In case you were wondering what I’m thinking, here is my personal opinion regarding people who provide their GitHub profile as a reference when applying for a speaking opportunity.
A GitHub profile is completely irrelevant to me.
Why? Because being a good coder does not make one a good speaker. These are two completely different skill sets. I organized and attended countless conferences. At these events, I have seen speakers deliver great presentations without being awesome coders. I have seen amazing coders bore their audience to sleep. Above all, a speaker needs to have valuable ideas to share, and be able to explain them well. In any case, to properly gauge the technical skills of a person, I would need to do a code review, which is simply not feasible with hundreds of candidates.
So what is relevant to me? The best thing that I can hope for is a video. It can be as simple as a 2-minute recording done at home in front of a phone camera. Otherwise, I’ll look at a blog entry to see how they express themselves and whether they bring value to their audience. I’ll read a few exchanges on Twitter to see how well they interact with people. I’ll look up past speaking experience and feedback whenever it’s available. I’ll occasionally look for anything interesting in their LinkedIn profile. Basically, providing one or more of these references can greatly increase one’s chances of being selected, because I can only view so many result pages on Google until I give up.
I hope that this can help newcomers to increase their chances to speak at other conferences as well. I suspect that they have similar requirements.