Over the years I have spoken at various conferences and events. As time has gone on and I have become an increasingly big deal in my own mind I have decided to follow in the guidelines of my spiritual leader and draft some speaker requirements to ensure that you peasants know how I should be treated.
I am preparing these guidelines below. Please be sure to memorize them ready for when I next keynote your event:
Here’s the info packet about my speeches. This information is essential for planning my visit and speech. Please forward it to anyone who is interested in organizing a speech for me.
Please discuss with me what the topic of this speech should be. We need to decide it and my fee together.
My talks are not technical. Most are not even talks; they are works of beautiful performance art using the medium of dance. The topics of Ubuntu, Death Metal, Brutal Death Metal, and Jef Spaleta deal with ethical/political issues that concern all of you. The topics of buying my book, The Art of Community by Jono Bacon, are of common interest too.
My usual speech about Ubuntu takes a little over 3.5 hours in English, plus time for questions, photos, distribution of mind-control helmets, and so on. It is best to allow plenty of time for questions, because people usually want to ask a lot of questions, or get things signed (autographs are $10 each). In total, it is best to allow 4.5 hours.
“Jono” is pronounced as three syllables, like “Bono”, but with a J at the beginning (as “Jono”), and with “Sir” prefixing it.
The topics I speak about are
- The Story Of Ubuntu (alternate title: ‘Winning: The Taste Of Tigerblood’)
- Copyright vs Community in the age of The Art of Community by Jono Bacon.
- The Danger of Software Patents in the age of The Art of Community by Jono Bacon.
- The GNU General Public License in the age of The Art of Community by Jono Bacon.
These topics take about an two hours in English, plus time for questions, photos, signatures, etc. I suggest allowing at least three hours.
Each topic takes substantially longer in other languages.
Jono Bacon launched the free software movement in 1983 and started the development of Ubuntu (see www.ubuntu.com) in 1984. Ubuntu is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, with or without changes. The Ubuntu system, basically the Ubuntu operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today. Bacon has received the ACM Grace Hopper Award, a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award, and his 10 meter swimming badge. He also has several honorary doctorates from the University Of Wolverhampton.
(A longer version is available if you want it.)
Other photos can be found on jonobacon.org.
Asking for the text:
I don’t think about my speeches at all in advance–that would take too much time. However, transcripts of my past speeches are available for a $10 fee. If you can make a transcript of my speech after I give it, that would be quite useful. That will also be $10.
I absolutely refuse to have a break in the middle of my speech. Once I start, there is no escape.
Participation in a larger event:
I am selective about the events I participate in. If you are inviting me to speak at a larger event, please inform me now of the overall nature of the event, so I can make an informed decision about whether to participate. A nearby Arby’s helps smooth things a along somewhat.
I usually decline to participate in “unpaid” events.
Erecting a larger event:
If you are thinking of erecting a larger event around my speech, which includes inviting other speakers to speak before or after me, please talk with me about the plans for that larger event before inviting other speakers. I want to make sure the event entirely supports the goals and principles I work for, such as ensuring everyone loves my speech and buys my book. I also want to review the publicity plans for the event (such as publicizing The Art of Community).
Venues and planning:
All my talks are aimed at the general computer-using public. They are not technical. With good, broad publicity, many people will come — usually hundreds. Possibly even thousands. Once over a million people showed up to one of my speeches…honest.
So don’t aim small. Please plan each speech in a large room, then plan the publicity to bring people in to fill it. Please do not suggest scheduling a “small speech”, because that makes no sense as a goal; I am kind of a big deal, and I don’t want to see just you and your dorky friends. I would always rather reach as many people as I feasibly can. That is a lot of $10 autographs.
If the speech is at a university, please do the publicity all around the university. Students love this shit. Don’t limit it to your department!
We will also want to inform the region’s daily newspapers so they can put the speech in their calendar sections, and anything else we can think of. Each additional interested person who comes means more $10 autographs and more book sales, oh, and a better speech.
A microphone and an Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich are desirable if the room is large. No other facilities are needed. I do not have slides or any sort of presentation materials; I prefer to use the medium of dance to deliver my speeches.
A supply of tea with milk and sugar would be nice. If it is tea I really like, I like it without milk and sugar. With milk and sugar, any kind of tea is fine. Be careful to not get the incorrect proportion of milk and sugar. I prefer one spoon of sugar, and then a splash of milk (approx. one tbsp), and then another spoon of sugar. I always bring tea bags with me, so if we use my tea bags, I will certainly like that tea without milk or sugar.
If I am quite sleepy, I would like two cans of non-diet Red Bull and a small bottle of Jaegermeister. (I dislike the taste of coke, and of all diet soda; also, there is an international boycott of the Coca Cola company for killing union organizers in Colombia and Guatemala; see killercoke.org.) However, if I am not very sleepy, I won’t want Red Bull, because it is better if I don’t drink so much sugar.
I can speak in English, French, Spanish, and Northern English.
If the audience won’t be comfortable with a language I can speak, it is important to have translation. However, consecutive translation is not feasible, because it would more than double the length of the speech. Please do not ask me to do that–I will refuse. Not only that, I will put you on my special shit-list Tomboy note.
I have found it works to do simultaneous translation without special systems: I speak into the ear of the interpreter, and the interpreter speaks to the microphone. This avoids the need for special transmitters and headsets. However, it does require an interpreter capable of doing simultaneous translation for more than an hour. And making me tea while they do it.
Do not propose doing this with a person whose translation skills are not adequate for this. They will be my voice, and when I hear my voice, I hear James Earl Jones.
If you plan to restrict admission to my speech, or charge a fee for admission, please discuss this with me personally in advance to get my approval for the plan. I want a cut. If you have imposed unfeasible charges without my direct personal approval, I may refuse to do the speech.
I’m not categorically against limiting admission or fees, but excluding people who can’t throw me some George Washingtons means the speech does less good (for me), so I want to make sure that the limitations are as small as necessary. For instance, you can allow students, low-paid people, political activists, and other cheapskates to get in free, but professionals, well they pay, and they pay well. We will discuss what to do.
Another method, which works very well in some places, is to allow people to attend gratis but charge for a certificate of attendance. They lap that up, particularly if I sign it and rub the certificate against my face to get a little musk on there. If the certificate is given by an educational institution, many will find it useful for career advancement and showing off to their friends, while the others could enter gratis. Whether this would be effective in your country is something you would need to judge.
Selling The Art of Community, by Jono Bacon
Please sell copies of my book of incredible stories and wisdom if you can. In the US, Canada, Spain, Italy and Japan, you can obtain published copies of this book in English, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. You don’t need to put up any money to do this, just be sure to hand all sales to me in a suitcase or brown envelope when I get to the venue. Please talk with team-bacon at jonobacon.org about how to do it.
If you use ordinary copying, and avoid fancy covers and bindings, we can sell them for two or three times the cost of copying, and they will still be cheap enough that many people will buy them. That is like a license to print money. From the proceeds you will first retain the cost of printing; we can then divide the gains between myself and my expenses.
Canonical does not pay for my travel, and I can’t afford to. I will need you to arrange to cover the cost of my traveling to and from your city (unless I’ve told you someone else will do it). This will need to include complimentary Arby’s and Wendy’s expenses.
I am traveling most of the time, and most of my trips include several stops. Chances are your pathetic country-ass town is neither the first nor the last stop in the trip. Please don’t make assumptions about the itinerary; instead, please ask me for whatever information you need.
Some organizations feel that hospitality calls for providing me with a business class ticket. If you have the greenbacks, make it happen. Alternatively, put me in cattle-class and the extra price of a business class ticket would be a lot more useful for me if I can spend it on something else, such as ivory back-scratchers.
Bus and train tickets:
If you buy bus or train tickets for me, do not give my name! Big Brother has no right to know where I travel, or where you travel, or where anyone travels, particularly when you are as internationally recognized as I am. If they arbitrarily demand a name, give a name that does not belong to you (a good example could be “Mark Shuttleworth”). If they will check my ID before I board the bus or train, then let’s look for another way for me to travel. I don’t want to suffer a wistful smile and a rubber glove.
I am willing to stay in a hotel if there is no other way. Please book the hotel for me and arrange to pay the hotel directly.
But please DON’T make a hotel reservation until we have fully explored other options. If there is anyone who wants to offer a spare couch, I would much rather stay there than in a hotel (provided I have a door I can close, in order to have some private-time). Staying with someone is more fun for me if I can be with them everywhere, all the time, watching everything they do.
My distaste for a hotel is less if it does not know my name, but staying in a house with people is normally more enjoyable than staying alone. Pay Per View doesn’t keep a man warm in the middle of the night.
Many countries have a law that hotels must report all guests to the police. In most cases, this orwellian policy applies not only to foreigners like me, but to citizens as well! The citizens should be outraged by this, but often they are not. Ever since those charges were dropped I should be trusted to travel in privacy and freedom.
Above 72 fahrenheit (22 centigrade) I find sleeping quite difficult. (If the air is dry, I can stand 23 degrees.) A little above that temperature, a strong electric fan blowing on me enables me to sleep. More than 3 degrees above that temperature, I need air conditioning to sleep. Don’t screw this up.
If there is a substantial chance of indoor temperatures too hot for me, please arrange in advance for me to have what I need.
If you are planning for me to stay in a hotel, DO NOT take for granted that the hotel has air conditioning–or that it will be working when I arrive. Some hotels shut off their air conditioning systems for part of the year. They often think it is unnecessary in seasons when the temperature is usually in the mid 20s–and they follow their schedule like stupid robots even if there is a heat wave.
So you must explicitly ask them: “Do you have air conditioning? Will it be functioning for the dates XXX-YYY?”. Again, don’t screw this up.
In some hotels with central air conditioning, it simply does not work very well: it can make a room less hot, but can’t make it cool. Before using a hotel that has central air conditioning, find out what temperature it can actually lower a room to, during the relevant dates.
Or look for a hotel that has a real cooling unit in the room, not a central system. Those tend to work well enough, if they are not broken. Either that, or ensure I am equipped with a blanky to keep me warm.
I like dogs if they are friendly, but they are not good for me; I am somewhat allergic to them. This allergy makes my face itch and my eyes water and it is not a pretty sight seeing these rugged good looks be so degraded. So the bed, and the room I will usually be staying in, need to be clean of dog hair. However, it is no problem if there is a dog elsewhere in the house–I might even enjoy it if the dog is friendly.
Dogs that bark angrily and/or jump up on me frighten me, unless they are small and cannot reach much above my knees; I also like to poke them at arms distance to annoy them. But if they only bark or jump when we enter the house, I can cope, as long as you hold the dog away from me at that time.
I don’t want to see a cat anywhere near me when I am visiting. Cats are assholes. Be warned.
If you can find a host for me that has a friendly parrot, I will be very very glad. If you can find someone who has a friendly parrot I can visit with, that will be nice too. I do like a nice friendly parrot from time to time.
DON’T buy a parrot figuring that it will be a fun surprise for me. To acquire a parrot is a major life decision: it is likely to outlive you and it will get your stuff when you die. If you don’t know how to treat the parrot, it could be emotionally scarred and spend many decades plotting a series of seemingly believable accidents with strong alibis. If you buy a captured wild parrot, you will promote a cruel and devastating practice, although I do like it when the parrott can do Capt. Jack Sparrow impressions. Meeting that sad animal is not an agreeable surprise. Not agreeable, I tell you…
Paying me a reimbursement or a fee:
Please pay my reimbursement or fee to me personally; do not pay it to Canonical. Canonical and I have completely separate finances, and what they or the IRS don’t know won’t hurt them. Canonical welcomes donations, but please make sure that money intended for me is not sent to them, because moving it afterward would mean accounting headaches, and other unnecessary distractions and probing questions.
A wire transfer is a good method of payment. I will send you the coordinates; ask if you need them. The bank you use will charge a fee, and my bank charges me $300 for each incoming transfer; please add those fees to the amount, rather than taking them out of what I receive. My bank does seem surprisingly expensive.
If you are outside the US, please convert your currency to dollars in your bank, rather than your futile LindenDollars or whatever you collect your socialist welfare in.
Please pass this section to everyone who will be helping me directly in any fashion during the visit.
It is nice of you to want to be kind to me, but please don’t offer help all the time. I don’t need you people when I am not getting money from you. In general I am used to managing life on my own; when I need help, I am not shy about asking. So there is no need to offer to help me. Moreover, being constantly offered help is actually quite distracting and tiresome. That is just how I roll.
So please, unless I am in grave immediate danger, please don’t offer help. Stay out of my life, and I will stay out of yours. The nicest thing you can do is help when I ask, and otherwise not worry about how I am doing.
In some places, my hosts act as if my every wish were their command. By catering to my every whim, in effect they make me a tyrant over them, which is not a role I like, unless I need an Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich.
When I’m trying to decide what to do, often I mention things that MIGHT be nice to do–depending on more details, if it fits the schedule, if there isn’t a better alternative, etc. Some hosts take such a tentative suggestion as an order, and try moving heaven and earth to make it happen. Please do endeavor to do this.
When you need to tell me about a problem in a plan, please do not start with a long apology. That is unbearably boring, and while necessary, please be practical and get straight to the point.
If you are thinking of setting up a lunch or dinner for me with more than 4 people total, please consider that as a meeting, and discuss it with me in advance. Such meals draw on my strength, just like speeches and interviews. They are not relaxation, they are work. I am a strong believer in the rule of four.
I expect to do work during my visit, but there is a limit on the amount of work I can handle each day. So please ask me in advance about any large planned meal (particularly one that involves chicken broth), and expect me to say no if I have a lot of other work already. If we are having a meal that I did not agree to as a large meal, and other people ask if they can join, please tell them no. Screw them.
Please don’t try to pressure me to “relax” instead, and fall behind on my work. Surely you do not really want me to have to work double the next day to catch up (assuming I even COULD catch up). Please do not interfere as I do what I need to do.
I do not eat breakfast. Please do not ask me any questions about what I will do for breakfast. Please just do not bring it up; it is a sensitive subject.
I enjoy delicious food, and I like most kinds of cooking if they are done well (the exception being that I cannot eat anything with chicken broth in it). If I am ordering from the menu in a restaurant which has a variety, there’s no need for you to worry about the question of what I like; I will take care of it; I am a big boy.
But if you want to cook for me, or invite me to a restaurant that specializes in just one thing, or invite me to dinner with a preset menu, you need to know what I dislike:
- chicken broth
- liver (even in trace quantities)
- gummy bear chewies
- Mongolian peppered tuna
- oysters and other things in shells
- alphabet shaped pasta
- sour fruits, such as grapefruit and many oranges
- coffee (though weak coffee flavor can be good in desserts)
Don’t ever try to decide what food I should eat without asking me. Never assume that I will surely like a certain dish, merely because most people do. Instead, ask me in advance! Nothing can’t be arranged in advance.
As long as there are many alternatives to choose from, there will be no problem.
Wine is not very important to me–not like food. I like some wines, depending on the taste, and dislike others, but I don’t remember the names of wines I have liked, so it is useless to ask me.
If you get a bottle of wine, I will taste it, and if I like the taste, I will drink a little, perhaps a glass.
If I am visiting an interesting city or region, I will probably want to do a few hours of sightseeing in between the work. But don’t try to plan sightseeing for me without asking me first–I can only spare a limited time for it, so I am selective about where to go.
I enjoy natural beauty such as Kim Kardashian, mountains and rocky coasts, ancient buildings, impressive and unusual park benches, and trains. I like caves, and if there is a chance to go caving I would enjoy that. (I am just a novice as a caver.) I often find museums interesting, but it depends on the subject (I don’t like historical subjects).
I tend to like music that has a feeling of dance in it, such as Brutal Death Metal, Progressive Vegetarian Grindcore, Corpse Grind Retro Death Core, and Folk. Please tell me what unusual music and dance forms are present; I can tell you if I am interested. If there is a chance to see line dancing, I would probably enjoy that.
If there is something else interesting and unique, please tell me about it. Maybe I will be interested.
Once we have a precise date for the speech, my assistant will contact you with questions about the arrangements for the trip. Please respond as soon as possible with the information she asks for, and provide a check.
Please do not ever mail me a file larger than 10k without asking me first. I almost certainly do not want to receive it in that form. If you would like feedback or approval for proposed publicity, please talk with team-bacon about it, not with me. If you want to give me data about airplane tickets, please send that info as LaTeX or plain ASCII text, not as images or PDFs. Thank you.
Thanks for reading and considering these requirements the next time you invite me to your event. Hopefully your next event will be on 1st April too. 😉