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Doing It For The Cause

Since the Netscape release in March 1998, I have been inundated with requests to speak at technical conferences, address user groups, and talk to corporate meetings about the Open Source concept. See my calendar of speaking engagements to find out when I might have time free.

What I will do

I'm willing to do all kinds of appearances. Open-source evangelism is my job now. I'll come to your meeting or presentation and donate my time. Yes, that's right, I'll do it for free (the first time, anyway). I accept honoraria, but I don't expect them and don't want to know about them in advance. I'm not doing this for money.

If you are not a local Linux user's group, you can make your request more attractive to me by scheduling a double-header with the local LUG or university.

In general, I like and will prefer proposals that allow me to do two or more events on the same out-of-town trip, so please look at my calendar and be creative. If I'm going to be in a city near you, consider coordinating with my sponsors to arrange a joint itinerary and lower costs for everybody.

(I'm free the first time. But if you're a profit-making entity and you decide you want my time on a regular basis, I'll have to think up a consulting rate.)

What you need to do

However, I don't have a regular income (still true, even though I'm theoretically wealth in IPO stock -- there's a lockout until June of 2000), so I can't afford to let these trips cost me money. Also, I hate sweating details and filling out expense forms. So you need to cover my travel and lodging expenses, and I want you to do it so I never have to lay out cash or fill out forms. (Also please bear in mind that I do not have a credit card. This is deliberate; I value my privacy.)

If there's air travel involved, I want my plane fare prepaid and prebooked. If there's a hotel stay needed I want the room tab guaranteed, incidentals and meals and all (no chintzy base-rate-plus-tax-only stuff; I loathe having to argue with the front desk).

If you're a cash-strapped user's group or small startup company, I'm a cheap date -- economy class and space on somebody's daybed, or half of an inexpensive hotel room, will do fine.

If you're a big company or a conference that charges admission, I expect you to pony up for business class or first class (so my travel exhaustion will be minimized) and I don't ever want to have to even look at the hotel bill. I don't use booze or have any other expensive tastes I can gratify on the road, so you don't have to worry about a bar tab or anything like that.

If you want me to be in the air for longer than four hours, you have to pay for business or first class no matter who you are. This rule is a function of the battery life of my laptop; the expensive classes have DC power connectors...

(My rules for who gets the cheap options used to be looser until a user's group put me through the special hell that is a twenty-two-hour Philadelphia-to-Melbourne run in economy class. Never again.)

Why these rules exist, and how they may change

I don't make these rules out of a love of luxury. I make them in order to keep my life simple and economize on my time, so I can stay focused on the issues and ideas that make me valuable to you.

These rules will probably change in the future. I'm getting enough requests to travel on these terms that I'm on the road about half the time (and it could easily be full time). At the rate requests are increasing, I will soon have to be far more selective than I have been up to now.

When I change the rules, it will be by requiring a stiff per-diem from for-profit groups and conferences that charge admission. Conditions for small LUGs not charging admission for my talks will remain unaffected.

The idea behind the per-diem fee wouldn't be to make money per se (I expect to be quite wealthy once the dust from the Linux IPOs has settled) but to separate the expensive conferences that attract powerful people from the marginal events where the hacker community would get less leverage from my presence.

Back to Eric's Home Page Up to Site Map $Date: 1999/12/10 19:45:27 $

Eric S. Raymond <>