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Speaking at VanJS

A typical VanJS event has two presentation slots, each between 20 and 45 minutes long. Each slot may be either filled by a feature talk, or by a set of 2-4 lightning talks of roughly 5 minutes each.

Who speaks at VanJS? You do! Here are the guidelines we use to guide what talks we schedule, so you can consider what you’d like to present on.

As of December, 2018

  • Speaker Lead Generator: Jeremy Gonzalez
  • Presentation and Topic Coordinator: Shawn McKay


  • Ideally a feature presentation tells some kind of story, with a beginning, middle, and an end. For example: a problem, some lessons learned, and the new way of looking at things that came out of it.
  • New and exciting features and APIs released by browsers and popular JS frameworks are perennial popular topics.
  • Ambitious projects and demos also make good talks. If your project is getting the browser to do something that is rather hard, or people wouldn’t expect to work in a browser, there’s often a good presentation to be had there.
  • Hard-won lessons make good talks as well. If your team tried something, and it was hard – whether it succeeded or failed – you likely learned something you could share.
  • Topic variation is a key theme of VanJS. There are React meetups and CSS meetups and Ember meetups, but at VanJS we have a chance to show different topics from month to month, and pair up topics on different technologies, and feature some “softer” topics about software engineering more generally.

Advanced vs. Beginner Content

  • It’s more enjoyable to see a talk that blows your mind and inspires you to learn more, than it is to see a talk that’s boring because you already know the content. With that in mind, we encourage presenters to aim for talks with intermediate or senior developers in mind.
  • Even though VanJS content is most often aimed at intermediate developers, VanJS is an inclusive event and we get lots of bright and aspiring new developers attending. Speakers should not condescend new developers or people coming from different development backgrounds.


  • VanJS has not done a good enough job on speaker diversity historically, so we are putting in extra effort to contact potential speakers who may be from underrepresented groups in tech. Diverse talent adds strength and resilience to the creative process. More diverse speakers bring out more diverse audiences, which is good for the group and Vancouver’s tech community as a whole.
  • It’s nice to have one speaker from out of town. Not every VanJS needs an out of town speaker, but reaching out to folks who are known in the JS community and inviting them to present helps attract new attendees to VanJS, increasing the diversity and liveliness of the group.
  • Obviously, speakers and their presentations must abide by our code of conduct.

Proposing a Talk

Inspired by SeattleJS, we’re trialling taking talk proposals via GitHub issues. If you have a topic you’d like to present, head on over to our issues and make a pitch!

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