01/21/2014 02:21 pm ET Updated Mar 23, 2014

This Is Why I'm Not Presenting at Launch and It Has Nothing to Do With Gender

On January 9th, I publicly requested to present a Skills Session on Finance on the Startup Stage at Launch.


I noticed a storm of twitter activists claiming that Jason was blocking women from speaking at his conference. I ignored the keyboard vigilantes and submitted my proposal, which included the following details (with links and videos):

• I teach an online Finance course with over 3,000 students.
• I host a monthly Finance show with over 15,000 views over the past five months.
• I recently spoke about Finance at a startup event.

What I received in response was a little surprising. I was asked to pay $20,000 as a sponsor. I've taught dozens of workshops (from UC Berkeley to global accelerators) in the past and nobody has ever asked me to pay to teach. I explained that I wasn't interested in becoming a full-fledged sponsor, and was merely interested in teaching a 20-minute workshop. I was then asked to pay $5,000. I said no.

My goal for creating online content was to share free and inexpensive resources with entrepreneurs who are just getting started. I regularly give the course(s) away for free when I teach workshops. If I am required to pay every time I teach, then I will have to charge entrepreneurs to break even. Asking for payment creates friction for those who can't afford it and that defeats my purpose.

If any entrepreneur would like to take my course for free, they can use this code to access it.

I am not criticizing how Launch is run. I have never been involved in organizing a conference, but I imagine there is a lot of overhead to cover. I am simply explaining why I won't be there before someone makes it about my gender.

"The test of progress isn't if we add to the abundance of those who have much; it's whether we provide enough for those who have too little." FDR