Asking me to speak at your event

Atul Chitnis

I am often asked to speak at events, on subjects ranging from the technical (networking, opensource, Linux, datacommunication, product development, computing strategies, e-business, security, etc.) to the non-technical (community building, performing arts, books and literature, social topics, etc.).

To make it easier for you (and less painful) to get me to participate in your event, please read these rules before you contact me about speaking (or otherwise participating):


No matter what the status of the event is – I expect the organisers to cover any expenses I incur while travelling to and from the event, and accommodation costs, if any. I travel by air primarily, and will consider other forms of travel only if it can be proven that there are no air connections possible to the place where the event is being held.

Non-Commercial Events

I do not charge a speaking fee for speaking at non-commercial events.

If you would like me to speak at a non-commercial event (such as a Linux User Group meet, or a gathering at an educational institution), then I will be happy to do so if I have the time and it is convenient for me to be there. Send me an email (do *not* call me on the phone!), tell me about the event, and if it is possible for me to be there, I will be.

If the event is in Bangalore, then I’ll find my own way to the event. If it is not in Bangalore, it will be your responsibility to get me there and make sure that I don’t get wet in the rain or starve to death. In short – travel and accommodation expenses, unless I am actually in town for some other work at the same time.

Commercial Events

Anything that is not a non-commercial event, is a commercial event.

I am a professional – my time is money. Speaking publicly is part of my revenue stream.

This means that I will charge you a speaker fee if you want me to speak at your commercial event.

In particular: if you charge people a fee to attend the event, I will charge you a fee for speaking. This is fair – you are making money, so should I. Even if you are collecting fees to “cover expenses” – I am such an expense.

  1. Fees: My fee-structure is flat-fee only, I am not interested in (or have the time for) revenue-participative schemes (“share of the gate fees”). My charges are based on the time I need to spend at the event, as well as time required to prepare for it.To get a quotation, please contact me with complete details about the event (including what you are charging for it – something my staff will in any case make a discovery on).
  2. Exceptions to the Fee rule:The only exceptions to the fees-rule are educational institutions, and completely free (i.e. non-commercial) events such as User Group meetings where no one has to pay to listen to me speak. Note the reference to “non-commercial” – if a vendor (say “Acme Soaps”) holds an event to promote its products, and does not charge people for attending, then it is still a commercial event.
  3. Payment Terms:Because of the nature of the “product” (once I have given the talk, it’s given), I insist on being paid 100% in advance and that the payment has realised (the cheque has cleared) before I even come to the event.The only exception to this is for current clients of mine and (of course) if no fees are applicable.
  4. Endorsements:While I may agree to appear at an event used to promote a product or service, I do not do product or service endorsements. This means that I will not refer to the product in my talk, implying that it is either better or worse than anything else.There is an exception to this – if I am actually a user of the product or service, I may choose to comment on it. However, my comments may not be used as part of an advertisement or publicity campaign.

Technical Rider

To help you prepare things for my talk, please make sure that you read my Tech Rider, and pass a copy of it to the organisers and people preparing the venue. It will help save time and will ensure that things go smoothly during the talk.

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