OK here’s an offer to any conference organizer in the lean/agile/tech/climate space. I get a lot of requests to do conference keynotes, which I’m grateful for, but unfortunately I have to turn down the vast majority. I limit long-distance travel for family reasons, and also for climate reasons (although I confess I’m in Thailand right now as I write this…. hard to be 100% consistent…).
Now I’m thinking: Why should something as mundane as physical transport get in the way of participating in a great conference? And, in this world of catastrophic climate change, shouldn’t most business trips be replaced with remote participation?
My hypothesis is that it’s possible to remote-participate effectively in a conference – to do a keynote or talk, participate in workshops, even hang out with people in the hallway. I’ve tried this a few times using video conference and telepresence robots. In fact, 4 years ago I was sitting on this same beach in Thailand, remote-participating in a Spotify event in Stockholm using a Double (see “What it feels like being an ipad on a stick on wheels“). That was fun and a bit clunky, but it was 4 years ago so I bet the telepresence robots have come a long way since then!
So here’s my offer:
- I’ll do remote keynote (or similar) at your conference or event outside Sweden, and participate for a full day (or half day, depending on time zone).
- I’ll do it at half my usual keynote fee (usually around €8000-€15000, so half of that).
- That saves you thousands of € that you can instead invest in a top-of-the-line remote telepresence robot, for example Beam or Double. Technology you can keep and reuse, instead of wasting money moving a physical body from A to B plus accomodation.
- No skimping on quality. If we’re going to do this, we do it well. Iron-tight internet connection, great hardware and software, and a plan for how I’ll navigate obstacles like stairs and elevators.
- Money back guarantee. If you did your best with the tech setup and things still turn out kind of crappy for whatever reason (which is a real risk), I’ll just charge whatever you think it was worth (even if it was 0).
Think of it as an experiment. If it works well, hopefully the practice will spread, and people will save travel money while also helping the climate.
If you are interested, feel free to reach out to henrik.kniberg at crisp.se, or comment below.
PS – here is a blog post from the first client to take this offer, including some practial tips:
Our Very Own Premiere: Remote Keynote
“Henrik’s talent in making complicated matters easy to grasp was on full display during the keynote. Perhaps even more than during a regular, full-house keynote because he was able to interact directly with the audienc. When he was not asking or responding to questions, he easily switched between prepared slides and props, such as burned toast. We enjoyed his succinct and funny presentation immensly and would love to have Henrik back for another event.”
3 responses on “Remote keynote offer (because the world needs less business trips)”
Hey, I like the approach and hope, that we go more in that direction.
As you said, it is hard to be consistent and of course it is not about dogmatism…
Best, Nils from perturbaris
Very interesting idea, Henrik! What was the feedback when you used the telepresence robots from the audience?
And what do you think differed in the impact of your telepresence at the Spotify event compared to if you had been there as a ”live” person?
I did a remote keynote last week and it worked surprisingly well. Audience rated the session very high, and we were able to have conversations fairly effectively. In that case it was just a talk, I was not at the rest of the conference, so no robot was involved. Just mic + cam + Zoom. So other than the Spotify event a few years ago, I haven’t used the a robot to participate in a conference. Looking forward to trying it though. I’ve used the robot to “teleport” home while I’m on business trips and goof around with the kids, and that works really well 🙂