentioned in your original presentation would need to differ for difference countries across Europe. Then, next year, who knows?

  • http://theredheadsaid.com/ Charlene Jaszewski

    I have seen Whitney's presentation, and as much as I loved it as an “inspirational” piece, i can see how they think it doesn't really fit the mold as a strictly IA presentation. I agree with the earlier poster who suggested it for a “self improvement” track presentation though! I wonder if we are more enamored about our self-improvement over here in the states?

  • http://twitter.com/romneymarsh joanna attree

    I have to agree with Charlene above. Depending on the focus of the conference it could clearly be off-topic, and score low just on that basis. Equally, Europe is definitely not so much into self-promotion as the US is. It is seen as something slightly naff (cheaply unfashionable) that salespeople do.

    Also, I find it slightly strange that you chose to reprint your rejection letter. Even as a case study it still smacks of sour grapes on your part. But again, perhaps that is another cultural difference.

  • ericreiss

    For what it's worth, several of the reviewers saw Whitney's original presentation in Memphis, myself included. We all liked it. Yet we unanimously agreed that with around 18 slots to fill and 100 submissions to choose from, this particular talk was not our best choice. Moreover, we have always favored European presenters and/or submissions that present a uniquely European perspective and have never hid this fact.

    May I add that there are also internal reviewer comments that we do not share with submitters for various reasons – for instance, some reviewers don't want to see their frank and open sentiments find their way to a personal blog such as this.

    But to summarize, your submission neither fit the theme or tone of the conference and you were called out on this by your peers who reviewed your submission. In short, Whitney, it's too bad you couldn't accept the rejection graciously and move on.

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      Eric, I greatly appreciate your comments many months after the post, but please don't assume that I wasn't able to “accept the rejection graciously and move on.” That is in fact exactly what I did. I share my pleasures on this blog, and share my pains. Not getting to present at EuroIA was a disappointment for me, and I felt it was relevant to share with the community who has given me so much. It's important to me that people be equally aware of my successes and my setbacks.

      I look forward to submitting to EuroIA next year.

  • ericreiss

    And we really look forward to welcoming you over to our side of the pond. In fact, I'd love for you to join us in Copenhagen this Friday and Saturday – registration is still open. As you may know, we have the IA Jam Session on Friday night, which gives anyone interested a chance to “strut their stuff.”

    As to my late response to your initial blogpost, I only saw it today after one of the original reviewers complained that her comments appeared online.