Frank Swain say’s he’s no longer going to speak at TEDx events and I whole-heartedly support him.
I’m not averse to speaking for nothing. I’ve done Cafe Scientifique, SciBar, Skeptics In The Pub. I’ve spoken at schools, colleges, universities. None of these were satellite events for a $6,000-a-plate conference. None of them wanted to brand my talk as theirs.
I know I’m supposed to swoon a little at the idea of being an Official TEDx Speaker, that doing this will rain down confetti and job offers and fame on me. But in the end it boils down to this: TEDx is just another organisation asking me to work for free.
Do I sound grouchy and cynical? Well, I suppose I am. I’m tired of being asked to work for free. I’m tired of the bullshit idea that exposure is somehow its own reward. I’m tired of the people who can afford to do it justifying this malignant trend.
I can’t pay my rent with exposure and goodwill. So farewell, TEDx, I won’t be speaking at your event until TED starts paying its speakers. Now there’s an idea worth spreading.
Part of the reason Villages in Action came into being was because TED’s snooty attitude about owning the content and dictating how the event would run. Like Swain says, kudos for creating a lucrative brand, but the brand cache wasn’t good enough for me.
I am glad they rejected the idea for Villages in Action as a TEDx talk in a village. As an African against importing Western platforms when we can build our own, creating the VIA platform was probably one of the best things I’ve done to date.
While VIA doesn’t have nearly the budget that TED does, I think even a token payment to our speakers should be something we institute at future VIA events.