I've been having a discussion with Paul about possibly coming to the east coast (or wherever) to speak about permaculture. I have some experience and relevant contacts for putting together a tour, but first, I'd like to see how many people would be interested.
So if you like the idea of spending a few bucks to come and see Paul speak, please express that somehow in this thread (a reply, thumbs-up, etc). If I get enough interest, I'll make it happen! If you're really interested respond with where you live, how far you'd be willing to travel and how many people you think you could bring to an event.
I think many people might be enthralled by the idea of this, but, as Paul himself has said, will probably be disillusioned by its reality.
I am a little surprised that Paul is still entertaining such ideas, as he has been very vocal about how speaking engagements often don't happen as agreed, and it has happened more than he'd like that financial agreements weren't held to. His $5000 advance makes a great deal of sense.
I love the idea myself, but I doubt it would be worth it, for Paul and permaculture as a whole. He's often commented on his feeling that he gets less done with paid engagements and with running around, visiting people than he does on his own site, and that he has a to-do list at home a kilometre long. I think it's a long way to go to give talks to people that will, for the most part, label him an intolerant asshole (not my opinion, just something he's said frequently) or try to insist that he do things their way.
But I could be wrong, and a permie-centric kickstarter wherein we gather like-minded people for a Paul Wheaton fest sounds like something for which I would be down, but it sounds like a tricky proposition.
Remember the Wheaton Eco-Scale. Paul, at a really high Eco-Scale level himself, is probably not the best candidate to initiate sub-1 level aspiring permies into permaculture, as his reasonable and logical is their incomprehensible insanity; they don't have the grounding to know why this stuff makes sense.
And yet raising the Eco-Scale level of the average person is probably one of the first great things that can be done outside of one's personal permacultural goals, and that can only really be done by someone who can relate to that Eco-Scale level themselves, a thing that becomes harder to do as one advances up the Eco-Scale levels.
I think the two ideas that are suggested by these observations is that first, Paul might get more traction with people who not only know what the Wheaton Eco-Scale is, but who are past the preliminary levels. Second, I think that if Paul is going to make his way out into the world, some prep work might need doing. I mean, either there needs to be enough demand for Paul by attendees who have enough Eco-Scale clout of their own that they will be able to hear wisdom instead of craziness, or that demand needs to be created by capturing the minds of potential permies and helping them up the Eco-Scale to the point where they can benefit from Paul.
To this end, I wonder if it would be a better idea to have a Paul Wheaton Primer camp, a week or several weekends, say, for the uninitiated and for people just starting out on permaculture that would cover, in brief, the Wheaton Eco-Scale and as many of the permacultural rudiments as possible, with Paul being the keynote speaker towards the end.
I could be completely wrong. I'm sure Paul will tell me so if I am. I just think that my proposed scenario avoids restricting the audience to mid-Eco-Scale-level permies (numbers bottleneck translates to fewer attendees at greater individual cost) without bombarding Paul and higher Eco-Scale-level audience members with either perfectly reasonable but rudimentary questions or trollish attacks from people who didn't understand what they were paying to see.
I live in Toronto, Ontario. Considering the current socio-political climate, I would either try to hold it in Canada, as it will probably be easier for Americans to visit us than for us to visit, or I would wait until the socio-political climate improves vis a vis non-Americans trying to cross into the States.
Again, I could be way off. Please keep us posted as to developments, and good luck. I don't agree with all he says, but I definitely think the world could use a bit more Paul Wheaton.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein