I speak about a variety of technical and cultural topics to audiences of all sizes. If you'd like me to speak to your group, organization, class or business, keep reading for details and how to submit a speaking request.
What I Do Best
I help audiences put ideas and information in a context that leads to sustained and practical application. Sometimes it's making a technical concept more accessible and walking through the details. Sometimes it's providing an insight on a cultural or social trend that leads to a shift in perspective. In all my speaking engagements, I come prepared to share what I've learned, but also to put my prepared remarks aside so we can take on the burning questions present for the group.
Interests and Topics
I've co-founded and grown a tech startup. I've taught college level technical courses. I've led distributed teams. I've consulted for large and small organizations. I've run for local political office and helped other candidates get elected. I've organized and spoken at conferences that take on topics ranging from food production/population growth to local community building to politics to debt relief for the world's poor to website software development.
Given these experiences and others, I can create informative, engaging, and practical sessions for organizations of all types on a wide variety of topics, including:
Technology, Media and Marketing - Introductory
- Essential tech tools for collaboration, productivity and effectiveness
- The basics of blogging and website development, setting up a simple WordPress site
- Online marketing basics, how to build an effective online presence and get people to notice it
- Social media basics, how to get started with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others
- Podcasting and my experiences hosting a weekly news podcast
- Basics of the open web / indieweb, and the importance of "owning your digital home"
- Introduction to open source software
- How the Internet works (history, TCP/IP networking basics, DNS, web browsing, email, etc)
- Personal journeys in becoming a "tech geek," learning to code and building technology businesses and teams
Technology, Media and Marketing - Advanced
- Internet of Things; home automation and security, SmartThings, programming your world and more
- Building effective, secure, performant WordPress plugins and themes
- Personal security best practices and password management that isn't a nightmare
- Online privacy and security, encryption
- The Internet as a political tool, my experiences using the net in political campaigns
- Setting up an online store with WooCommerce
- Using Amazon Web Services to reduce infrastructure costs
- Email, contacts and calendaring without depending on Google
Business, Productivity and Communication
- My adventures in entrepreneurship, co-founding and managing a web technology firm for 17 years
- Framing: how language can make all the difference
- Public speaking basics
- Communication strategy for local political campaigns
- Tools for effective team collaboration (especially with distributed/remote workers); group chat, intranets, P2, email, task management, project management and more
- Experiences in not-for-profit organization leadership, how to create and facilitate effective boards of directors
- Improving team communication through understanding conflict styles
Building Self-Reliant Communities
- Challenges with global economic issues, energy supply/demand and climate change; how we got here, what to do about it
- Building self-reliant local communities
- Using the Internet for effective community organizing and advocacy
- What if personal lifestyle change isn't effective or enough?
- Juggling and magic performance
- Lock picking basics
- Do you really need a checked bag? Experiences and tips from my world travels
I can try to weave any of these themes together as appropriate for your group's interests; often such interrelation happens anyway.
- Slides and links from my php[world] talk
- Speaking at SupConf NYC
- Slides: Growing a Distributed Team
- Speaking at WordCamp Dayton
- Videos: TedXRichmond, marketing with integrity
Quotes from Past Participants
- "Great material. Great talk."
- "Thank you for the fantastic workshop. I appreciated all the preparation and thought you put into it. The rest of the team members have told me they learned a lot and enjoyed your facilitation style. You were a hit."
- "Thank you for giving a superbly well-delivered and thought provoking presentation!"
- "It never fails that I learn something useful from you."
- "Thanks so much, again, for coming to talk to our group. You always do such a great job! As a speaker you are human and accessible. No one feels afraid they might ask a stupid question."
- "...incredibly instructive and interesting. Chris is well-prepared and I was doubly impressed that he fielded an out-of-context question with not only pertinent references, but a prepared slide! No matter what the question was from the group, he was prepared with references and updated trends, options, possibilities on several levels of complexity. I have only begun to investigate some of the links, but all have been helpful."
- "Thanks a billion for coming to our forum.. you continue to be terrific."
- "I am impressed and enthusiastic about your work and interest in community building."
- "Chris made it comfortable and was 'real' with us - he has lots of experience to share."
Fees and Requirements
I set speaking fees on a per-event basis. For many events I'm able to donate my time because I'm interested in the topic and the conversations that result.
If your group is interested in a customized workshop or an extended speaking engagement based on an internal goal or concern, we can discuss appropriate compensation structure.
I will almost certainly expect for your organization to pay for any expenses involved in my participation: travel, lodging, food, etc. I ask for at least one month advance booking, more if there is non-trivial travel involved.
Please send your request to me via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send as much information as you can, including:
- what topics you'd like me to speak on
- what outcomes or goals you hope to meet by having me speak
- the format you think would work best
- the estimated size of your group and any other relevant background description
- what efforts have been made to ensure diversity among other presenters/panelists
- whether or not I'll be joined by other presenters/panelists
- the date or dates and times you have in mind
- your contact information including a phone number