Billy Crystal

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Sears is hoping to make customers feel even better about setting some greenbacks free, as evidenced by a string of email offers received in August by Who’s Mailing What! that clearly seek to butter up consumers.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

Dealing with a legacy IT system and a legacy corporate culture With the average adult male spending an average of 29 hours a week watching television (women spend 34 hours), it has been said that many adults feel closer to the people they watch on television than to their own family and friends. I am a news junkie, and Colin Powell has been a fixture on my television set for well over 15 years. I have seen him at home. He has been in my hotel rooms--even following me into cruise ship cabins and airport lounges. I have seen his speeches, attended press conferences

A Veto That Probably Destroyed Eight Million Dreams This is the saga of two high profile, deeply flawed organizations joining forces to create a public relations catastrophe--New York City and the U.S. Olympic Committee. What happened? A bunch of rich city slickers were able to con the rubes from Colorado Springs into choosing the Sour Apple over San Francisco for an Olympic venue. But they could not con the canny pols in Albany and Manhattan into selling them the land at below-market value and ponying up $300 million of taxpayer dollars so the New York Jets football team could have a spiffy new stadium.

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