speaking

Keynote Speaking

I am an energetic, dynamic, and jargon-free headline speaker.

Need a speaker in Montreal in late April of 2015? Click here to get me on the cheap.

turn_BWI have been speaking in public forums for nearly two decades. At grad school, I worked as a teaching assistant for three of my four semesters. Yeah, I had to convince a bunch of college sophomores that 19th-century English labor economics was interesting–on Friday mornings, no less.

Talk about a tough crowd.

After grad school, I started teaching classes and leading workshops as part of my job. While I worked in corporate HR at CapitalOne, I was the go-to guy for performance-management seminars and new-hire sexual harassment training. At Merck and Lawson Software, I frequently taught people how to use different applications, perform upgrades, and the like.

Since 1995, I have given more than 300 talks, speeches, presentations, and workshops to approximately 30,000 people on three continents and in eight countries, including Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina.

Over the past five years, I have effectively changed careers–even though I continue to work for myself. Up until 2008, I worked as an enterprise system consultant. The travel and internal politics were starting to wear on me, though. I felt that it was time for a change. Beginning in 2009, I began the move to writing, keynote speaking, and thought leadership. In the process, I have spoken at plenty of universities, companies, associations, private events, and public conferences.

There is no such thing as a boring topic. There are only boring speakers.

These days, I speak about a bouillabaisse of topics, usually book-related. I don’t write short books and, at least for me, a talk is never about a single, narrow subject. I don’t give boilerplate presentations to my clients. I work with them ahead of the event to ensure that I’m speaking about what they want–and, often just as important, avoiding what they don’t.

My most recent talks have focused on Big Data, data visualization, emerging technologies, current and future trendsplatforms, and the folly of predictions. (While not all of my talks have been recorded, a decent smattering is available below.)

Watch one of my featured talks below.

You can find the rest on my archives page.


High-Level Overview of Plans Sure to Go Awry

Below are quick summaries of my general speaking trajectories each year.

2015

I am in the early stages of planning a book tour for Message Not Received. I’m leaning towards hitting San Francisco again, as I did with The Visual Organization. Las Vegas is also convenient for me since I live here. Hit me up if you’d like me to give a talk on the new book.

2014

I will be speaking frequently about data visualization and The Visual Organization. As part of my book tour, I have spoken at eBay, Netflix, Tableau, ZapposAutodesk, Carnegie Mellon University, Platfora, and other well-regarded organizations and conferences.

2013

With Too Big to Ignore out in 2013, I suspect that I’ll speak quite a bit about Big Data in the coming year.

2012

The Age of the Platform is off to a great start. This is on track to become my biggest book ever. Evidently, scores of organizations are curious about what Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are doing. I expect this to be the central focus of this year, if not further down the road.

2011

I’m phasing out the talks over the first two books. My focus is on The New Small.

Here’s what my clients say about my speaking abilities.

“Phil is an engaging speaker with the rare ability to make what may seem dry and complex topics both compelling and entertaining.”
–Joris Evers, Netflix, Vice President, Head of Communications for Europe


“Phil is an enthusiastic, engaging, and funny speaker. He talks about data like a critic about art. He compels you to think about and see the world in a brand new way. He was a pleasure to host and have on the Zappos Campus. He didn’t even get mad when pelted with a water balloon.”
—Amelia Pond, Zappos


“Phil has that rare skill as a speaker to distill the complex to more tactical and strategic thinking so his presentations aren’t only entertaining but are also operational. A rare gift for the modern business audience.”
–Lori H. Schwartz, Managing Partner, StoryTech™


“When I go to a talk based on a book I’ve read, I have high expectations; the talk had better go beyond the book and into the realm of critical conversation. Phil Simon nailed it this week. Super content, engagement with the specific audience, bravo!
–Professor Terri L. Griffith, Ph.D. Chair, Management Department, Santa Clara University.”


“Phil gave a wonderful presentation. All of the attendees loved it and are very excited about his latest book.”
–Amit Jain, eBay, Manager Business Intelligence Platform


“In a word, awesome.”
–Julie Tulipane Stalknecht, Senior VP, Membership and Marketing, NMHC


“Phil has performed exceptionally well in two different capacities for us and we have already engaged him for a third event. As a speaker he is excellent. He’s not arrogant but obviously very current with the technology trends affecting our markets. It is very valuable to have Phil exercise your team using his lens. He is very straightforward and clear in his communication style.”
–Jay Jordan, President and CEO, OCLC, Inc.


“Engaging, knowledgeable, and likable. Phil left our professional audience armed with new knowledge and smiling.”
–Clinton Bonner, Vice President, Marketing, TopCoder


“Phil’s kick-off presentation on The Age of the Platform at PostalVision 2020/2.0 Conference hit the bull’s eye. It proved to be a powerful and provocative approach to a highly stimulating discussion. Like his books, Phil is convincing, inspiring, and relevant to any industry.”
–John Callan, Conference Organizer, Postal Vision 2020


“Phil Simon is a rockstar. He’s funny, engaging, and incredibly smart; he easily breaks down abstract concepts for widely varied audiences in a way that is both exciting and valuable. I’d rush to hire him again.”
–Clair Byrd, Director of Content, Scoop.it


“Phil Simon is an energetic speaker that makes complex thoughts easy to understand. He brought clarity to the subject of platforms and gave people a new way to look at them. He kept the audience engaged and his keynote received positive feedback and reviews.”
–Kate Gaylord, Director of Communications, OCLC

Here are some photos of me in action:

Here’s a hi-res photo.

Here’s a one-page document that provides an overview on my speaking practice. one-pager-new

How much do you charge?

For professional speakers, pricing is more of an art than a science. There’s simply no magic formula to determine how much to charge for a talk, seminar, or workshop. That doesn’t mean, however, that I just pick a number out of a hat or random number generator.

Against that backdrop and in no particular order, here are some general rules of thumb that I use when quoting my speaking services. Note that all of these include the proviso “all else being equal.”

  • Number of attendees: This is quite simple. I charge more for speaking to large groups than when I speak to smaller ones.
  • Type of attendees: I charge more for speaking to groups of senior executives than when I speak to non-execs.
  • Length of talk/seminar: Again, this isn’t rocket surgery. I charge more for a 60-minute keynote than a 30-minute one. Ditto for a two-day seminar vs. a half-day one.
  • Type of talk: I charge more for keynoting than I do for a breakout session.
  • Location/Travel: The closer the event is to my home, the less I will charge.
  • Previous talks: I’m a data guy. I use fees from my previous talks as rough proxies for future talks.
  • Specificity: I charge less for a generic talk than I do for a very esoteric one. For instance, a talk in which I provide an overview of The Age of the Platform differs from one on how telecomm companies can embrace platform thinking.
  • Nature of organization/ability to pay: Government agencies and nonprofits often lack the same funds and resources as for-profit corporations. I charge more for speaking at events and conferences held by the latter.
  • Book purchases: I will charge less for my talk if the organization buys copies of my books. Note, though that the total cost may be higher
  • Comparable speakers: I follow what other professional speakers in my cohort routinely charge.
  • Body of work/year: I charge more for my talks than I did four years ago. I suspect that the same will be true four years from now.
  • Topic: On certain subjects, I believe that I possess a unique perspective. Examples include data visualization, communication, platforms, disruption, publishing, system failures, and Big Data. On others such as social media,

What topics do you speak about?

Quite a few, actually. Recent talks have focused on platforms, Big Data, management, technology, trends, disruption, innovation, and business communication.

What are your speaking requirements?

I prefer to use my own computer. I’ve had way too many issues with using other people’s machines. Beyond that, I’m pretty low-maintenance. I like using projectors, microphones. lecterns, and confidence monitors. I arrive the night before events to ensure that there are no travel snafus. Finally, on the day of the event, I like to do a soundcheck at least two hours before I’m scheduled to go on. Belts and braces, as they say.

bookphilTo see a visual of the process for booking me, click on the image on the right or click here. With very rare exceptions, I charge for my talks. If Charlie Rose or Jimmy Fallon wants me to be on his show, I’m not about to send him an invoice.

To inquire about my speaking rates and availability, please fill out the form below. I will be in touch within one business day:


Fill out my online form.