Benny’s birthday request: 2 minutes & a click to help me speak at SxSW

Photo by Menelaos Prokos

(Edit: This post is from 2011, but I have changed the appropriate links to be relevant to SxSW’s panel picker of this year!)

Just over a month ago I wrote an article around my 29th birthday, which almost 300,000 people have read already. I said many things in that post, but one of them was that I would be making a delayed birthday request in August. Well, here it is!

Basically, what I would really like to do is to speak in front of large audiences to encourage them to learn languages, and I’d like to do this one or several times before I turn 30. If you give me about two minutes of your time then you can help me make this happen, and it won’t cost you a penny!

How to vote for my entry in SxSW 20123

Go here to the page with info about my talk, create an account (click the link in the top to log in, and then create an account – filling it in will take 10 seconds, then go back to this link for my talk) and then click the thumbs up (just once)!

That’s it :)

Extra step if you’re feeling really generous: Tell your friends to vote too! Share this post on Facebook by clicking here. When you click, a new window opens on Facebook and the link to this page is copied to your clipboard. Right click and paste the link into your status and share it with your friends! Alternatively, click the “like” button on the left 😉

Speaking at South by Southwest

There is something much more powerful about getting the message across in person on a stage compared to doing it on a blog, and I’d like to do it more frequently! So far I’ve only done this once and spoken at TBEX in Vancouver, but even then the results of people applying my advice were much more evident.

Next time when I’m better prepared (most of that talk involved winging it on something I vaguely threw together the night before) it’ll be even better! A lot of people were very surprised to hear it was my first time speaking publicly, so you can imagine how much better I’ll do now that I have some experience!

I’ve also said that some day I’d like to speak at a TED(x) event to undo damage that previous TED speakers have done of discouraging adult language learners, by giving practical language hacking tips that anyone can apply, as well as some well-needed encouragement to the masses. But to speak at that I’d presumably need a decent speaking CV/resume and just once won’t do at all!

So I’m aiming high and applied to speak at the incredibly popular South by Southwest event in Austin next March. I was there for a whole month this year to learn American Sign Language around the event and you can see me holding my altered badge from the event in the photo above (being a pirate really got people’s attention!)

If I get in, I’ll take a break from (or wrap up) my first language mission next year to attend, give my talk on “Rapid Language Hacking” to hopefully inspire a very large group of monolinguals, and then hit the non-English road again! If you’d like to help me do that, as part of my birthday request, just follow the link above and vote!

Nothing more involved. It should take just two minutes and won’t cost you a penny, but I would be every so grateful if you did it!

Over 3800 people have applied to speak at SxSW 2012, the vast majority of whom would also have something interesting to talk about, and they only have 500 slots open! 500 is a lot because it’s a huge event, but competition will be stiff! About 30% of the vote is public, and they encourage people to use their blog or other audiences as I’m doing. If I get in, I’ll be sure to let you all know!

I really appreciate your vote – how many birthday requests are totally free and so easy? :)

Thanks so much!



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