Re: Funding Extropy Speakers, II

From: Chris Rasch (
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 04:33:17 MST

Max More wrote:

> Chris, we don't pay Extro speakers, and never have, though we pay varying
> amounts of speakers' expenses, depending on their level of interest and
> wealth. If we had to pay speakers we would be bankrupt, since we don't
> charge $3 - $4,000 like Wurman, or even $2 - $3,000 like many business
> conferences, or the $595 that Foresight charges for the Senior Associate
> meeting (not including $250 to become an SA) or the $675 + tutorial for the
> main Foresight conference. Even covering expenses for speakers not in
> California is difficult enough. [Contacts for possible corporate sponsors
> are very welcome!]

Thanks for your efforts to keep Extropy Institute keeps costs down. I
appreciate them very much. That said, I also want to see you and Exi become
wealthy and powerful. So I'm "thinking out loud" of ways that you might be
able to increase the money you take in from the conference, yet still keep it

My suggestions regarding speaking fees were intended to help attract
individuals who aren't necessarily Extropians, but who've achieved something
unusual and have at least some sympathies with Extropian thought. Why do

a. Expand the base of appeal for the conference. For example, if we could
get Dave Barry to speak, his presence would draw a lot of people (Barry fans,
journalists, students) who would likely never have come to an Extropy
conference. He'd probably write a column about the experience, exposing the
conference to a nation-wide audience.

b. We could learn from them, and many of them would be entertaining.

c. Some small percentage would drink the Kool Aid and become activitists for
Extropian causes themselves.

 However, individuals like Barry may not be willing to speak for free, because
they may have no pre-existing knowledge of the Extropy Institute. Offering a
speaking fee may increase their motivation to speak. Of course, once they
meet all the cool people who come to Exi conference, they will speak at future
conferences for free...:>

I understand that the Extropy Institute could not afford to pay speaking
fees--that's why I suggested the pre-paid speaking fee arrangement in an
earlier post. Extropy Institute charges a single price even though different
individuals may be willing to pay more. Allowing potential Exi conference
goers to pre-pay for speakers would allow those who're willing to pay more to
do so, giving them something in return (influence over the speaker list), yet
keeps the cost down for those who can't pay more.

On the other hand, the Extropian community is still relatively small, and the
amounts we could raise for a speaking fee may be considered insulting by
potential speakers. Also, many of the most attractive speakers will likely
be little motivated by money. One idea would be to offer to give the money to
speaker or to the charity of their choice (which could be Exi). That way, by
attending the Exi conference they a) raise funds for their favorite charity b)
get to meet cool people with interesting ideas.

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