Pay to play vs. paid to play

At a conference, one person will pay $20,000 to get on stage and speak. Another person doing the same thing will get paid $20,000.

What does the second person have that the first person doesn’t? 

There are at least three things:

  • A reputation for being a reliable speaker who can energize audiences
  • A personal brand that will potentially draw people to the conference
  • A body of work (e.g., some combo of a hit book, a popular framework, a consistent podcast, etc.) that will resonate with audiences

In other words, the organizers of the conference recognize the second person as a leading thinker. The leading thinker is paid to play. The first person is a sponsor, paying to play.

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