June 25, 2008

Jimmy Wales now making BIG BIG speakers fees, "Harry Walker Agency"

Some images are unfortunate:

Jimmy Wales advertised above Karl Rove

The Harry Walker Agency, "The World's Leading Exclusive Speaker's Agency", announced exclusive representation of Jimmy Wales for speaking engagements. In an amusing juxtaposition, the front page of their website now has him right above Karl Rove. And that gives you a sense - both intentionally and unintentionally - of the sort of level he's now inhabiting.

This type of agency charges megabucks for its clients. The exact number for Wales isn't given, but from other material I've seen, I'd estimate $50,000 a shot is a ballpark figure.

And what can you get for all that money? (which could probably buy a whole starving village in Africa). I like this:

# Democracy and the Internet

Freedom of speech and the distribution of knowledge is the foundation of Wikipedia. Mr. Wales predicts that the internet will democratize developing countries by making the world 'flat,' opening markets, promoting cultural understanding, and giving developing nations the resources they need to compete in the 21st century. With current total Internet usage by one billion people set to double in the next five to 10 years (with the majority of new users arising from developing nations), Mr. Wales asserts that internet will combat stereotypes, censorship, media control, and monopolies while simultaneously allowing citizens of developing nations to have a more prominent voice. As Mr. Wales states: "It does not take a lot of technology to foster open dialog and debate. Even the simplest technologies like mailing lists, wikis, blogs can help a lot. What is needed mostly, I think, is more content in local languages, and support from people around the world to help others join in the global conversation."

As the saying goes: The thing speaks for itself.

So, though Wikipedia is more like a sweatshop than Santa's workshop and has a poorly-run bureaucracy with the group dynamics of a cult fueled by peddling a type of spiritual transcendence through selfless service to an ideal - someone is definitely benefiting.

[Update: Verified asking price: above $75,000]

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on June 25, 2008 07:25 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Thing is, I honestly haven't seen Jimbo scheduled to speak at any paid function in the past few months. Have you? That summit in Dubai was surely reimbursed for travel and such, but was that a big-ticket payday sort of appearance? Highly doubtful.

Posted by: Gregory Kohs at June 27, 2008 01:21 AM

Would we necessarily see all paying gigs? Even the corporate ones? I assume this "exclusive" lecture agency taking him on as a featured speaker, means they think they can place him enough times to make it worthwhile.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at June 27, 2008 05:45 PM

The only reason to hire an agency and pay them 15% is because you can't get gigs on your own anymore. Angelina Jolie doesn't have a rep. She doesn't need one.

Posted by: Larry Smithers at June 29, 2008 02:14 AM

Do you think that's why they're representing Karl Rove? That doesn't sound right to me. Karl Rove is now in major cash-in mode, with his value at the highest point when he can monetize it (obviously it was higher when he was in the White House, but harder to monetize back then).

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at July 1, 2008 12:09 AM