Why I Canceled ?
By Denny Hatch
This column is written for the 50 or more people whom I stood up at a private corporate conference near San Francisco on six days notice, as well as thousands of meeting planners everywhere. My e-mail to the host is reproduced below. I have not named the company, but anyone with a knowledge of the corporate culture of Bay Area high-tech companies and an ounce of intuition should be able to figure it out.
Bill: I got back from New York City late yesterday and was too wiped to return your call.
So you understand what went on, when your [person's name] called to confirm that I was invited to speak at the [Company Name] conference, she dropped a not-so-subtle hint that it would be nice if I didn't charge anything beyond expenses. It was to be three days out of my life—a full day in transit out, performance day and a full day in transit back. I've done these in-and-out-of-the-West-Coast-for-one-day jaunts, and the following day I am a zombie from jet lag. So it is really four days in which I could not do any real work. I said I'd do it for $1,000 plus expenses—which over four days is $250 a day or, after taxes, around $125 net. You agreed to the $1,000. I made a plane reservation—Philly to SFO and back at $1,900.
I received an e-mail asking what flight I was on so I could be met at the airport. I e-mailed back the flight information—Flight #65 getting in around 5 p.m. A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from her saying she needed my presentation immediately as she was going to press with the workbook. I do not like to give out my presentation in advance. Along with a lot of hard information, there is a bunch of funny stuff, and I do not want the audience reading my punch lines before I deliver them.