Speaking Policy

If you would like to invite me to speak at an event, first let me say, thank you! I would be honored by your invitation, and I am very grateful for all the opportunities I receive to speak. This speaking policy transparently defines my expectations and my boundaries as a speaker.


As the Automation Panda, I speak frequently about software development, testing, and quality. Ultimately, I must be in control of my own content. I will not give someone else’s talk, and I will not fulfill overbearing or unreasonable requests (such as overt sales pitches).

For most speaking invitations, I limit available topics to one of my existing talks. You can review my full speaking history on my speaking page. Unfortunately, I cannot develop new content for every speaking engagement. I typically reserve new content for major keynotes, my employer’s needs, or special circumstances.


Speaking is work and, in most cases, should come with some form of compensation, which may include an honorarium, direct payment, hotel nights, airfare tickets, travel expense reimbursement, or a free ticket to the event.

I require fair compensation for speaking at corporate events not associated with my employer, whether in person or virtual. (I do not necessarily require compensation for certain community-driven events, such as Python conferences.)

I also require fair compensation for all keynotes, workshops, and tutorials because they require many more hours to prepare and deliver.


I prioritize my acceptance of speaking engagements in the following order:

  1. Keynote addresses
  2. Engagements for my employer
  3. Engagements for community events
  4. Engagements for corporate events

I limit my speaking schedule to no more than one event per week. Even if two events are on different days, speaking engagements still take time to develop and deliver. My exception to this rule is that, at my discretion, I may agree to deliver more than one session at a multi-day in-person event, such as giving a talk and a tutorial at a conference like STARWEST.

Furthermore, live speaking engagements must occur during waking hours (8am to 10pm) in my local timezone. If the event happens during these hours, I might be willing to pre-record my talk instead. Typically, I live under US Eastern time.


Folks from all backgrounds and identities should feel welcome in tech communities. Events should host a diverse set of speakers because representation matters. Therefore, any event or panel discussion I attend with at least three other speakers must have at least one speaker who does not look like me (a white man). I would not feel right participating in an all-white or all-male event, and I would be happy to yield my space to another speaker to make the event more inclusive.


Every event must enforce a code of conduct that should keep the event safe and welcoming for all people to attend. The Python Community Code of Conduct is a good example.

Minimum attendance for any speaking engagement should be 20 people. This includes both in-person and virtual sessions.