If you’ve spent any time at all on Twitter and Facebook during the last week or so, you’ve undoubtably heard about KONY2012. The campaign by the nonprofit advocacy group Invisible Children centered around Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla group with a long and violent history that includes the kidnapping of children. With striking and dramatic imagery and Hollywood-style editing, the campaign video presents an utterly compelling message in the age of “social” media: by simply clicking “share,” you can make a difference in the world. And “share” the world did …
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:
- 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.
- All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
- I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
- 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.
- 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.
- The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.
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