We are less than a week out from the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference #AZEC09 and once again I open my email and it is full of "volunteers." People who want to volunteer to help us with the conference, and even PR people volunteering their clients to speak. It made me furious this morning, so here's the rant.Listen, you cheeseballs and dirtbags, we needed volunteers eight months ago when we started planning the conference, not now. We have had them lined up forever — members of the community who have done the web site, the program, the PR, the logistics, the marketing, the video, etc. We make them sponsors. The entire friggin conference is put on by volunteers: only the food and facility get paid. And why is that so? Because, cheeseballs and dirtbags, this conference is a FUNDRAISER. for a CHARITY. That means we don't put the money in our pockets. We use it to fund programs for laid-off workers, domestic violence victims, returning felons, and others who are trapped in low wage jobs or no jobs. We want to teach them how to be self-sufficient by finding their passion or their expertise and building a business around it. We run a 501(c)3 that has NO OVERHEAD. None. Every dime goes to give programs. We also don't want your motivational speaker client to practice his shtick on us. We are motivated, and so is our audience. Our speakers are hand-picked by me or by the panel moderators because 1)they are very valuable in their own fields and have something exceptional to share about entrepreneurship 2)they are willing to contribute their time and energy to the conference, or 3)they are people from out of town that our audience wants to hear from. You can't just pop in a week or two in advance and ask if there are "holes" in the agenda. And you can't email me and hope to defray your expenses by "offering to give a small presentation." That just tells me you have never attended. I'm trying to create value. This isn't the Bay Area, and we aren't charging $2995 a ticket for the day. We are charging $150 at the door, and if you wish, you can still get the Mashable discount by using the code AZEC09. Although that expires soon. I am offended that you think I won't know it when you sign up for a ticket and indicate falsely that you are a speaker or a sponsor. I'm not an algorithm, I'm a human, and Joan and I look at every registration. Steven Groves has walked every inch of the facility. Merlin's got all his volunteers for the day of, including people to work registration. Someone actually did that this morning, and I caught him. Cheeseballs and dirtbags, people who don't care enough to watch the site and take advantage of the early bird discount, which was $99, I'm tired of providing bargains to Arizona's cheapo community. Get a grip, people. If you want to grow an entrepreneurial community here, someone has to pay SOMETHING. If $150 is too much to support entrepreneurship in Arizona, I'm outta here.
How to be a Speaker or a Volunteer at A Conference
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