Nick Goes to Washington?

After a successful keynote at the Next Generation of Government Summit in Washington earlier this month I’ve been invited back to deliver another by the (US) Federal Communicators Network (FCN) and Govloop.

FCN is providing a venue, Govloop is dishing out breakfast, and I am left to raise the capital for the travel myself. Originally we were discussing funding options but like many good (and inexpensive) ideas were stifled by the bureaucracy.

What we decided to do was create an event using Eventbrite. The tickets for the event are only $12.50 (including the Eventbrite fees). Trust me when I say I’m not making money on this venture. In fact, I need to move at least 75 tickets in order to cover the cost of airfare (but that increases the longer I wait to buy my ticket). If we can’t quickly move the tickets we will be forced to cancel the event and (clearly) refund all the tickets purchased. If we raise more money than required to cover my travel expenses I will donate the remaining monies to the United Way Ottawa, a charitable organization with whom I volunteer my time. Speaking of volunteering my time, you should also know that I took vacation for the day of the event.

From where I sit, I see two core challenges with this experiment:

1 – Cost to participants: FCN events are typically no charge.
2 – Brand: With the exception of a handful of those in the Government 2.0 space I have very little brand recognition outside Canada.

How do you convince people to pay to hear someone speak when they have never even heard of who he is?

Maybe you show them this little clip about his transition from private sector to public sector:

Or maybe you show them a video of him spoofing the Old Spice guy (sorry the volume is low):

If you are interested in attending the event in Washington I urge you to register ASAP; and if none of that worked, well I don’t know what will.

Here is the link to the event:

Thanks for taking the time.

[Cross posted from]

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Just bought two tickets cause I think Nick should go to Washington.I can’t actually be there, so if you are in DC, poor and need to be motivated, let me know and I will let you have them gratis.

Jay S. Daughtry, ChatterBachs

I didn’t see the date or location until I went to the link.

I’m posting them for others to be able to reference:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 from 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM (ET)

U.S. Government Printing Office
732 North Capitol Street NW
Washington, DC 20401

I wish you well with this endeavor, Nick. I’ll look to see if I can promote and/or participate.

Dannielle Blumenthal

As the organizer/marketer of this event I am learning a lot as we let people know about it.

Lesson #1 for me has been to make sure to reach out to managers and supervisors not just attendees. Event is in midmorning during work hours and has a small fee, so need to be sure people have permission to go and that their ticket fee is covered (unless the employee is just happy to get the time to go and doesn’t mind paying). I don’t think $12.50 is a heck of a lot but for some people it’s a real barrier.

Anyway, when I brought the original flier to one supervisor for feedback, he kind of jumped back in his seat a bit. Clearly “Bored at Work” was not something he was going to give to his employees. Also the hair seems to be a factor too – some people looked at the photo and the video short and said yeah, seems really cool! Others said – well looking at the photo I wouldn’t go, I would think it wouldn’t be for me.

So for the second version of the flier I’m leaving the photo off and as someone said, “letting it be a surprise.” It’s all about branding folks.

Anyway – one of the supervisors I showed it to said that a problem with the flier was endorsement. How did he know that the agency would want him to send people? So I’m working on that today, going to our training office and talking to them to see if I can get their formal endorsement. B/c since it’s a training event their OK is important.

If training endorses then I can probably get an email flowing from senior leadership to the division heads to the supervisors. And then it can be discussed in staff meetings and people formally sent. This is the way it works.

A note on what kind of language about change appeals to supervisors. Another manager told me to link inspiration to workplace success. To talk about things like how Nick’s presentation would help someone get inspired enough to see a project through. How they could watch it and enhance their ability to create positive change. Things like that.

So this has really been a great learning experience.

Dannielle Blumenthal

Praying for a miracle here. A lot of behind the scenes stuff I can’t talk about. Help needed and appreciated.