I am not an event organizer or a marketing expert so you can imagine my nervousness today when I launched the ticket sales for the Speakezee Nite which is scheduled for Friday 19th Feb 2016. One of the reasons I have been so neglectful of my blogging is that I have been focusing my spare time of building the world’s largest database of academic expert speakers – Speakezee. Next Feb, the project will be one year old and I have come along way mostly on my own but we are now in 22 countries and have over 1,000 speakers in the UK alone. Time for promotion.
So I had this brainwave to put on a big showcase event to promote speakezee but given I have been basically financing this whole enterprise myself, I do not have a marketing budget. Nevertheless, I have hired the Faraday Theatre in the Royal Institution, London which is the home of public engagement and of course, where I earned my modest popular attention as the 2011 Christmas Lecturer.
As far as Speakezee is concerned, I had hoped that universities and learned societies would jump at the opportunity to support a system that optimizes the process of connecting speakers with audiences and indeed can potentially provide evidence of impact that is so valuable in these accountable times, but alas, support has not been flooding in. With one notable exception – the University of Bristol have been incredibly supportive because I believe they have faith in me and at the very least they know I will work damned hard to make it succeed.
The Speakezee event is a night of stellar speakers & hosts including three former Ri Christmas Lecturers, (myself, Mark Miodownik and Sir Colin Blakemore) Helen Czerski the scientist & TV presenter extraordinaire, Suzi Gage, the rising star of the scientific blogger, Molly Crockett who mesmerizes in her brilliance and to inject some excitement three former finalists and winners of the Three Minute Thesis or Famelab who are going to thrill the audience in their attempt to repeat their thesis presentations against the clock. And the price? Only £12 for early birds and £15 for standard tickets.
Hold on. Shouldn’t tickets be for free? Don’t academics earn salaries from the UK taxpayer? Well venues cost to hire and frankly academics do more than their fair share of giving back to society in my opinion. I am constantly being asked to give my time and expertise for free and very often with no acknowledgement.
What about voluntary organizations such as Cafe Science? Are they really free? I think asking for a whip round to pay travel expenses should be a thing of the past. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
So I am ashamedly hoping to sell enough tickets to cover all the costs and give the speakers a treat for their time and effort.
For that to happen I have to sell out – not in my principles but the number of tickets.
If you want a brilliant evening of wonder, then get your tickets here.